Lifestyle medicine residence program helps with new medical specialty
An article appearing in the July /August 2007 issue of Academic Physician & Scientist commends Loma Linda University for beginning the first graduate medical program in lifestyle medicine.
In the article by Amy Rothman Schonfeld, PhD, she notes that the term “lifestyle medicine” came into prominence from James Rippe’s 1999 book on lifestyle medicine.
In January 2005, John Kelly, MD, MPH, president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, met with Wayne Dysinger, MD, MPH, chair, department of preventive medicine in the School of Medicine.
“Loma Linda University has been an academic institution with a lot of faculty and students interested in a natural approach to health care,” Dr. Dysinger explains. “We had medical students asking for further training in lifestyle medicine and the patchwork arrangement we could offer them was unacceptable.”
The School of Medicine initiated a residency program in area. The first two residents began in July 2006, and four more began in July 2007.
“Despite the lack of publicity about the residency and few recruitment initiatives, the residency program has attracted many qualified applicants,” Dr. Dysinger says.
Upon graduation from the program, residents will be board-eligible in family medicine and preventive medicine, and will have earned a master’s degree in pubic health from Loma Linda University School of Public Health.
“We are working with the American College of Lifestyle Medicine so that our residents will be able to pass a certifying examination in lifestyle medicine when there is a certifying exam,” Dr. Dysinger notes. “I expect our residents to receive many job offers, especially from medical practices that focus on chronic disease and residential lifestyle medicine. We will have the graduates they are looking for.”
In addition to the residency program in lifestyle medicine, Loma Linda University School of Medicine introduced lifestyle medicine into the curriculum.
Recently students led a small lifestyle medicine group as part of the Coronary Health Improvement Program (CHIP).
CHIP is an educationally intensive lifestyle intervention program focusing on markedly reducing coronary risk factor levels through adopting better health habits and appropriate lifestyle changes.
Physicians certified in lifestyle medicine will have a combination of excellent primary care clinical skills necessary to treat individuals and the epidemiologic skills of public health professionals who treat populations or groups.
The lifestyle medicine specialist will not be expected to provide hands-on treatment, but will serve as the leader of a team of health care professionals to serve the patient, Dr. Kelly notes.
By Richard Weismeyer