The Foundation of All Healthcare

By ACLM Executive Director, Susan Benigas


For the first time ever, ACLM has the building blocks needed to manifest the vision we're casting - Lifestyle Medicine as the foundation of all health care. These building blocks include quality, scalable CME-accredited education; certification in the field; certification of Lifestyle Medicine programs; and the depth and breadth of our growing ACLM physician, allied health professional and healthcare executive member network

2019 is going to be a special year for the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, marking the 15th anniversary since our organization's 2004 founding. We can say with confidence, the best is yet to come!

2018 set the stage, and we want to take a look at some of the highlights:

  • In the past four years, ACLM has seen over 400% growth in membership, representing a specialty now recognized as one of the fastest growing career fields in medicine.
  • Lifestyle Medicine 2018 saw a record-breaking attendance of nearly 1,200, representing 35 countries. Wayne Dysinger, MD was honored as this year’s Trailblazer Award winner, with John McDougall, MD recognized as the Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. Plans are already underway for Lifestyle Medicine 2019, set for October 27-30 at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, FL, with pre-conference workshops kicking off Saturday, October 26, and a Lifestyle Medicine Global Alliance symposium on Friday, October 25. We’re anticipating a sell-out attendance of 1,500, with conference registration going live mid-January. Stay tuned for details!
  • The American Board of Lifestyle Medicine hosted nearly 330 physicians and allied health professionals for the 2nd annual ABLM exam. October 31, 2019 will mark the 3rd annual exam, also being held in Orlando at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, with registered dietitians, for the first time, being eligible to vie for certification in the field.
  • As a companion to certification in the field, ACLM’s Education Committee takes very seriously its responsibility to help fill the Lifestyle Medicine education void that currently exists with quality education: Version 2 of the Lifestyle Medicine Core Competencies Program online course, developed in partnership with ACPM, was just unveiled. Version 2 of the Foundations of Lifestyle Medicine: Board Review Course rolled out earlier this year. ACLM’s learning management system features an array of CME-accredited courses, with Reversing Type 2 Diabetes and Insulin Resistance with Lifestyle Medicine in queue to debut Spring 2019.
  • Through an ACLM partnership with LLU Health and LMEd, which was sparked by our Professionals in Training (PiT), 2018 has seen the development and piloting of the initial phase of the Lifestyle Medicine Residency Curriculum. Projected to be completed in early 2020, the vision is for this foundational curriculum to be adopted by ALL primary care and preventive medicine residencies across the nation so as to establish this training as a standard part of residency education.
  • Representing a growing network of Lifestyle Medicine medical professional associations around the world, the Lifestyle Medicine Global Alliance is growing in its global influence: LMGA Director Margarete Ezinwa recently presented in Geneva at the World Health Organization. WHO acknowledges that noncommunicable disease is the world’s looming pandemic, with Lifestyle Medicine serving as the antidote.
  • 2018 saw the launch of the Lifestyle Medicine Speakers Bureau, as we proactively cultivate speaking opportunities for our LM leading experts at hospital grand rounds, medical schools and conferences. ACLM has exhibited at a wide array of medical conferences this year—with plans to expand this awareness building strategy in 2019.
  • Recognizing the importance of building a rock-solid business case for Lifestyle Medicine in both clinical practice and worksite settings, the Lifestyle Medicine Economic Research Consortium (LMERC) debuted this year. ACLM’s new Lifestyle Medicine Program Certification will be housed within the LMERC, serving as evaluation and "certification process" to showcase intervention programs that effectively support disease treatment and reversal.  
  • ACLM’s Professionals in Training (PiT) are going strong, gearing up for a proactive campaign to establish Lifestyle Medicine Interest Groups on all medical school campuses.This effort is also supported through the annual Donald A. Pegg Student Leadership Awards, presented each year at ACLM’s annual awards banquet. ACLM loves our PiT members—those who truly are the future of our field!
  • Nearly 30 visionary organizations are members of ACLM’s Lifestyle Medicine Corporate Roundtable, which debuted in 2016. Representing cutting edge programs, products, services; foresighted academic institutions; enlightened employers; and healthcare industry stakeholders, ACLM’s CRT is a powerful engine and driving force behind our growing policy and advocacy efforts.
  • “Facts don’t change behavior; stories do,” is what Immediate Past President George Guthrie emphasized. True! Our Lifestyle Medicine Story Project leverages the power of the story, showcasing provider, patient and organizational transformation through Lifestyle Medicine. As resources permit, we’ll continue to add compelling video vignettes that inspire!
  • With nearly two dozen committees, working groups and task forces now in action, active member engagement is growing—helping drive initiatives and outreach efforts to key constituencies.ACLM’s Program Certification Task Force. The LM Center of Excellence Task Force, operating as part of the LM in Health Systems Working Group. The LM in the Workplace Working Group has a new task force charged with developing our LM in the Workplace Toolkit.Our ACO Task Force. ACLM’s Standards Task Force, operating as part of the Publications Committee, is updating our Standards document. Our PA, RN/APRN, RD, Fitness Professional and new Pharmacist working groups are just a few of the active groups representing strategic efforts to strengthen the interdisciplinary Lifestyle Medicine clinical practice team.
  • The vision of ACLM’s Happiness Science and Positive Health Committee Chair Liana Lianov was brought to life through the inaugural Summit on Happiness Science in Healthcare, produced in partnership with Dell Medical School at the University of Texas in Austin. A white paper resulting from the gathering will soon be published, with this being the start of a concerted effort to fully integrate positive psychology and Lifestyle Medicine into healthcare—long overdue!
  • The Hierarchies of Evidence Applied to Lifestyle Medicine (HEaLM) Task Force chaired by ACLM Past President David Katz concluded its work, with a paper to be submitted for publication in early 2019, documenting the need for a system of evidence evaluation specific to Lifestyle Medicine. To draw conclusions about the lifetime effects of health behaviors, we must look beyond the confines of randomized controlled trials, whose nature precludes decades-long study due to challenges with adherence. This paper offers an alternative perspective and proposed new tool for questions in the domain of Lifestyle Medicin

ACLM’s Board of Directors
is second to none. How blessed we are to have such passionate leaders! Heartfelt thanks to Immediate Past President George Guthrie, who, after his term in office and immense contributions to ACLM, passed the baton a few short weeks ago to incoming President Dexter Shurney. With Cardiologist Cate Collings assuming the office of president-elect, the start of her six-year “presidential” term, we bid adieu to Past President David Katz, who rolls off the board, having completed his six-year stint. With a 15-member board, a growing line-up of committees, working groups and task forces, and exponential growth in membership, ACLM is positioned for tremendous impact as we launch into 2019.  

ACLM President Dexter Shurney says that “the P’s” are his priorities for his term in office: “policy, payment, partnerships” and “public relations” to amplify the good news of the field we represent.

What makes ACLM so unique as a medical professional society? It’s a magnet for purpose, passion-driven people. We are kindred spirits who understand what’s at stake and feel an immense sense of responsibility to be the change we want to see in the world.

Thank YOU for your support of ACLM, for your leadership in the field we represent, and for being a champion for change!

Susan Benigas
Executive Director