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The Director’s Note

Dennis Muscato, MS

Welcome! This quarter I would like to share my personal journey with the Lifestyle Medicine Medical Education Collaborative (LMEd) and enthusiasm for this work!

If we teach just one medical student who serves as a role model and teaches lifestyle medicine to their future patients, they will reach thousands of patients with hope and health over their career.

If we teach a thousand medical students, we will reach millions of patients.

According to the American Heart Association, 78 million people in the United States have hypertension. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that 120 million, or half of the adult population, is diabetic or pre-diabetic. Additionally, the CDC estimates that two-thirds of the population is overweight or obese. The number of people with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and full-blown cardiovascular disease continues to rise.

My journey into Lifestyle Medicine Medical Education began in the business world, then continued in the medical school education field, and has now brought me into our national and global collaboration organization, LMEd.

Building a Better World through Business

My history in addressing challenges to make a better world comes from decades in the business sector, primarily in large-scale collaboration programs through Hewlett-Packard (HP) for 27 years. I have had the privilege of being a part of the success of many hard-working people and organizations, mostly in positive change leadership and management.

One of the key areas of my work was developing HP Global Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Stakeholder Relations. As its first program manager, I helped to develop what it means to be a CSR global leader, along with other Fortune 100 companies. This was done over the course of about seven years with strategic business process improvements, universities, Fortune 100 corporations, community partnerships, competitive industry benchmarks, new business opportunities, marketing media and public relations, investor relations, sponsorships, and social and environmental reporting. Another part of my work was in HP charitable giving, through multi-million-dollar technology grants with community non-profits, agencies, K-12, community colleges, and universities. I served as an HP founding board member of U.C. Berkeley Haas Center for Responsible Business and worked in developing global HP partnership projects with international institutions such as Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), UN Global Compact (UNGC), Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Harvard e-Health in Developing Countries, and many others. After retiring from the HP business world, I transitioned into medical school education.

Building a Better World through Medical School Education

For the past seven years, I have been part of the team at Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest (COMP-Northwest) as its first Lifestyle Medicine program manager. Together, our team has been able to define and introduce lifestyle medicine culture and curriculum using lifestyle medicine speakers, educators, and clerkships. Our curriculum includes licensed experiential programs such as Tulane Culinary Medicine Education and Complete Heath Improvement Program (CHIP). We continue to grow our curriculum through a wealth of key contacts and expertise.

The importance of Lifestyle Medicine Medical Education in our school compelled us to collaborate nationally and globally with other medical schools through LMEd to further this mission.

Building a Better World through a National/Global Medical Education Consortium

While supporting our local education at COMP-Northwest, I also serve as Co-Director of Lifestyle Medicine Education Collaborative (LMEd), our national organization, working with generous foundation funding to provide leadership, guidance, and resources to advance the adoption and implementation of lifestyle medicine curriculum in the U.S. and international medical schools.

My focus is in building LMEd outreach and mentoring over 70 medical schools in the U.S. and internationally in lifestyle medicine. Objectives include:

  • Provide high quality lifestyle medicine curriculum material on an easily navigable website.
  • Solicit the support of medical school deans, critical administration, and faculty to advocate for and implement lifestyle medicine curriculum in medical school education.
  • Support and encourage medical students to champion lifestyle medicine curriculum in medical schools to increase adoption and national collaboration.
  • Contribute to publications and strategic efforts of LMEd in areas of the business case and policies that can provide sustainable funding for lifestyle medicine education.

We now have over 1,000 contacts on our mailing list, 300 accessing the Dropbox of curricular materials, and hundreds of downloads from the MedEdPORTAL Lifestyle Medicine Collection.

Building a Better World by being Champions of Change Together

There is already great understanding of the health problems we face and also lifestyle medicine evidence-based solutions. An increasing number of medical schools are integrating a lifestyle medicine culture and curricular education. Students applying for medical school are seeking institutions that teach lifestyle medicine and encourage students to be role models of health for their future patients.

Leading policy makers and foundations are taking notice and partnering with the lifestyle medicine education mission.  We expect to see this bloom in the next few years. Lifestyle medicine is low-cost to provide healthcare to so many people. It has proven its value and will make a high positive impact in all realms of society.

We also see lifestyle medicine education being implemented in undergraduate medical schools, residencies, and allied health professions in a team approach to lifestyle medicine patient care.

This mission has been accomplished in concert with many outstanding organizations, each contributing valuable expertise in lifestyle medicine to our collaborative education efforts. Indeed, it is one of those win-win-win situations, and we are fortunate to work with so many courageous, brilliant, and generous people who champion this change with their time and energy! We have already developed excellent curriculum, with more on the horizon, and it is accelerating quickly.

THANK YOU!

It is an honor to work together with you in LMEd to further lifestyle medicine medical education!

The following quote describes the many outstanding people who make Lifestyle Medicine Medical Education possible: “When courage, genius, and generosity hold hands, all things are possible.” –Unknown

In closing, each one of you makes a difference, no matter your role or position or geography or education level in this effort.

Lifestyle medicine medical education = Worthwhile noble work of service

Source: Joy at Work

 

Blessings,

 

Dennis




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