Champions of Change in Lifestyle Medicine

The Lifestyle Medicine Education Collaborative (LMEd) is proud to showcase lifestyle medicine education programs in medical schools. The schools highlighted are at various stages of program development and implementation. School leaders have shared information regarding courses, electives, activities, and programs to assist other schools as they develop their own programs. Read and learn.


The West Virginia University School of Medicine introduced a lifestyle medicine program five years ago when there was a call for grant proposals for curricula that focused on new and innovative topics for medical students. At that time, there was little in the school’s curriculum on nutrition and physical activity and the role these areas played in promoting health, preventing disease, and in treating chronic diseases. For several years, I, Mark Cucuzzella, have been involved in military public health and preparing Air Force members for physical fitness tests. I have learned a lot about nutrition and fitness along the way. Some of my learning was achieved due to personal circumstances as I became prediabetic following what the military was promoting as a “healthy warfighters diet.” We taught low fat, count calories, with a focus on eating ample carbohydrates. My genetic predisposition to diabetes caught up with me, and even though I was running and winning marathons, I could not run away from a bad diet. For a year I spent my time reading almost everything I could about nutrition, as many Air Force members were failing their tests not because of lack of physical training but from obesity and poor...
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The Medical University of Warsaw (MUW) officially introduced lifestyle medicine to the school in December 2016. It was then that the Medical University of Warsaw Lifestyle Medicine Scientific Club (LMIG) was founded and approved by the University as a student scientific club. The terminology “lifestyle medicine” then started to be commonly used at the University. From the beginning, the club has been managed by medical students under the supervision of the Third Department of Internal Medicine and Cardiology. As the impact of lifestyle on the onset of civilization diseases has been neglected for decades in Polish medical school curricula, student organizations have been undertaking numerous initiatives to make up for this unhealthy deficiency. Two years ago, the International Federation of Medical Students Associations IFMSA-Poland Local Committee in Warsaw, began two projects embracing lifestyle medicine elements, not yet calling the initiative by this name. The Food Medicine Conference, the first project, is an annual conference and to date has been held twice, each time gathering students from different faculties at MUW as well as some from other universities and cities around Poland. The goal of the conference is to bring attention to faulty nutrition as a major risk factor for civilization...
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The Culinary Health Education for Families, or “CHEF,” program is part of the $135 million renovation project that began in 2012 to transform the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio’s downtown campus into the city’s first freestanding children’s hospital. Through a partnership with Baylor College of Medicine, The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio began attracting world-class talent from renowned children’s hospitals across the country. In 2015, a pediatric residency program was established and 10 new medical school graduates joined the hospital. Most residents admit that the opportunity to train in culinary medicine was a major factor in their decision to receive their pediatric training at The Children’s Hospital. Those residents participated in their first culinary medicine class last fall. Dr. Julie La Barba, CHEF’s medical director, tells the students that the Teaching Kitchen is one of the few places during their residency experience where it is safe to say, “I don’t know.” While in medical school, physicians typically are required to take 25 hours of nutrition education, yet only 27 percent meet the criteria. “It’s estimated that 70 percent of chronic diseases are associated with preventable causes related to diet and exercise. That is a reason to get serious about having...
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The Lifestyle Clinic at Emory University has been helping patients learn how to break the chains of unhealthy lifestyle behaviors since December 2013. I am the product of trailblazers at Emory University who challenged the status quo of how to effectively treat chronic, preventable diseases by laying the foundation of what is now the Lifestyle Clinic at Emory. As a Preventive Medicine resident in my second and final year of training, I currently serve in a leadership role to build lifestyle medicine among the trainees and faculty of the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. I also facilitate shared medical appointments covering the topics of nutrition, physical activity, and mindfulness. Our program has recently been selected to receive the American College of Preventive Medicine Diabetes Prevention Program Demonstration Project grant award which allows us to implement the Diabetes Prevention Program at our lifestyle clinic. This project is directly in line with the lifestyle medicine core competency of Use of Office and Community Support. The clinic provides hands-on lifestyle medicine exposure for residents, faculty, medical students, and physician assistant students. Through applied learning, learners actively engage with patients during shared medical appointments, practice motivational interviewing, and gain an appreciation for the impact lifestyle...
