From a News Release, June 20, 2016: The American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) has named Loma Linda University (LLU) one of two medical schools to be founding members of the Lifestyle Medicine Corporate Roundtable. The other school is Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California.
The Adventist health sciences university has been committed to promoting healthy lifestyle since its founding in 1905. Now it is being recognized as a leading institution in this specialty even before many people are aware that it is now a recognized specialty within the practice of medicine.
“A formal relationship between leading academic institutions that are advancing the field of lifestyle medicine and the ACLM, makes perfect sense and is in the interests of both, and the public at large,” stated Dr. David Katz, president of the professional body. “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 LLU have been involved with the ACLM from the beginning, according to Dr. Richard Hart, president of LLU. “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 said. “In today’s world of major health initiatives, lifestyle medicine is finally being seen as one of the most strategic ways to impact our nation’s health.”
From its beginning, LLU has been on the leading edge of promoting lifestyle medicine and knowledge through education and clinical care because of the Adventist doctrine that God cares about the physical reality of the human body and the human context. 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.
In the later half of the 20th century, scientific research became an important element in promoting health. Since 1958, LLU has conducted longitudinal studies on how lifestyle impacts health and mortality. The current phase of this research is the Adventist Health Study 2, which has been running since 2002. It is gathering regular data from 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.
In 2009, the university’s School of Public Health began a master of public health degree in lifestyle medicine which is the first of its kind in the country. It is now called the MPH in lifestyle management.
In 2010, faculty members Dr. Joan Sabaté and Dr. Wayne Dysinger 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 endorsed by the American College of Preventive Medicine.
LLU’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.” It is an approach to medical care highlighting lifestyle. LLU’s Center for Health Promotion is dedicated to the prevention and early detection of disease and focuses on lifestyle.
The LLU Medical Center offers a medical residency in preventive medicine built around the university’s 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 physicians to be specialists in both individual patient care and health initiatives for entire population segments, with lifestyle interventions an important part of its methods.
Ellen G. White, a cofounder of LLU and the Adventist denomination, wrote the book The Ministry of Healing at about the same time the university began. It emphasizes how health, both in terms of individual care and public health initiatives, is a central part of the mission of Jesus Christ in the world today. It advocates Christian discipleship that includes a healthy diet and good health habits.