Shane Kinkennon by Shane Kinkennon

My enthusiasm was really triggered during a meeting here at ACE this morning on a topic that wakes me up every time. It was to review a sketch of a plan to work more closely with our friends at the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM).  ACLM is a medical professional society for healthcare providers who are committed to changing healthcare by making lifestyle medicine pervasive in clinical practice. Lifestyle medicine is an approach used by doctors, nurses, and other providers to help patients replace unhealthy behaviors with positive ones – eating right, becoming more physically active, reducing stress, and the like. Evidence overwhelmingly supports its efficacy. The doctors and other clinicians who are most enthusiastic about the capacity of lifestyle medicine to prevent, treat, and reverse chronic disease are at ACLM’s core.

ACLM was drawn to ACE in part because of our ACE Health Coach Certification, which is the only one accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and is the predominant third-party accreditor of allied-health professions. The other part is because we’re committed to one day equipping all ACE Certified Professionals® with evidence-based behavior-change coaching practices. Oh, and they love my colleague Dr. Cedric Bryant who’s been an ally of lifestyle-medicine practitioners for some time.

We love ACLM because it’s the organization that gathers the clinicians who are champions of lifestyle medicine. If clinicians are to one day routinely refer patients to physical activity-based behavior-change programs in the community, ACLM are the people to lead the way.

This isn’t an idea dreamed up by ACE – experts agree that people must be better equipped to help themselves fend off disease. The Trust for America’s Health has said no-cost obesity-related prevention services are essential. In its 2018 white paper, the Prescription for Activity Task Force called for an integral link between clinical practice and trusted community-based resources to deliver physical-activity programming. (In the spirit of transparency, that task force was underwritten by ACE.) Exercise Is Medicine has argued for years for physician referral to exercise resources and invested in infrastructure to bring it to life. And there are more.

So, with our friends at ACLM, our hope is that in the years to come we’ll work together to help lifestyle medicine practitioners imagine sending patients to trusted resources in the community to gain assistance in becoming more physically active, through evidence-based programs. And to imagine themselves one day routinely tracking, assessing, and reporting patient physical-activity levels, after demanding the right systems and structures to make that possible.

Through this work with ACLM, we hope that many more ACE Certified Professionals will imagine themselves one day working very closely with lifestyle medicine practitioners in their community who, by definition, will most naturally understand how properly credentialed physical-activity and behavior-change experts beyond clinic walls can help their patients adopt and sustain more positive lifestyle behaviors.