Leadership in Lifestyle Medicine: Bringing Vision to Life!
Ingrid Edshteyn, DO
It has been a privilege to serve in a leadership capacity for ACLM these past few years. We now have the opportunity for others who share the passion for Lifestyle Medicine to become part of this organization—driving transformation in our healthcare system. We’ve recently opened our call to ACLM members for nominations for the upcoming fall Board and Officer elections.
How was my passion for Lifestyle Medicine first sparked?
It was a serendipitous day several years back when I first, quite fortunately, quite randomly, discovered the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. Could it be possible? Could there truly be a group of dedicated physicians who practice the principles of wellness in their personal and professional lives? What struck me the most was the sense of inclusiveness, the sense of community, and of genuine people making a substantial difference in their clinical practices and personal lives. It resonated to the core of who I was, and who I saw myself becoming as a physician. From the moment I was introduced to this group, it felt like finding medicine’s best kept secret. It was everything I had been hoping to find—an evidence based foundation for the science of living well—and applicable from primary to tertiary prevention.
The reason I’ve been increasingly involved with ACLM since that first fateful encounter as a medical student is because of the people and leadership at the helm of the organization. They have been truly empowering of others and ceaselessly committed to changing our medical system for the better—practicing what they prescribe! It certainly has been the road less traveled during clinical training, but worth every moment. I’ve also had the immense good fortune to witness physician members in different stages of transition—whether Internal Medicine, Plastic Surgery, or Emergency Medicine—successfully shift their entire clinical practices to embrace the principles of Lifestyle Medicine. It has been a profound experience. This is not medicine as usual. It’s a seismic shift in our philosophy and connection with both ourselves and our patients.
Now the organization is approaching a momentous new chapter, where the energy and potential is readily palpable. We’ve seen a doubling in our membership and more than 500 attendees at the 2014 San Diego conference. Registration for our upcoming Lifestyle Medicine 2015 conference in Nashville is set to surpass this and features a line-up of stellar visionaries in the field, including Dr. Dean Ornish and Dan Buettner. It’s also an opportunity for connecting with other practitioners, expanding one’s knowledge and leaving inspired to bring home the energy and enthusiasm to transform one’s practice. This year we’ve ventured into exciting new territory as a result of partnerships forged with two organizations, the Medical Fitness Association and the American Kinesiotherapy Association. This highlights our upcoming initiative to become a unique professional organization that is interdisciplinary in its membership structure. Not only is a brand new website coming soon, but also we’re preparing for our very first membership drive. To capture the inclusiveness and team-based nature of Lifestyle Medicine practice, expanded membership categories will include professionals such as nurses, dietitians, fitness trainers and health coaches.
It’s truly an exciting time to be involved and to lead the strategy for the organization. An extension of ACLM has been the development of the True Health Coalition, where stakeholders across different industries have come together and agreed on using what we know—that lifestyle is the best and most powerful medicine we have. We’re joining forces with key organizations to achieve this mission, spearheaded by our President, Dr. Katz.
Internally, we have working groups being led by highly motivated ACLM members to increase Lifestyle Medicine recognition across a number of health professions, starting with Physician Assistants. Also, we’re taking an inventive approach by assembling regional meet-ups for Lifestyle Medicine networking and education, enabling ways to connect with local providers.
As ACLM’s Secretary and Chair of our election’s Nominating Committee, it’s been an honor to serve while as a medical student, medical resident, and now, as a young physician in this inspiring organization. Even more humbling and rewarding has been the tremendous interest and momentum by our junior group of members—the Professionals in Training. They have incredible energy that I hope will continue propelling forward the ambitious agenda of transforming healthcare as we know it!
The movement is upon us. We encourage your participation and vision in helping to lead the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. If you aren’t already a member, please join! If you’re a member and would like to vie for a leadership role, please consider nominations for one of the open positions: Secretary, Treasurer, or Board member. Nominate yourself or a colleague who has the vision and passion to move healthcare forward. Submit your nominations on or before August 23 to firstname.lastname@example.org.