The roundtable is an initiative of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, a specialty in which Loma Linda University Health leads.
Loma Linda University Health’s longstanding commitment to promoting healthy lifestyle led to a special May announcement from the American College of Lifestyle Medicine: the college has named Loma Linda University one of two inaugural medical schools to serve as a founding member of the Lifestyle Medicine Corporate Roundtable. The other school is Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California.
"A formal relationship between leading academic institutions that are advancing the field of lifestyle medicine, and the college, makes perfect sense, and is in the interests of both — and the public at large,” says President David Katz, MD, MPH, of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.
“We are honored and delighted to welcome Loma Linda University and Western University of Health Sciences to our roundtable and are excited about the power of our collaborative efforts to help add years to lives, and life to years."
Faculty and alumni of Loma Linda University have been involved with the American College of Lifestyle Medicine from the beginning, according to Richard Hart, MD, DrPH, president of Loma Linda University Health.
“It is gratifying to see this important organization take this next step toward promoting lifestyle medicine as an integral part of medical education across the country,” Hart says. “In today’s world of population health initiatives, lifestyle medicine is finally being seen as one of the most strategic ways to impact our nation’s health.”
Since its inception in 1905, Loma Linda University Health has been on the leading edge of promoting lifestyle medicine and knowledge through education and clinical care. It started with the organization’s original sanitarium, where lifestyle interventions were an important part of whole person care, and with the university’s early educational programs.
Research would follow. Since 1958, Loma Linda University has conducted longitudinal studies on how lifestyle impacts health and mortality. The current phase, the Adventist Health Study-2, has been running since 2002 and follows 96,000 Seventh-day Adventists in the United States and Canada. Adventists make good subjects for lifestyle studies due in part to their unique dietary habits.
Back on the education front, Loma Linda University began formalizing its approach to teaching lifestyle medicine a number of years ago. In 2009, for example, the School of Public Health began a master of public health degree in lifestyle medicine — the first of its kind in the country (today it is called the MPH in lifestyle management).
In 2010, faculty members Joan Sabaté, MD, DrPH, and Wayne Dysinger, MD, served on a panel that developed a set of competencies for physicians prescribing lifestyle medicine. The competencies were published July 14, 2010, in The Journal of the American Medical Association and were backed by American College of Preventive Medicine.
Clinically, Loma Linda University Health’s approach to patient care is called whole person care, with wholeness defined as “Loved by God, Growing in Health, Living with Purpose in Community” — an approach to clinical care certainly involving lifestyle. A specific clinic at Loma Linda University Health that incorporates lifestyle is the Center for Health Promotion, dedicated to the prevention and early detection of disease.
Additionally, Loma Linda University Medical Center offers a medical residency in preventive medicine built around strengths in lifestyle medicine, global health and whole person care. Started in 1979, it is one of the oldest and largest residencies of its kind in the nation, and it trains residents to be experts in both patient care and population health, with lifestyle interventions being an important part of its toolkit.
These are just some of the ways that Loma Linda University Health advocates for lifestyle medicine as an integral part of health care.