American Board of Lifestyle Medicine Approves Weill Cornell Medicine—Qatar as First School Enabling Graduates Direct Admittance to Lifestyle Medicine Certification Exam

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Weill Cornell Medicine—Qatar is the first medical school approved for a new program that would allow graduates of qualifying medical schools direct admittance to the professional certification exam in Lifestyle Medicine upon completion of their training.

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"If we’re going to decrease the chronic disease pandemic, we must train physicians better in nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress management and behavior change."

The American Board of Lifestyle Medicine (ABLM) and the International Board of Lifestyle Medicine (IBLM) today announced that Weill Cornell Medicine—Qatar is the first medical school approved for a new program that would allow graduates of qualifying medical schools direct admittance to the professional certification exam in lifestyle medicine upon completion of their training.

In the new program, graduates of medical schools certified by the ABLM are not required to submit currently required continuing medical education hours. Instead, the certified medical school documents that its trainees have received comprehensive educational exposure to the core lifestyle medicine knowledge categories.

Students who complete professional lifestyle medicine certification during medical school and receive the professional lifestyle medicine certification will be eligible to upgrade to physician certification upon submission of documentation of board certification through any of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) approved specialties. Submission of a case study will also be required.

Eligible medical schools include any accredited by the Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME) or by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA), or a school whose program meets the graduation requirements of the accredited school from which it confers its medical degree. Weill Cornell Medicine -Qatar confers the Cornell University MD degree. The school meets all requirements established by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) and is listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools.

After an eligible medical school submits required documentation and receives full ABLM/IBLM board approval, a formal certificate of qualification is provided to the medical school. Approval lasts for a four-year increment.

“ABLM and IBLM recognize that if we’re going to decrease the chronic disease pandemic, we must train physicians better around the foundational science of nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress management and health behavior change,” said Wayne Dysinger, MD, MPH, FACLM, chair of ABLM and IBLM. “This certification documents medical schools that are committed to doing that. We are especially proud that Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar is the first medical school in the world to do this. Its program serves as a model for other medical schools who desire to provide this benefit to their graduates.”

Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) was established on April 9, 2001, when Cornell University signed an agreement with the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development to bring a branch of its medical school to Education City, Qatar, near the capital of Doha. The medical college maintains the same standards for admission and education as Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City. It offers the six-year program in pre-medical and medical education leading to the M.D. degree, which is granted by Cornell University upon completion of all graduation requirements. The medical college’s clinical affiliates are the Hamad Medical Corporation's General Hospital and Women's Hospital, Sidra Medicine, Primary Health Care Corporation centers, and Aspetar, Orthopedic and Sports Medicine hospital. Students also pursue sub-internship and elective opportunities at New York Presbyterian/ Weill Cornell Medical Center.

The school provides a four-week, 90-hour elective lifestyle medicine course available to senior medical students. The course provides the knowledge and skills required in the prevention and treatment of lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Sponsor for the course is the Institute for Population Health at WCM-Q. Course directors are Sohaila Cheema, MBBS, MPH, Dip IBLM, and Ravinder Mamtani, MD, FACPM, FACOEM, Dip ABLM.

In a joint statement, Cheema and Mamtani emphasized the importance of lifestyle medicine curriculum in medical education. “Healthy lifestyles can reduce premature mortality, promote health and even reverse chronic diseases. Developing and implementing lifestyle medicine education programs can prepare medical students and professionals to better evaluate and manage patients with chronic diseases. We at Cornell are delighted to partner with ABLM/IBLM on this board certification opportunity available to our graduates.”

Lifestyle medicine is defined by the American College of Lifestyle Medicine as the use of evidence-based lifestyle therapeutic approaches, such as a predominantly whole food, plant-based diet, regular physical activity, adequate sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substance use and pursuing other non-drug modalities to treat, reverse and prevent lifestyle-related, chronic disease. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include hypertension, heart diseases, diabetes, obesity, depression/anxiety and cancer. The lifestyle medicine physician has been recognized as one of the fastest career areas in medicine today. Around the word, there is a growing network of lifestyle medicine professional associations.

ABLM/IBLM and ACLM have offered certification in lifestyle medicine in the U.S. and globally since 2017. To date 423 physicians are now board-certified in lifestyle medicine, with 136 PhD/master’s level clinicians and bachelors-level nurses professionally certified. The next U.S. board exam will take place Oct. 31, 2019, in Orlando, FL, following the 2019 American College of Lifestyle Medicine Conference.

ABOUT THE AMERICAN BOARD OF LIFESTYLE MEDICINE: The ABLM was formed in November, 2015, in Nashville, TN, by a group of visionary physicians who saw the need to: educate physicians and allied health professionals about lifestyle medicine; set a common standard/language for lifestyle medicine protocols globally; differentiate between evidence-based lifestyle medicine professionals and non-evidence based lifestyle medicine practitioners; set a global lifestyle medicine benchmark; and attract health insurance funding for evidence-based lifestyle medicine by requiring that any fund receivers be formally certified. Learn more at

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Jean Tips
American College of Lifestyle Medicine
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