ACLM Members Leading the Charge for Change!

Susan Benigas
Executive Director, ACLM




With 75% or more of our nation’s healthcare dollars devoted to the treatment of conditions directly related to “lifestyle,” is there any question that Lifestyle Medicine must become the foundation of our healthcare system?   

You, our ACLM members, are helping to lead the charge.  It’s true that ACLM is a professional membership organization, but ACLM members have joined this trailblazing organization because you understand what’s at stake, and you have a burning desire to be part of the solution in ensuring sustainable human health and a sustainable healthcare system. The solution: Lifestyle Medicine driven by a fearless and dedicated army of practitioners devoted to our shared mission.  

ACLM exists to serve its members and advance the cause of Lifestyle Medicine.  In order to better meet your needs, we’re in the midst of our strategic planning process, with one of the most important Strategic Planning Teams, led by Executive Committee Member Ingrid Edshteyn, DO, focused on analyzing ACLM membership levels and benefits.  

To this end, we would appreciate you taking a few minutes to answer this brief six question survey. Your responses will help shape the future of ACLM’s membership benefits, providing us with vital feedback on how we, as the premier Lifestyle Medicine professional society, can best meet your needs as you integrate Lifestyle Medicine into your personal life and into your practice.  Please take a few minutes to share your vision with us; click here for the survey.

From a strategic planning perspective, ACLM’s other key areas of focus include:

  • Identifying the needs of our membership as it relates to Lifestyle Medicine education - for practitioners themselves and for their patients - is another area of strategic focus for ACLM. What tools and resources do those who practice or desire to practice Lifestyle Medicine need? How can ACLM aid our members in implementing a viable and profitable clinical practice model that may include group practice components? We want to hear from you and will be reaching out to you in the coming weeks seeking your input and suggestions. We’re pleased that, through our business partnership with n1Health, members of the n1Health team will be assisting us in this research project. More details coming your way soon!

  • A team is evaluating ACLM’s brand, communication and marketing strategies. We are embarking on a mission to “refresh” the look, feel and functionality of ACLM’s website, newsletter and other communications vehicles, while also evaluating our strategies for most effectively promoting both ACLM and the cause of Lifestyle Medicine. Stay tuned.

  • Revenue streams are vital for any organization. To fuel a mission, dollars are required especially when the mission is centered on the transformation of a healthcare system! To this end, ACLM has a Strategic Planning Team dedicated to identifying grant funding, foundation funding, corporate sponsors and even individual benefactors - those who share the passion ACLM and its members have for treating the cause. We need to be able to meet the needs of our physicians and clinicians who have the desire to shift from an allopathic- only approach of healthcare to one that uses lifestyle as primary prevention and treatment. The only thing standing in the way is a lack of financial resources. We’re confident that those who share our vision will join with us. If you have suggestions in this regard, we’d appreciate hearing from you.

  • Our annual Lifestyle Medicine conference is an exceptional CME accredited educational event, serving as a galvanizing gathering of leading experts in the field and those who have a passion for the practice thereof. While we look forward to an event this October that is anticipated to be a rousing success thanks in large part to Conference Chairman Mark Faries, PhD and his committee we have another team looking at ways to build and grow this annual event. Planning is already underway for Lifestyle Medicine 2015 and beyond. We welcome you input.

  • Establishing a more formalized working relationship with the American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM). Lifestyle Medicine falls under the Preventive Medicine umbrella, while also emphasizing the efficacy of not only the prevention of disease, but also the suspension and even reversal of disease through its application.

    An example of successful collaboration is ACLM and ACPM having come together to jointly develop the criteria for the competent practice of Lifestyle Medicine, first resulting in Physician Competencies for Prescribing Lifestyle Medicine, as published in JAMA July 2010. More recently, the Lifestyle Medicine Competencies Working Group, spearheaded by ACLM Past President Liana Lianov, MD, developed a paper entitled Lifestyle Medicine and Chronic Disease: A Strategic Approach for Addressing the Burden of Chronic Disease, issuing recommendations to promote the advancement of Lifestyle Medicine as a primary solution to the growing burden of chronic disease among physician and other key stakeholders.  One key recommendation is the incorporation of Lifestyle Medicine competencies into clinical practice.  Thanks to the generous grant funding provided by Cummins Inc., a curriculum has been developed for this specific purpose.  The curriculum pilot is underway, with the goal of making the CME accredited training available nationwide - and even globally - in 2015.  

    These are exciting times for ACLM, as we feel the wave of Lifestyle Medicine beginning to surge.  An ever-growing number of physicians and clinicians are questioning an allopathic-only approach to medicine.  They are waking up to the reality that identifying and eradicating the cause of disease should be primary - preventing, suspending and even reversing disease by addressing the fundamental causes.

    Case in point: In his July 21, 2014 MedPage Today guest blog post, Kim Williams, MD, president-elect of the American College of Cardiology, explains why he has adopted a plant-based diet and is urging his patients to follow suit.   ACLM’s own Dean Ornish, MD commended Dr. William’s courage and leadership in his follow-up July 31, 2014 MedPage Today guest blog post in which he emphasized the efficacy of Lifestyle Medicine.

    I was especially struck with Dr. Williams saying, “Wouldn't it be a laudable goal of the American College of Cardiology to put ourselves out of business within a generation or two? We have come a long way in prevention of cardiovascular disease, but we still have a long way to go. Improving our lifestyles with improved diet and exercise will help us get there.”

    ACLM members are helping to lead this charge for change.

    Having joined ACLM as its executive director just a few short months ago, I’m blessed with the opportunity to work with an exceptional group of individuals who are passionate about Lifestyle Medicine.  The dedication of ACLM’s leadership, led by President David Katz, MD, is something for which I am truly grateful.  As Lifestyle Medicine becomes the foundation of a transformed healthcare system, we stand on the shoulders of people like John Kelly, MD, who founded ACLM in 2004, with John having recognized other Lifestyle Medicine pioneers in his June ACLM article.  Drs. Wayne Dysinger, George Guthrie, Liana Lianov, Dexter Shurney, David Ferriss, Marc Braman and so many others have made significant contributions over the past ten years, laying the groundwork for all - clinicians and patients alike - who will now reap the benefits of a Lifestyle Medicine approach to healthcare. 

    We hope to see you in San Diego October 19-22 at Lifestyle Medicine 2014.  In the meantime, please know that we welcome your questions and appreciate your suggestions.  

    I look forward to hearing from you!  Never hesitate to contact me at