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  JULY 16, 2010
LATEST FROM SCHOOLS OF PUBLIC HEALTH
Loma Linda Faculty Help Develop Lifestyle Medicine Competencies

Two faculty members from Loma Linda University School of Public Health were on a panel that developed a set of competencies for physicians prescribing lifestyle medicine. The competences were published Wednesday, July 14 in the Journal of the American Medical Association and are backed by American College of Preventive Medicine.

Serving on the 15-member panel were Dr. Joan Sabaté, chair of the nutrition department, and Dr. Wayne Dysinger, assistant professor of health policy and management, as well as associate professor of preventive medicine in the School of Medicine.

The panel defines lifestyle medicine as the “evidence-based practice of assisting individuals and families to adopt and sustain healthy behaviors that can improve health and quality of life.” The panel undertook this initiative to begin to address an identified gap in physician practice. While the evidence clearly shows lifestyle interventions and behavior change to be the most effective first-line of therapy for reducing chronic disease, the majority of physicians are not following these guidelines, citing lack of knowledge, skill, or confidence in counseling patients about lifestyle interventions.

Throughout its history, Loma Linda University has taught the importance of a healthy lifestyle. In 2009, the School of Public Health started a new MPH in lifestyle medicine.

Additionally, the School of Public Health offers an annual conference called Healthy People on the topic of lifestyle and chronic disease. Information about the 2011 conference will be posted at www.healthypeopleconference.org as it becomes available.

In addition to Drs. Dysinger and Sabaté, two alumni from Loma Linda University School of Medicine were also on the panel—Drs. Rebekah Wang and Mark Johnson.