President's Desk, April 2015
Presidents are supposed to give periodic status reports about the unions they steward. In our case, I am privileged to be in that position of stewardship as our union not only thrives, but unites with other, likeminded unions. So the best way to characterize the state of our union is to describe the recent spate of our communions.
We are quite far along the path of communal effort with the American College of Preventive Medicine. Conjoining these two organizations in a manner that lends the strength of each to the other while preserving their important distinctions and character has long been an aspiration of the leadership in both camps. There are some details to be worked out still, but the effort now seems certain of success. I expect our College to be the stronger for it.
We are an integral part of a fast-growing coalition of lifestyle medicine organizations all around the world as a founding partner in the Global Lifestyle Medicine Association. We have our friend and colleague, Dr. Michael Sagner, President of the European Society of Lifestyle Medicine, to thank for the heavy lifting that set this in motion- but ACLM has been engaged from the start. The awareness of lifestyle medicine as a global movement has inspired the creation of new organizations around the world. In recent weeks, we have learned, for instance, of just such efforts in Canada, Korea, and Brazil.
Our spate of good ties and tidings includes our evolving relationship with the Blue Zones. We have the public support of Blue Zone founder and CEO, Dan Buettner, for the GLiMMER Initiative, and can all look forward to Dan as a keynote speaker at our conference in Nashville. Dan and I just shared the podium at a conference in San Diego, and I am pleased to report we are all in for a treat.
My particular, personal effort at communing in the service of lifestyle medicine is reflected in the rapidly expanding Council of Directors for the GLiMMER Initiative, described here previously. The fundamental intent of that Council is to show that there is a largely overlooked global consensus among experts about the salient features of healthy living, including diet. I had believed this to be true, and hoped that others would rally around it.
The Council has confirmed my belief, and exceeded my hopes. We are still in the very early days of GLiMMER, but already have over 120 experts from at least 17 countries on the council. Quite a few are household names, such as David Kessler, Dean Ornish, Walter Willett, and former US Surgeon General Richard Carmona. Others may have a bit less celebrity, but are leading influencers just the same, such as the CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Toby Cosgrove. Council members also include experts in the sustainability of our diets, and culinary experts committed to blending delicious and nutritious, such as Sam Kass, until quite recently the White House Chef, and architect of Let’s Move.
The GLiMMER Council is growing almost daily, and updated on our website every other week. Visit http://glimmerinitiative.org/ for our status at the time this reaches you.
Lifestyle medicine makes me think of the famous speech delivered by Daniel Webster, the most famous son of my alma mater, Dartmouth, in defense of the charter that kept it a college: “It is, Sir, as I have said, a small college. And yet there are those who love it!”
Those of us in this College truly love it. And yet, it is a small college. Small, when compared to the larger houses of medicine and professional practice, from the AMA, to the American College of Physicians, to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Small, too, when compared to the magnitude of the grave challenges, and great opportunities confronting our field.
Small is good in some ways, of course. But strength is essential to success, and strength may best derive from unity.
Global forces are rallying to the need for, and promise of, lifestyle medicine- and we are in the middle of it, surrounded by a rapidly expanding global community of friends and colleagues. That makes us…strong.