Why I decided to become a diplomate of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine

My passion for lifestyle medicine started when I was looking for solutions to my own health ailments back in 2017.  I entertained the impossible idea that dairy milk could be one of the culprits to my health issues. The search for info on dairy led me to find the documentary “Forks Over Knives.” That documentary, the many others I watched after that, the hours and hours of my own research, and the surprising improvement in my health status lit a spark in me.   

As a certified Physician Assistant, I couldn’t believe this was information that I did not know, and I knew I needed to do my part to help my community and beyond learn how important lifestyle can be to treat the root causes of so many diseases.   After getting certified by the T. Colin Campbell’s Center for Nutrition Studies eCornell course, I remained hungry for information that I could use as a practicing PA-C.  Don’t get me wrong, Dr. Campbell’s course was great, and I highly recommend it, but what I found is the American College of Lifestyle Medicine provides so many tools and resources that make practicing as a medical professional and educating my patients about Lifestyle Medicine so much easier.  Instead of having to take the time to create handouts to give my patients, they already had a library of resources available to me that I knew were credible and scientifically based.  

When I learned that I could not just be a member but become a Certified Lifestyle Medicine Professional as a diplomate of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine I knew I had to do it.  I already had the CME hours needed from Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s course to sit for my board exam.  I signed up for the ACLM annual conference to earn the in-person hours, and I took their board review course to complete my prerequisites to sit for the exam.  (For those of you wondering, I highly recommend the board review course.)  

Since certifying in 2020, I now have the tools and education needed to help my patients, friends and family make meaningful, life lasting changes that will impact them in a much more profound way then conventional medicine.  Afterall, I became a PA-C to help people get better, not just manage their chronic diseases.   

The American College of Lifestyle Medicine focuses on the 6 pillars of health including a plant predominate diet, stress reduction, adequate sleep, social connectivity, exercise, as well as the avoidance of risky substances.  All are needed to live your life optimally.  Find out more about them at https://www.lifestylemedicine.org. 


Author: Alison Gerrish PA-C, Certified Lifestyle Medicine Professional