American College of Lifestyle Medicine's Rapidly Growing Health Systems Council Reaches 65 Founding Members in First Year

More and more large health systems are interested in integrating lifestyle medicine into their organizations to enhance health and improve high-value care.

The American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) today announced that 65 health systems have joined its Health Systems Council (HSC) as founding members. The council was launched in May 2021 to support the pioneering trend of implementing lifestyle medicine into some of the largest and most innovative health organizations in the United States. 

Together, the HSC 65 founding member health systems will lead the transition to high-value care through the integration of evidence-based lifestyle medicine into the creation of lifestyle medicine programs and centers, employee wellness and expanded research into the therapeutic impacts of lifestyle medicine.

"The exceptional growth of the Health Systems Council in the one year since its inception demonstrates the recognition by a diverse constellation of health systems in the U.S. that the current model of healthcare delivery is neither effective nor sustainable," said HSC Advisory Board member and ACLM Past-President Dexter Shurney, MD, MBA, MPH, FACLM, DipABLM. "Already in this growing community the exchange of ideas, strategies and best practices for the implementation of innovative, scalable and successful lifestyle medicine programs has helped HSC member health systems identify practical solutions to many common barriers. I am excited to see the HSC continue to evolve as we bring more health systems to the table in the second year."

Lifestyle medicine is a medical specialty that uses therapeutic lifestyle interventions as a primary modality to treat chronic conditions including, but not limited to, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Lifestyle medicine-certified clinicians are trained to apply evidence-based, whole-person, prescriptive lifestyle change to treat and, when used intensively, often reverse such conditions. Applying the six pillars of lifestyle medicine—a whole-food, plant-predominant eating pattern, physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances and positive social connections—also provides effective prevention for these conditions.

Lifestyle medicine can address up to 80% of chronic diseases. A lifestyle medicine approach to population care has the potential to arrest the decades-long rise in the prevalence of chronic conditions and their burdensome costs. Patient and provider satisfaction often result from a lifestyle medicine approach, which strongly aligns the field with the Quintuple Aim of better health outcomes, lower cost, improved patient satisfaction, improved provider well-being, and advancement of health equity, in addition to its alignment with planetary health.

"Knowing we've had to pave our own paths forward and enter uncharted territory many times, we have enjoyed sharing our experience and lessons learned with others, as well as learn from those who may be further down the path than we are in particular areas," said Marcy Madrid, Vice President, Community Health at Midland Health. 

HSC membership also provides health systems access to the newest lifestyle medicine research literature, assistance identifying grant funding opportunities, advances in evidence-based lifestyle medicine education and training, networking opportunities and more. Health systems of various sizes and stages of integration come together in a collaborative learning community of practice to improve health outcomes using lifestyle-based interventions as a primary modality.

While lifestyle medicine is not new, large-scale implementation of these evidence-based modalities into health systems is one of the greatest pioneering initiatives in the health care industry today and presents a number of learning opportunities and challenges. The council provides a platform for health systems to exchange state-of-the-art practices and resources, identify pragmatic solutions to common barriers, and accelerate the integration and implementation of lifestyle medicine therapeutic modalities within their organizations and their communities.

"Lifestyle medicine is foundational to our organization's vision to make health simple, affordable, equitable and exceptional," said Kristi Artz, MD, DipABLM, Medical Director, Spectrum Health Lifestyle Medicine and HSC Advisory Board member.

Council participants do not need to be ACLM members but, to be eligible, health systems must include at least one hospital and at least one group of physicians providing comprehensive care, and who are connected with each other and with the hospital through common ownership or joint management. They can apply to join by reviewing the Health Systems Council Brochure, which contains a link to the Health Systems Council Interest Form. It is free to join the HSC.

Founding member health systems:

  • AdventHealth
  • Adventist Health
  • Appalachian Regional Healthcare
  • Atrium Health
  • Banner Health Wyoming Medical Center
  • Barnes Jewish Hospital / WashU Living Well Center
  • Baylor Scott & White Health
  • Bellin Health
  • Box Butte General Hospital
  • Children's Hospital at Montefiore
  • Cone Health
  • ECU Health
  • Emory Healthcare
  • Eskenazi Health
  • Henry Ford Health System
  • Hospital for Special Surgery
  • Houston Methodist
  • Inova Health System
  • Intermountain Healthcare
  • Jackson Health System
  • Kaiser Permanente Northern California
  • Kaiser Permanente Southern California
  • Lakeland Regional Health
  • Lifespan Health System
  • Loma Linda University Medical Center
  • Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital
  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Mayo Clinic
  • MedStar Health
  • Memorial Health System
  • Middlesex Health
  • Midland Health
  • Monument Health
  • Mount Sinai Health System
  • MultiCare Health System
  • MyMichigan Health
  • North Mississippi Health Services
  • Novant Health
  • NYC Health + Hospitals
  • Oregon Health & Sciences University
  • Orlando Health
  • Owensboro Health
  • Prisma Health
  • ProMedica
  • Providence
  • Renown Health
  • Rochester Regional Health
  • Rush University System for Health
  • Saint Francis Health System
  • Sharp HealthCare
  • Spectrum Health
  • St. Dominic's Health Services
  • St. John's Episcopal Hospital
  • St. John's Health
  • St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor
  • St. Luke's Health System
  • St. Luke's University Health Network
  • UCF Health
  • UConn Health
  • University of California San Diego Health
  • University of Mississippi Medical Center
  • University of Toledo Medical Center
  • University of Utah Health
  • UPMC Health
  • WellSpan Health

About ACLM

The American College of Lifestyle Medicine is the nation's medical professional society advancing lifestyle medicine as the foundation for a redesigned, value-based and equitable healthcare delivery system, leading to whole person health. ACLM educates, equips, empowers and supports its members through quality, evidence-based education, certification and research to identify and eradicate the root cause of chronic disease, with a clinical outcome goal of health restoration as opposed to disease management. 

Source: American College of Lifestyle Medicine