Spotlight: The 2013 Lifestyle Medicine "Movement" Event

Marc Braman, MD, MPH
ACLM Executive Director / Past President

Context: Health Care Crisis

* The United States, the developed world, and all developing countries are experiencing an epidemic of self-inflicted disease, suffering, and resulting economic hardship.  The scientific evidence is overwhelming now that lifestyle, not genes, is the primary determinant of health or disease.
* The existing health care system is based on pills and procedures to manage the consequences of destructive lifestyle while not correcting causation, leading to poor outcomes and higher costs.
* This state of affairs has existed intolerably long.  One reason is that there has never been a representative body of physicians and health care professionals to promote addressing the cause of disease as the primary therapeutic tool in the delivery of health care services. ACLM now exists to develop and promote "treat the cause" healthcare.
* The forces that have thus far been engaged in "healthcare reform" are insufficient, and/or have a fundamental conflict of interest to effecting significant, meaningful change in the kind of care provided. The necessary forces that could bring about change have not yet been brought together into a productive process or movement to effect fundamental health care change.  These forces are now reaching critical mass.

Objective: Begin A Movement

It will require a societal "movement" to overcome the forces holding back progress towards evidence-based healthcare becoming the norm.  Patients, employers paying for healthcare, advocacy organizations, and providers trapped in the current machine need to start expecting and demanding care that actually works and makes sense -- both clinically and economically.

The American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) will serve as the nidus, or organizing force, in bringing these forces together into a collaborative process to create a societal movement.  The focal point for initiating this movement will be an event in the Fall of 2013 themed, "The Lifestyle Medicine Movement."

Event Description

The event will be both professional and public.  Distinctions between the various professional and public components of the event are yet to be determined.  The lines of communication between providers and patients have been undergoing rapid alteration with the advent of the internet.  We need to lead into the future.  The public needs to see the evidence of what is actually possible in the restoration of health by correcting the cause.  The world needs to hear a body of physicians and professionals make the case for an effective, rational kind of healthcare.  People need to know that MDs are capable of utilizing more than just a prescription pad or a scalpel.

Stories need to be the primary mechanism of delivering the lifestyle medicine (LM) message for the public portions -- stories of patients alive and well as they change their lifestyle avoiding premature illness and death, stories of providers desperately wanting to provide care they know is possible but that they won't get paid for providing, stories of patients not being informed of evidence-based LM treatment options, stories of patients and their families desperate to find LM practitioners in their area and/or needing coverage for such services and being denied effective care (ACLM is getting more and more calls like this), stories of those who have tried to effect meaningful change and being thwarted by deep-pocket commercial interests, etc.

The world needs to hear the evidence for radically superior treatment from those who have done the work to demonstrate how effective LM is.  Society needs to begin demanding the LM-based healthcare that the scientific evidence demonstrates is possible and start getting really "bent out of shape" about not having it.

While the event is our focal point at this time, it is really about the "movement."  The purpose is not to just create excitement for a moment, but to create a launching pad for a movement.  This means there will need to be engagement of professional PR, event execution services, etc.  There will be coordinated build up leading up to the event, and plans for productive processes going forward post-event.

There may be opportunity to combine this event with other professional organization's events or conferences.  This will be explored on a case by case basis.

A special edition of a relevant medical journal on the proceedings of the scientific  symposium portion of the event is being considered.  This will serve as a reference point for the state of the science on lifestyle medicine.

We will likely hold this event near or in Washington, DC to achieve the greatest impact.
I. Invitees/Participants
A. ACLM Advisors - 9 of our Advisors have committed to speaking thus far.
B. Other top leaders in lifestyle medicine
C. Professional organizations
D. Major media coverage
E. Documentary films on health and health care and their audiences
F. Politicians

There are many more details to plan.  This introduction aims to provide the concept and basic vision.  We are seeking further input by our membership and friends interested in getting a far better kind of healthcare to those we serve.  Please send us your suggestions, potential contributions or involvement, connections you can help us make, publicity you could create, financial support you have ties to, and anything else that will help us collectively "blow the lid off this thing."  You are welcome to email me directly at: 

To "treat the cause" "health"care for those we serve,

Marc Braman, MD, MPH
Executive Director/Past President