Globally, there is an ongoing epidemic of noncommunicable diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, cancer and diabetes. These chronic diseases are currently the leading causes of morbidity and premature mortality, along with being responsible for the majority of healthcare expenditure. Additionally, chronic diseases impair quality of life and result in a great deal of pain and suffering. Scientific evidence published in peer-reviewed journals suggests that 80 percent of chronic diseases can be prevented, treated and often reversed by adopting healthy lifestyle measures like increased physical activity, healthy nutrition, managing stress, getting adequate good-quality sleep, maintaining healthy relationships and social connectedness, tobacco cessation, and avoiding use of risky substances. These behaviors form the core pillars of lifestyle medicine (LM), an emerging discipline in healthcare.
Lifestyle Medicine (LM) is defined as the “evidence-based practice of helping individuals and families adopt and sustain healthy behaviors that affect health and quality of life” (American College of Lifestyle Medicine). LM can effectively prevent, treat or even reverse many chronic diseases such as hypertension, heart diseases, diabetes, obesity, depression/anxiety and musculoskeletal conditions. Despite valid research findings supporting the benefits of LM, numerous healthcare providers, including physicians, remain unfamiliar with the usefulness of lifestyle medicine in the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases.
The Certificate in Lifestyle Medicine (CLM) is a 60-hour certificate program, administered by the Institute for Population Health at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, which will provide healthcare practitioners with lifestyle medicine education and competencies to aid in the evaluation, prevention and management of lifestyle-related chronic health conditions to reduce chronic disease morbidity and the suffering associated with it. Additionally, the course will enable healthcare practitioners to engage in dialogue and meaningful discussions with their patients about the potential for lifestyle medicine ultimately leading to improved overall quality of life and patient outcomes.
The course will be delivered by means of didactic lectures, small group interactive discussions, review of clinical cases, and distance online learning. There are two components to the course, which must be successfully completed to meet the course requirements in order to receive the Certificate in Lifestyle Medicine. The two components are a) attendance and participation in the live webinar 30-hour unit comprising lectures and interactive discussions, b) self-study/online 30-hour unit, which requires completing the Foundations of Lifestyle Medicine Board Review Course, an evidence-based course designed to provide an overview of essential elements of lifestyle medicine.
Identified Practice Gaps/Educational Needs
Despite valid research findings supporting the benefits of LM, numerous healthcare providers, including physicians, remain unfamiliar and/or skeptical about the usefulness of lifestyle medicine in the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases. Doctors and other health practitioners who utilize LM in their practice report benefits both for their patients and themselves. Additionally, studies have repeatedly confirmed that patient satisfaction with LM is very high. Gaps related to lifestyle medicine in healthcare are evident and must be addressed to improve patient care and overall patient outcomes.
Overall Learning Objectives
At the end of the course, participants will be able to:
- Discuss lifestyle medicine and its competencies.
- Examine the evidence of lifestyle medicine interventions in the prevention and management of chronic disease.
- Review relevant lifestyle medicine-specific topics such as clinical processes, emotional and mental wellbeing, nutrition science, physical activity, social relationships and connectedness, sleep hygiene, managing tobacco and other addictions, and behavior change.
- Summarize lifestyle medicine prescriptions for various chronic diseases.
This course is intended for healthcare professionals including physicians, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, allied health professionals, educators, researchers.
The course is open to all healthcare professionals and the content is not necessarily aimed at any specific healthcare professional group for example nutritionists, doctors etc. No single course can cover all the detailed aspects of lifestyle medicine. It is up to the learners to make sure that their education in lifestyle medicine is consistent with the current standards of care.
Institute for Population Health