Dr. Sears Wellness Institute (DSWI) recently attended the 2023 Lifestyle Medicine Conference, which was hosted by the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) in Denver, Colo. The conference, which is attended by physicians and other clinicians, medical residents, healthcare executives, academic faculty and researchers, offered DSWI an opportunity to network with like-minded individuals and organizations that recognize the common goals we all pursue.
The four tracks of sessions and continuing education opportunities focused on (1) Allied Health Professionals, (2) The Business of Lifestyle Medicine, (3) The Science of Lifestyle Medicine and (4) The “How-to” of Lifestyle Medicine. Cedric X. Bryant, PhD, ACE President and Chief Science Officer, moderated a discussion on the relationship between lifestyle factors and military readiness entitled “Physical Activity and the Health of a Nation – A National Challenge and Collective Response.”
In addition, this event announced DSWI’s and ACE’s involvement in the National Lifestyle Medicine Training Initiative (NTI), as well as a three-year collaboration between DSWI and ACLM that focuses on the intersections of behavior change, chronic disease and health equity.
According to Dr. Bryant, “The partnership between ACE and ACLM represents a strategic alignment of like-minded organizations representing complementary disciplines, aimed at enhancing the overall health and well-being of all individuals regardless of age, sex, race and socioeconomic status by integrating fitness, behavior change and lifestyle medicine principles.”
What is the National Lifestyle Medicine Training Initiative (NTI)?
The goal of the NTI is to train and certify at least one physician/clinician in lifestyle medicine within each of the approximately 1,400 federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) across the U.S. The initiative, part of ACLM’s commitment to the 2022 White House Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, aims to expand access to lifestyle medicine and behavior-change support in under-resourced communities as one major step toward making lifestyle medicine accessible to all. ACE is the first impact partner of the NTI, which will train medical professionals on the basics of lifestyle behavior change and equip them to address lifestyle-related chronic disease health disparities. The objective is to ensure that all communities, especially those with individuals most at risk of or living with chronic conditions, have access to evidence-based, whole-person, cost-effective care.
In addition, ACE will be providing full scholarships for six-week health coach training and certification programs provided by the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute’s (DSWI), a part of ACE’s Wellness Division, to others (e.g., nurses, certified nursing assistants) working in FQHCs. These certification programs specialize in addressing lifestyle-behavior issues related to families, adults and seniors, and pregnancy.
What This Means for ACE and DSWI Certified Health Coaches
While health coaches may not recognize that they in fact work in the lifestyle medicine field, they often support clients in pursuing some or all of the six pillars of lifestyle medicine: whole food, plant-predominant nutrition; physical activity; stress management; avoidance of risky substances; restorative sleep; and social connections.
The ACE/ACLM partnership helps lend additional creditability to the field of health coaching, as it offers an enhanced recognition of behavior-change professionals and the value of the skill set they bring to the table. In addition, it offers health and wellness coaches an opportunity to add to that skill set and expand their impact.
“Overall, this partnership can significantly enrich the professional development of ACE and DSWI Certified Professionals,” says Dr. Bryant, “enhancing their knowledge and skills to better serve their clients and offer them additional career opportunities in the health, fitness and wellness industries.”