Department of Social Medicine and Health Science Leadership, Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest, Lebanon, Oregon.
Introduced by the American College of Preventive Medicine and released by the American Medical Association House of Delegates in 2017, Resolution 959 (I-17) supports policies and mechanisms that incentivize and/or provide funding for the inclusion of lifestyle medicine education and social determinants of health in undergraduate, graduate and continuing medical education. Resolution 959 was passed to help address the current healthcare costs of lifestyle-related, noncommunicable chronic diseases that exert a devastating economic burden on the U.S. healthcare system. Approximately 86% of $2.9 trillion is spent annually on obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers, with very poor return on investment for health outcomes. Lifestyle medicine provides an evidence-based solution to the noncommunicable chronic disease epidemic; however, medical education in lifestyle medicine is minimal to nonexistent. This paper provides the case for healthcare innovation to include lifestyle medicine in the prevention and treatment of noncommunicable chronic diseases. Our medical education system recommendation is to provide lifestyle medicine training for prevention and treatment of noncommunicable chronic diseases. Exemplar lifestyle medicine schools are showcased and guidance for reform is highlighted that can be used to aid lifestyle medicine integration across the medical school education continuum. With a transformation of curriculum and development of new policies to support a focus on lifestyle medicine education in medical education across the continuum, a new healthcare model could be successful against noncommunicable chronic diseases and U.S. citizen wellness could become a reality.
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