American College of Lifestyle Medicine Health Equity Initiative…

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“We see this as a first of many steps in creating the opportunities, strategies and efforts to make health equity a reality.”

As part of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) mission to address lifestyle-related chronic disease health disparities through lifestyle medicine, and in recognition that achieving a diverse lifestyle medicine workforce is essential to that mission, the medical professional society’s Health Equity Achieved through Lifestyle Medicine (HEAL) Initiative today announced establishment of the HEAL Education Scholarship Program. The program will award underrepresented in medicine (URM) clinicians with need-based scholarships to assist applicants in meeting costs associated with attaining education and certification in lifestyle medicine.

The new scholarship program is the latest activity of the HEAL Initiative to address inequities across racial and ethnic groups laid bare by COVID-19–among them the need to cultivate a representative lifestyle medicine workforce. Underrepresentation of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in health professions has implications for the lifestyle-related chronic disease health disparities that disproportionately burden historically medically underserved populations. The HEAL Education Scholarship Program will advance health equity by increasing access to lifestyle medicine training and certification for underrepresented physicians and other clinicians, improving access to care and improving culturally competent health care.

“We began our HEAL Initiative even before the pandemic to address health disparities in lifestyle-related chronic disease,” said ACLM Past President Dexter Shurney, MD, MBA, MPH, FACLM, DipABLM, who was integral to the formation of the HEAL Initiative with his vision to make ACLM an active participant in the fight for health equity. “Now, more than ever before, we need to take real action and we are so honored to be able to support diversity in the training, certification and practice of lifestyle medicine in this way.”

The Program is comprised of two separate, distinct professional development scholarships:

Board Certification Exam and Preparation

In its inaugural year, the Program will support partial (50%) and full (100%) scholarships to cover American Board of Lifestyle Medicine (ABLM) and ACLM certification expenses, including the Lifestyle Medicine Board Review Course, in-person CME through LM2021 conference attendance, exam registration and certification fees and one year of ACLM membership. Recipients of the 2021 ABLM/ACLM Board Certification Exam and Preparation scholarship must test in the same year it is awarded.

Lifestyle Medicine Course Bundle

The Program also will support coverage of course enrollment costs for those who have interest in a bundle of two of ACLM’s latest continuing medical education or continuing education course offerings– Reversing Type 2 Diabetes and Insulin Resistance (18 CME/CE) and Physician and Health Professional Well-Being (5 CME/CE). Recipients of the course scholarship must use it in the same year it is awarded.

Funded through a grant from Ardmore Institute of Health and generous member donations, the HEAL Scholarship Program will be replenished through various funding streams so that it can be drawn upon for annual scholarships in perpetuity.

In its inaugural year, the Program will fund 10-20 education/certification scholarships and 15 course bundle scholarships. Deadline to apply is April 30, 2021, and applicants will be notified in June.

Applications are available here. To donate to the scholarship program,click here.

“We see this as a first of many steps in creating the opportunities, strategies and efforts to make health equity a reality,” said ACLM Board member and HEAL Initiative co-chair Marsha-Gail Davis, MD. “We believe lifestyle medicine holds a practical and powerful key to eliminating health disparities and through training and board certification of more physicians and clinicians, that power can be realized.”

ABOUT THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF LIFESTYLE MEDICINE: ACLM is the medical professional society for those dedicated to the advancement and clinical practice of Lifestyle Medicine as the foundation of a transformed and sustainable health care system. Lifestyle Medicine is the use of evidence-based lifestyle therapeutic intervention—including a whole-food, plant-predominant eating pattern, regular physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances, and positive social connection—as a primary modality, delivered by clinicians trained and certified in this specialty, to prevent, treat, and often reverse chronic disease.

More than a professional association, ACLM is a galvanized force for change. ACLM addresses the need for quality education and certification, supporting its members in their individual practices and in their collective mission to domestically and globally promote Lifestyle Medicine as the first treatment option, as opposed to a first option of treating symptoms and consequences with expensive, ever increasing quantities of pills and procedures. Learn more at http://www.lifestylemedicine.org.

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