Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Awards Recipients
The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes accomplishments in the field of lifestyle medicine and is the highest honor bestowed on a healthcare pioneer. This award recognizes a significant body of work over a significant span of time that has advanced the study of lifestyle medicine.
A self-professed “junk food junkie” until age 15, LaLanne was in such poor health as a child that he stopped attending school for six months. After witnessing a life-changing health lecture by Paul Bragg in 1929, LaLanne resolved to change his lifestyle and joined the local YMCA, where he took up wrestling and eventually became an AAU champion. He also discovered weightlifting and, in 1936, opened the first modern health club, “The Jack LaLanne Physical Culture Studio.” He later earned a chiropractic degree, though he never used it.
LaLanne advocated for exercise and nutrition at a time when modern home conveniences, such as TV ownership, made Americans increasingly less likely to engage in physical activity or care about the food they ate. He and Elaine countered this trend by developing a popular television exercise program, “The Jack LaLanne Show” that aired fitness programing directly to families in their homes for 34 years. One of LaLanne’s favorite sayings was “Exercise is King, Nutrition is Queen, put them together and you have a kingdom.”
LaLanne is credited with creating prototypes of popular exercise equipment, including the weight selector, wall pulley, leg extension, resistance band and squat machine, now known as the Smith Machine, still found in gyms across the world today. He also created the first protein drink, “Instant Breakfast,” and protein bars.
“If Jack were alive today, he would be humbled, honored and grateful, as I am, for the prestigious ACLM Lifetime Achievement Award,” Elaine LaLanne said. “Throughout our almost 60 years together, he repeatedly said ‘All I want to do is help people to help themselves.’ The principles that ACLM advocates were his lifestyle; he lived it, breathed it, and taught it.
“In fact, he helped me change from a smoking, junk food junkie, to a 96 year old who is still here and lived a healthy, happy life,” she said. “My family and I are deeply moved at this recognition of lifetime achievement by ACLM.”
Dr. Cooper has advocated for exercise as medicine nationally and internationally for more than five decades. Early in his career, the Oklahoma City native produced the scientific evidence to overcome resistance from many in the medical community about his views on the powerful impact of exercise on health outcomes. He believed in the early adoption of healthy lifestyle behaviors; his philosophy has been “It is easier to maintain good health through proper exercise, diet and emotional balance than to regain it once it is lost.”
Two years after the publication of Aerobics, Dr. Cooper founded The Cooper Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting lifelong health and wellness through research, education and advocacy. In 1989, The Journal of the American Medical Association published The Cooper Institute’s landmark study showing that being physically fit substantially decreased the risk for all-cause mortality. Dr. Cooper is passionate about reversing the childhood obesity epidemic and was instrumental in the State of Texas passing Senate Bill 530, a law requiring enhanced physical education levels and testing in schools. Since 1970, Dr. Cooper is founder and chairman of Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas ̶ home of his six health and wellness companies and The Cooper Institute ̶ where his son Tyler Cooper, MD, MPH, serves as President and CEO.
Dr. Cooper also has collaborated with major food corporations like PepsiCo to eliminate trans fats in foods in snack products, a trend other companies have followed worldwide.
“I’m honored to receive this lifetime achievement award alongside my friend Elaine LaLanne,” Dr. Cooper said. “The late Jack LaLanne and I both shared a passion for physical fitness and longevity and tried to set the example for people to follow. My goal is to live as long as Jack did, to 96 years of age. That’s why in my 91st year, I’m still working and enjoying life to the fullest.
“If people follow our guidelines, you can ‘square off the curve’ ̶ live a long, healthy life to the fullest, then die suddenly,” he said. “If that happens to me, I would say ‘Praise the Lord; it’s been a wonderful life and I have no regrets.’”
2018 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
John A. McDougall, MD has been studying, writing, and speaking out about the effects of nutrition on disease for over 50 years. A graduate of Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine, Dr. McDougall performed his internship at Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, and his medical residency at the University of Hawaii. He is certified as an internist by the Board of Internal Medicine and the National Board of Medical Examiners. He and his wife, Mary, are also the authors of several nationally best-selling books as well as the co-founders of Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods, which produces high quality vegetarian cuisine to make it easier for people to eat well on the go
Dr. McDougall is the founder and director of the nationally renowned McDougall Program: a ten-day residential program that he and Mary host in Santa Rosa, CA where medical miracles occur through diet and lifestyle changes. He has cared for thousands of patients for five decades. His program not only promotes a broad range of dramatic and lasting health benefits but, most importantly, can also reverse serious illnesses including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and others, all without the use of drugs.
