New CME Course: Physician and Health Professional Well-Being from American College of Lifestyle Medicine

The American College of Lifestyle Medicine announced a new CME- and CE-accredited five-hour course, “Physician and Health Professional Well-Being,” designed to support health professionals in achieving and sustaining a total healthy lifestyle and engaging in mindfulness and positive psychology activities. The self-care approaches as discussed in the course, in combination with system changes that support a culture of well-being in the health care workplace, can help individuals stay physically and emotionally healthy and prevent burnout.

The new course is designed for physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, pharmacists, registered dietitians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, social workers and others.

This course, spearheaded by faculty lead Liana Lianov, MD, MPH, FACLM, FACPM, DipABLM, offers exercises to harness personal strengths and leadership skills for improving workplace culture and systems and to engage in effective, positive health care team and patient interactions. Learners will also conduct a well-being assessment and develop a personal action plan.

Formerly ACLM’s president, Lianov is chair of the organization’s Happiness Science and Positive Health Committee. She also is president of the Positive Health and Wellness Division of the International Positive Psychology Association and vice chair of the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine. She led ACLM’s inaugural Summit on Happiness Science in Health Care held in 2018 in partnership with Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin and was editor of the recently released groundbreaking book, Roots of Positive Change: Optimizing Health Care with Positive Psychology.

“To clarify, our new course is not for individuals who are already experiencing symptoms of burnout, such as emotional exhaustion, depersonalization or a significant decrease in sense of accomplishment,” said ACLM President Dexter Shurney, MD, MBA, MPH, FACLM, DipABLM. “Rather, our course promotes thriving and flourishing in the face of adversity and preventing symptoms of burnout before they occur. This course encourages and provides ideas for modeling and leading a culture of well-being in the workplace.”

Researchers at George Mason University found that 31.6% of primary care physicians were reporting burnout, predicted to increase as a result of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, with burnout also impacting all members of the clinical practice team.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe and apply approaches that support physicians and other health professionals in achieving and sustaining a comprehensive healthy lifestyle, including eating a whole food plant based diet, being physically active, and engaging in positive psychology activities.
  • Apply positive psychology activities for emotional well- being and physical health and to support healthy behaviors.
  • Conduct a brief flourishing assessment and develop a personal well-being action plan.
  • Implement at least one strategy for influencing health care workplace culture to support well-being of health teams.

“One of the reasons membership in the American College of Lifestyle Medicine has grown more than 700 percent in the past five years alone is that providers who practice Lifestyle Medicine are able to specialize in health restoration, as opposed to disease management as the outcome goal,” said ACLM Executive Director Susan Benigas. “Restoring health in their patients is what reignites their passion for why they went into the field of medicine—to become true healers. Lifestyle Medicine is a powerful antidote to prevent provider burnout, and ACLM’s new online provider well-being course is, I guess you could say, just what the doctor ordered!”

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