Building the Engine for Change
Marc Braman, MD, MPH
There are many things that need to be different and better in our healthcare system in the United States – as well as in healthcare systems in most parts of the world for that matter. To affect substantial and positive change, we must intelligently build an engine to achieve that change. That means making specific and important parts that all work together harmoniously to create something much bigger and more functional than a simple sum of the parts. We must build an engine to enable “treating the cause” to happen in the real world.
Two of those pieces are:
1. Content: High-quality, user-friendly, evidence-based Lifestyle Medicine content for patients. Content that is readily accessible, comprehensible, practical, and that can also be part of the highest quality clinical health care.
2. Database: The science of Lifestyle Medicine gathered together into one highly usable database that can then serve as the primary resource for all the things that need to happen for Lifestyle Medicine’s development: curriculum development for graduate and post-graduate education, for continuing education, for clinical pathways, for standards, for books, for apps, etc. The science of Lifestyle Medicine is in many different silos - exercise science, nutrition science, medical science, psychological science, etc. Many don’t “see” a clear picture of Lifestyle Medicine because the evidence is in fragments all over the place. We need a unified body of science with which to drive the many other things that need to happen.
The privilege is mine of sharing with the Lifestyle Medicine community that the necessary opportunity and funding now exists to accomplish the development of these engine-of-change components. And you can be part of this significant step for Lifestyle Medicine if you wish to and are able.
I have said for some time that the opportunity we need is a major employer who is ready to substantially recreate their health care for their employees to something that makes sense -- clinically and economically -- a system of care based on treating the cause. Cummins, Inc is doing just that and is funding the development of a website and content of high-quality, evidence-based, user-friendly Lifestyle Medicine information for practical application. This will be used for their employee wellness program, as well as an important resource for clinical care and treatment education. This is happening simultaneously and in parallel with the Lifestyle Medicine competencies certificate project (another piece of the engine being built through the American College of Preventive Medicine).
The website will be built for both direct consumer use as well as a tool for use by clinicians for their patients. There are many exciting features and functions we envision, but the project is still in the initial phase and I don’t want to get into too much detail at this point. A small panel of top experts in different core components of Lifestyle Medicine is an integral component of this project to ensure that execution and content is to the highest standards. This website has every reason to become the go-to website on the internet for Lifestyle Medicine information.
Behind the website is the development of the database of Lifestyle Medicine scientific evidence. This will be a “community project”, or “crowd sourced”, in a way. We want to allow all you pioneers and early adopters to come together and participate in a very organic way to bring this database into existence and continually grow it. And then encourage others to join us in this movement. The very process itself will develop a functional group of professionals creating a critical building block from which many other important components of positive change can spring. The database will be professionally managed as it develops so that it can accomplish the most good.
If you would like to participate in making tangible, positive change happen in the New Year, you can!
1. You can contribute your expertise, time, and/or energy in adding to the scientific database of Lifestyle Medicine studies. We will be setting up a system to enable people to focus on particular topics of need or interest, work on things at convenient times, and from wherever is convenient. You can contact our Project Manager, Ray Berardinelli, at: email@example.com.
2. Of course, money is always welcome. It is what enables us to hire professional people with the right skills to turn the wheels of change while most of us are busy seeing patients. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation, especially as the end of the year draws near, you may do so at: http://lifestylemedicinefound.org/help-our-cause/.
The website will be lifestylefacts.org. But don’t look for it just yet. This is a major project and we intend to do it right. It should start coming online in the latter half of 2014.
Forward! -- into the New Year and creating substantial and tangible benefit for those we serve!
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