Transformative ACLM, Blue Zones partnership establishes ‘clear path to the future’ 

By Dexter Shurney, MD, MBA, MPH, FACLM, DipABLM

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I am delighted to write about a groundbreaking partnership between the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) and Blue Zones (BZ). The partnership reflects both organizations’ mutually aligned missions and joint vision to improve the health of individuals and communities through proven, evidence-based lifestyle behavior therapies.   

For many years, the lifestyle medicine (LM) community has set its sights on transforming LM from a disruptive, somewhat novel concept to a fully embraced mainstream standard of care. This 10-year partnership commitment between ACLM and BZ is designed to establish a clear path to that future. 

Lifestyle medicine aligns directly with the Blue Zones’ goal of helping people live better 

and longer lives through the wisdom of the longest-lived, healthiest cultures around the world. There is a clear crosswalk between the Power9 Blue Zones healthy community attributes and the six pillars of lifestyle medicine. Blue Zones is essentially “living” the philosophy of lifestyle medicine and catalyzing health from within clinical care that is supported by the community. 

The partnership leverages the key strengths of both organizations, combining ACLM’s leading LM medical education, professional training, and certification at an individual level with BZ’s world-class longevity research and well-being solutions at a population and community level. This synergy creates a nurturing and supportive eco-system to enable lasting behavior change.  

Moreover, this smart alliance will help advance the LM marketplace. BZ is now in over 90 communities across the U.S. and growing.  These communities also represent major payors and employers. Many of the communities and organizations are asking if there are certified LM physicians and other LM health professionals who also understand Blue Zones to help them with their efforts. To that end, ACLM will play a leading role in developing and will host a new “Blue Zones-Certified Physician” or “Blue Zones-Certified Healthcare Professional” certification for clinicians who are already trained and certified in LM.   

Additionally, Blue Zones is being recognized as the exclusive founding partner of ACLM’s Center for Lifestyle Medicine Innovation (CLMI). I am honored to serve as President of the center that is designed as a hub for research, innovation, thought leadership and knowledge sharing. Collaboration is key, and anyone interested in joining to advance research into identifying and eradicating the root causes of disease can learn more here 

Together ACLM and BZ will work to fill an anticipated growing demand for LM-BZ certified clinicians in various markets while also working collaboratively on reimbursement policies and quality metrics that best serve a LM approach to care, such as being appropriately incentivized and rewarded for disease reversal. Some Blue Zones employers have international operations with virtual and global reach to promote the certification opportunity worldwide.  

The opportunity to earn recognition as a BZ Certified Physician or Medical Professional transcends U.S. borders: While, in the U.S., this recognition will be exclusively available to physicians and medical professionals trained and certified by either the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine (ABLM) or the ACLM, internationally, it will be those who are trained and certified by the International Board of Lifestyle Medicine (IBLM). Our entire world is in desperate need of medical professionals who are equipped to address the global pandemic of lifestyle-related noncommunicable disease.  

Given my long history with both ACLM and Blue Zones, I am particularly excited about the possibilities. This marks an extraordinary event. And, I believe it will lead to a new era in medicine with an integrated, overriding purpose where eventually the line between LM and standard care will merge. In short, the outcome of this partnership will be improved health, longevity, and ultimately many lives saved.  

To learn more or register your interest in earning lifestyle medicine or Blue Zone certification, visit here

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