The Institute of Lifestyle Medicine (ILM) was founded in 2007 at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and Harvard Medical School to reduce lifestyle-related death and disease through clinician-directed interventions with patients. As a non-profit professional education, research, and advocacy organization, the ILM is uniquely positioned to ignite clinician involvement in lifestyle medicine.

The organization is at the forefront of a broad-based collaborative effort to transform the practice of clinical care through lifestyle medicine. This critical transformation is motivated by research indicating that modifiable behaviors — especially physical inactivity and unhealthy eating — are major drivers of death, disease, and healthcare costs. While the medical profession is generally aware of this, there has yet to be a systematic and comprehensive effort to incorporate lifestyle medicine into standard practice.

The institute offers concrete tools and training to healthcare professionals, creates resources for patients, conducts research to demonstrate efficacy of lifestyle interventions, and is creating a model for national adoption of lifestyle medicine. The ILM advocates for changes in our healthcare system by empowering clinicians to facilitate behavior change and stimulate a culture of health and wellness for their patients.

In 2014, a culinary coaching approach was developed by Rani Polak, MD, CHEF, Health Coach, at the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine, to improve nutrition through a two-pronged approach, combining culinary training and coaching. Culinary coaching is defined as a “behavioral intervention that aims to improve nutrition and overall health by facilitating home cooking through an active learning process for participants that combines culinary training with health and wellness coaching competencies.”