The scholarship effort, which includes partnerships with national and community-based organizations, will expand access to lifestyle medicine in under-resourced communities.
ST. LOUIS, Dec. 14, 2023 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ --The American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) today announced the Lifestyle Medicine National Training Initiative (NTI), a commitment of more than $2 million in matching funds to train and certify, at minimum, one physician in lifestyle medicine within each Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) and Community Health Center (CHC) across the United States. The scholarship effort, which includes partnerships with national and community-based organizations including the first impact partner, the American Council on Exercise (ACE), will expand access to lifestyle medicine in historically under-resourced communities.
Lifestyle medicine is a medical specialty that uses therapeutic lifestyle interventions as a primary modality to treat chronic conditions including, but not limited to, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and obesity. Lifestyle medicine-certified clinicians are trained to apply evidence-based, whole-person, prescriptive lifestyle change to treat and, when used intensively, often reverse such conditions. Applying the six pillars of lifestyle medicine—a whole-food, plant-predominant eating pattern, physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances and positive social connections—also provides effective prevention for these conditions.
Communities of color are disproportionately impacted by lifestyle-related chronic disease. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, in 2019 non-Hispanic blacks were twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to die from diabetes. In addition, Hispanics have higher rates of diabetes related kidney failure and blindness.
"With more than 1,400 FQHCs and CHCs in the nation, the impact that the clinicians from these institutions can have on addressing health care disparities is tremendous," said ACLM President and Harvard Medical School faculty member Beth Frates, MD, FACLM, DipABLM. "The National Training Initiative is a major step in the right direction in making lifestyle medicine accessible to all."
ACE is recognized as the first impact partner of the Lifestyle Medicine National Training Initiative, having donated more than $100,000 to ensure the national reach of the Initiative. As the leading nonprofit organization certifying health coaches and exercise professionals in the United States and worldwide, ACE collaborates with public health partners to educate people of all backgrounds about the importance of physical activity and other healthy lifestyle behaviors; advocates for public policies to increase physical activity opportunities; and supports scientific research that investigates the efficacy of behavior-change interventions and the effectiveness of exercise practices and trends.
With dollar-for-dollar matched funding up to $2 million from generous donors like ACE and other in-kind marketing and promotional partners that include Association of Clinicians for the Underserved, Health Choice Network and National Association of Chronic Disease Directors among others, scholarship funding for FQHC and CHC organizations in each state across the U.S. can empower health care practitioners with the knowledge and education to positively impact thousands of lives through a transformed health care system.
"The need to address chronic disease health disparities is urgent," said ACE President and Chief Science Officer Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D., FACSM. "Through the National Training Initiative, ACLM is catalyzing funders and key partners to support the integration of lifestyle medicine by providing training and education to interdisciplinary care teams that work with communities facing an undue burden of chronic disease. We are proud to serve as the first impact partner, empowering clinicians within community health centers with the lifestyle medicine knowledge and behavior change tools they need to support at-risk populations."
The year 2024 will mark ACLM's 20th anniversary, and to kick off the year-long celebration, the National Training Initiative scholarship application will open in January. Those who are interested in applying are invited to submit their interest to receive notification when the application window begins. ACLM continues to actively seek matching funds from organizations across the country that are dedicated to eliminating health disparities.
The National Training Initiative scholarship, worth $3,300 each, covers a one-year membership in ACLM, registration and travel stipend for the organization's annual conference, and American Board of Lifestyle Medicine exam registration.
The National Training Initiative is an extension of ACLM's commitment to the 2022 White House Conference on Hunger, Health and Nutrition, which also includes 5.5 complimentary hours of continuing medical education and continuing (CME/CE) credits in nutrition and lifestyle medicine coursework to 200,000 physicians and other medical professionals through September of 2025. To date, more than 32,000 medical professionals have registered for the course. Clinicians, especially those who are treating patients in areas with a high prevalence of diet-related disease, are invited to register at no charge for that "Lifestyle Medicine and Food as Medicine Essentials" online course at lifesylemedicine.org/WHConference.
ACLM's HEAL (Health Equity Achieved through Lifestyle Medicine) Initiative addresses lifestyle-related chronic disease health disparities through lifestyle medicine solutions, one priority of which is its FQHC Outreach Strategy.
The American College of Lifestyle Medicine is the nation's medical professional society advancing lifestyle medicine as the foundation for a redesigned, value-based and equitable healthcare delivery system, leading to whole person health. ACLM educates, equips, empowers and supports its members through quality, evidence- based education, certification and research to identify and eradicate the root cause of chronic disease, with a clinical outcome goal of health restoration as opposed to disease management.
SOURCE American College of Lifestyle Medicine