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 medicine has in treating or preventing chronic diseases within a primary care setting.
What has been most gratifying for me as a Preventive Medicine resident engaged in lifestyle medicine is having the opportunity to help develop our lifestyle medicine clinic through excellent mentorship; learn the basic tenets of lifestyle medicine; learn how to engage multiple stakeholders; learn how to create a patient curriculum; educate a diverse patient population; and, to apply my skills in epidemiology and quality improvement to begin developing the groundwork for program evaluation and outcomes research.
At the end of the day, sustainability of a lifestyle clinic in an academic setting depends on patients becoming empowered to increase healthy behaviors; health professionals developing a culture of change in medicine that values lifestyle medicine and the prevention of disease; and, the ability to present actionable data that leads to more investment of both human and financial resources. This is what I have learned so far in the brief time I have been involved at the Emory Lifestyle Clinic.
Visit the following to learn more:
Javier Valle, MD, MPH
Resident, Preventive Medicine Residency Program
Department of Family and Preventive Medicine
Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
Dr. Javier Valle received his MD from Ponce Health Sciences University in Puerto Rico and his MPH in Epidemiology from the Emory Rollins School of Public Health. He recently completed his residency training in Preventive Medicine at Emory where he has worked to develop a lifestyle medicine clinic in an academic, primary care setting. Dr. Valle has experience in developing patient curricula in the areas of nutrition, physical activity, and healthy mindset for change. He has also integrated medical students, residents, and physician assistant students in the Lifestyle Clinic at Emory as part of an immersive educational experience in the practice of lifestyle medicine. His academic interests include lifestyle medicine curriculum evaluation for learners and healthcare quality improvement and innovation. Following residency, Dr. Valle will begin his fellowship in healthcare quality improvement at the VA Quality Scholars Fellowship Program where he intends to apply quality improvement methods toward the implementation of lifestyle medicine interventions for Veterans.