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The CUNY School of Medicine is a seven-year BS/MD program receiving its preliminary LCME accreditation in 2015. The program is based on the success of the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education founded in 1973 specifically to address societal issues related to care of the underserved and the numbers of underrepresented minority physicians. The mission of the CUNY School of Medicine is to produce broadly-educated, highly-skilled medical practitioners to provide quality health services to communities historically underserved by primary care practitioners. The School recruits and educates a diverse, talented pool of students, expanding access to medical education to individuals with limited financial resources from underserved communities, and who are of racial/ethnic backgrounds historically underrepresented in the medical profession. In 2015 the School launched a new curriculum which includes a year-long lifestyle medicine course taken in the second year of the program. The content of the lifestyle medicine course, known as Practice of Medicine 1 emphasizes the importance of lifestyle factors in health and covers topics such as sleep, healthy eating, physical activity, stress management, social connectedness, spirituality, tobacco and substance abuse avoidance. In lectures and small group sessions, students learn to conduct literature searches, critically assess medical literature, and appreciate...
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At the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (JHUSOM), faculty and students joined forces with chefs and experts in clinical nutrition to establish the JHUSOM Teaching Kitchen in 2015. The objective of this Teaching Kitchen is to bridge the gap between learning about nutrition concepts in lectures and confidently applying food and diet related principles in practice. The JHUSOM Teaching Kitchen is unique in that it was student-initiated and founded by first year medical students who recruited faculty mentors as well as registered dietitians and culinary experts. This multidisciplinary team with medical, nutrition, and culinary expertise have worked together to develop an engaging curriculum to convey essential nutrition knowledge and culinary skills that students can use to counsel patients on the impact of food and diet on their health. Students are also encouraged to personally embrace these practices in their own lives and serve as role models for their patients, family members, friends, and colleagues. With support from the Johns Hopkins Social Innovation Lab, the leadership team of the JHUSOM Teaching Kitchen also formed the B’more Healthy Teaching Kitchen to promote healthy eating directly in the larger Baltimore community. Through these community outreach efforts, students lead events like health fairs and...
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Over the past two years, several individuals in the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation have been making teaching inroads into the medical school curriculum to include the American College of Sports Medicine Exercise is Medicine (ACSM EIM) principles. Per Dr. Heather Vincent, the group has been able to: A) Develop and insert into the first-year pre-preceptorship an introductory lecture on the importance of discussing exercise with patients and using ACSM EIM materials such as the exercise prescription pads, benefits sheets, and information on exercise as a vital sign. B) Provide second-year medical students an intensive lecture series entitled “Exercise is Medicine” where we discuss the benefits of exercise for low back pain, knee pain, neck and shoulder pain, and what specific exercise programs and modifications can be used to manage these common complaints. We have also included exercise programs for healthy aging, “Normal Musculoskeletal Aging”. C) Create an exercise testing hands-on session in the Clinical Elective “Advanced Physical Diagnosis and Clinical Reasoning” for fourth-year students. In this session, students perform an exercise gait study and a gait mat, and together we access patient history, movement patterns, and determine exercise therapies that can be used to correct problems and imbalances. In...
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The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences

The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences has designed and implemented a Lifestyle Medicine Elective for preclinical medical students. The elective is conducted by Dr. Angele McGrady, Dalynn Badenhop, PhD, Professor of Medicine, and Kim Abbas, licensed dietician. To date, 63 students have enrolled in the elective. The program applied for and received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval to collect data on lifestyle habits of students. The elective consists of four group sessions during which information is presented and discussed involving the relationship among lifestyle factors, health and illness. Students complete screening tools to identify the area where their lifestyle may be unhealthy. They then set a SMART goal to address activity, nutrition, or stress management. Small groups in each area are conducted by healthcare professionals. Data is collected again at the end of elective. Two sessions are devoted to group work on patient cases where lifestyle is a factor in their chronic illness. Data analysis shows that statistically significant improvements are achieved by students in increasing activity, reducing fat consumption, increasing fruit/vegetable intake, and decreasing anxiety. We believe that obtaining data showing that changes in lifestyle are possible during medical school, and positive evaluations are critical...
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Do you want to showcase your medical school and residency program in an upcoming newsletter? Contact Cary H. Wing, EdD, FACSM, for more information.

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