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 diseases and to present dietary interventions for a doctor’s practice.
The second project is “What’s on your plate–smart choices for healthy living.” These culinary medicine workshops, and an educational fan page presenting a selection of recipes, are a practical response to the aims of the Food Medicine Conference, as well as an attempt to promote daily healthy eating habits in every student’s life proving the habits to be affordable and easy.
It was, however, the formation of the LMIG that marked a breakthrough in students’ efforts to bring lifestyle medicine education to the public debate and create a space for interdisciplinary cooperation between different faculties, specialists, and students.
Between January and June 2017, the LMIG organized four meetings with a turnout of 60-100 participants for each event. The LMIG and IFMSA joined forces and worked together on the second Food Medicine Conference held in May 2017. The LMIG members prepared a student session entitled “Evidence-Based Lifestyle Medicine” as well as hosted a “Plant-Based MUW” campaign promoting a whole-food, plant-based diet among MUW students. The LMIG was also invited to prepare a culinary medicine workshop during the 13th Warsaw International Medical Congress for Young Scientists in May 2017. In June, the club supported a Non-Tobacco Campaign initiated by University authorities.
An important part of LMIG activity is a fan page now followed by more than 600 students with a post reach nearing 3,000 people. The number of students registered as LMIG members and newsletter recipients reached 100 people at the end of June. In August 2017 LMIG’s President, Alicja Baska, was awarded the Donald A. Pegg Student Leadership Award.
Plans for the upcoming 2017-2018 academic year include setting up a closer cooperation between LMIG and University authorities as well as hosting the National Congress of Lifestyle Medicine.
Click here and learn more about the Medical University of Warsaw Lifestyle Medicine Scientific Club including a list of faculty, clinicians, and lifestyle medicine practitioners that have committed to giving a talk in the academic year 2017-2018, with a summary of the meetings organized during the second semester of the 2016-2017 academic year, and additional club activity.
Alicja Baska is a sixth-year medical student at Medical University of Warsaw (MUW). Alicja is president and co-founder of the MUW Lifestyle Medicine Interest Group. In August 2017, she was awarded the Donald A. Pegg Student Leadership Award by the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. Alicja has been a member of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations IFMSA-Poland since 2013; a IFMSA trainer since 2016; currently holds a post of the Local Committee Vice-president for English Division; and, is a former Local Officer on Medical Education. As a founder and coordinator of two IFMSA projects, “What’s on your plate–smart choices for healthy living” and “Food Medicine Conference,” Alicja brought culinary and food medicine to her school, leading Polish culinary medicine workshops and a conference reaching medical students in Poland. Privately, a keen plant-based cook, beginning food blogger, and a long-distance runner.