ACLM, Blue Zones partnership to address ‘entire ecosystem of health’

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Key takeaways:

  • ACLM will offer Blue Zones training and certification in 2025.
  • ACLM is also launching the Center for Lifestyle Medicine Innovation, a hub for research on lifestyle medicine and community health.

The American College of Lifestyle Medicine announced a partnership with Blue Zones to offer medical education training and Blue Zones certification to physicians and other medical professionals, according to a press release.

“The partnership is the conjoining of two organizations that are at the forefront of transforming health care in the United States,” Susan Benigas, executive director of American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM), told Healio. “[ACLM is] equipping and empowering physicians and medical professionals to identify and eradicate the root cause of disease and transform medicine within health system walls, whereas Blue Zones is focused on longevity research and community-based solutions at the population level. Bringing the two organizations together is really addressing the entire ecosystem of health.”

Susan Benigas

ACLM’s focus on lifestyle medicine combined with Blue Zones’ research into the longest lived communities on Earth is poised to address the prevalence and impact of chronic diseases worldwide. More than 60% of adults in the U.S. have been diagnosed with at least one chronic disease, according to the press release, and 80% of premature deaths worldwide can be attributed to CVD, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes.

Clinicians certified by the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine (a certification body for physicians) and the ACLM (a certification body for eligible nonphysicians) will have access to the 6-hour Blue Zones training, which will be available next year. Health care workers outside the U.S. who are certified by the International Board of Lifestyle Medicine will also be eligible for Blue Zones certification. Those who are interested can register on the ACLM’s website.

“There will be reinforcement of what these lifestyle medicine-trained and certified clinicians have already learned,” Benigas said. “But Blue Zones brings more of a community health population lens to this, and the training will equip these medical professionals to be catalysts of change in their own communities.”

Along with the certification training, ACLM is establishing a Center for Lifestyle Medicine Innovation, which will merge the Blue Zones Wellbeing Institute with the ACLM’s departments of practice advancement, research and innovation to provide updates on research about lifestyle medicine and community health.

Photo of Dexter Shurney

Dexter Shurney

“Creating optimal health is not one dimensional,” Dexter Shurney, MD, MBA, MPH, FACLM, DipABLM, Blue Zones chief medical officer, Center for Lifestyle Medicine Innovation president and former ACLM president, told Healio. “Blue Zones certification improves patient care by helping clinicians and patients identify and connect with innovative community health and well-being strategies, creating a more comprehensive approach of care. Moreover, certification results in a better understanding of a key population health quality metric: well-being. Improving well-being has been shown to significantly improve patient outcomes beyond what is achievable from traditional medical services alone.”


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