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The Director’s Note

Eddie Phillips, MD

As we begin the New Year and continue to advocate for the increased adoption of Lifestyle Medicine Education (LMEd), let us take a moment to reflect on the challenges and accomplishments of 2017. The efforts of LMEd started four short years ago with the audacious goal of transforming medical education to incorporate the essential elements of lifestyle medicine: nutrition, physical activity/exercise, behavior change, and self-care (including stress resiliency).

Indeed in 2017, we crossed a significant milestone with faculty and students from more than 50% of U.S. medical schools engaging with LMEd through mentoring, sharing curricula, and building a community of passionate learners and educators who understand that lifestyle medicine training is vital to the health of our patients and our students. From the start, we understood that assessment, in other words “getting lifestyle questions on the boards,” was a vital element to drive our efforts. As part of this effort the first group of medical students at University of South Carolina Greenville sat for a Categorical Assessment Test constructed from retired NBME board questions. Other schools are now planning on using this exam for their students.

From the start LMEd promised to provide “an array of curricular materials” for schools, faculty, and students. In 2017, LMEd promoted this effort by launching the Lifestyle Medicine collection of peer reviewed curricula within the MedEdPORTAL of the Association of American Medical Colleges. The LMEd Dropbox collection of mentoring and teaching materials now boasts a warehouse of items available for your use.  Uniquely, we are working with every medical school to mentor them on the path of lifestyle medicine education tailored to their individual situation.  Contact us to learn more.

The support of student initiatives and Lifestyle Medicine Interest Groups remains a central strategy for disseminating lifestyle medicine with the energy and drive of students’ key to this strategy. In concert with our colleagues at the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM), LMEd sponsored medical student leadership poster prize winners during the ACLM conference in October 2017 in Tucson, AZ. In addition, as part of the ACLM conference, LMEd hosted a Mentoring Workshop for medical schools.

Lastly, LMEd has long recognized that effective federal and state policy supporting lifestyle medicine education will sustain our efforts well into the future. With that in mind, Dr. Jennifer Trilk, LMEd co-founder and co-director, presented during the lobbying day sponsored by the American College of Preventive Medicine on Capitol Hill to promote passage of the ENRICH Act.

In this New Year we hope to gain further momentum and support for our work as we align with other organizations to address the groundswell of concern and focus on clinician well-being and positive efforts to reduce health professional trainee burnout, depression, and suicide.

The leadership of LMEd thanks you all for your continuing efforts and support as we work together to transform medical education.   We are in this together.  Happy New Year!

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