2017 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
For decades T. Colin Campbell, PhD has been at the forefront of nutrition education and research. Dr. Campbell’s expertise and scientific interests encompass relationships between diet and disease, particularly the causation of cancer. His legacy, the China Project, is one of the most comprehensive studies of health and nutrition ever conducted. The New York Times has recognized the study as the “Grand Prix of epidemiology”.
Dr. Campbell is the coauthor of the bestselling book The China Study: Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health, and author of the New York Times bestseller Whole, and The Low-Carb Fraud. He is featured in several documentaries including: the blockbuster Forks Over Knives, Eating You Alive, Food Matters, Plant Pure Nation and others. He is the founder of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and the online Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate in partnership with eCornell.
Dr. Campbell has conducted original research both in laboratory experiments and in large-scale human studies; received over 70 grant-years of peer-reviewed research funding (mostly with NIH), served on grant review panels of multiple funding agencies, actively participated in the development of national and international nutrition policy, authored over 300 research papers and given hundreds of lectures around the world.
He was trained at Cornell University (M.S., Ph.D.) and MIT (Research Associate) in nutrition, biochemistry and toxicology. Dr. Campbell spent 10 years on the faculty of Virginia Tech’s Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition before returning to Cornell in 1975 where he presently holds his Endowed Chair as the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry in the Division of Nutritional Sciences.
2016 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
Dr. Esselstyn received his BA from Yale University and his MD from Case Western Reserve University. In 1956, pulling the No. 6 oar as a member of the victorious United States rowing team, he was awarded a gold medal at the Olympic Games. He was trained as a surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic and at St. George’s Hospital in London. In 1968, as an Army surgeon in Vietnam, he was awarded the Bronze Star.
During his association with the Cleveland Clinic, which began in 1968, Dr. Esselstyn served as president of the Staff and as a member of the Board of Governors. He chaired the Clinic’s Breast Cancer Task Force and headed its Section of Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgery.
In 1991, Dr. Esselstyn served as president of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, That same year he organized the first National Conference on the Elimination of Coronary Artery Disease. In 1997, he chaired a follow-up conference, the Summit on Cholesterol and Coronary Disease, which brought together more than 500 physicians and health-care workers. In April, 2005, Dr. Esselstyn became the first recipient of the Benjamin Spock Award for Compassion in Medicine. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Cleveland Clinic Alumni Association in 2009. In September 2010, he received the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame Award. Dr. Esselstyn received the 2013 Deerfield Academy Alumni Association Heritage Award In Recognition of Outstanding Achievement & Service, and the 2013 Yale University GEORGE H.W. BUSH ’48 LIFETIME OF LEADERSHIP AWARD. He’s also the recipient of the 2015 Plantrician Project Luminary Award.
His scientific publications number over 150, “The Best Doctors in America” 1994-1995 published by Woodward and White cites Dr. Esselstyn’s surgical expertise in the categories of endocrine and breast disease. In 1995, he published his bench mark long-term nutritional research arresting and reversing coronary artery disease in severely ill patients. That same study was updated at 12 years and reviewed beyond twenty years in his book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, making it one of the longest longitudinal studies of its type. Dr. Esselstyn and his wife, Ann Crile Esselstyn, have followed a plant-based diet for more than 26 years. Dr. Esselstyn presently directs the cardiovascular prevention and reversal program at The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute and serves on the Board of Directors of The Plantrician Project. The Esselstyns have four children and 10 grandchildren.
2015 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
The founder and president of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute, Dr. Ornish is Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. He received his MD from the Baylor College of Medicine, was a clinical fellow in medicine at Harvard Medical School, and completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Dean earned a BA in Humanities summa cum laude from the University of Texas in Austin, where he gave the baccalaureate address.
For over 36 years, Dr. Ornish has directed clinical research demonstrating, for the first time, that comprehensive lifestyle changes may begin to reverse even severe coronary heart disease, without drugs or surgery. Recently, Medicare agreed to provide coverage for this program, the first time that Medicare has covered a program of comprehensive lifestyle changes. He directed the first randomized controlled trial demonstrating that comprehensive lifestyle changes may stop or reverse the progression of early-stage prostate cancer. His current research showed that comprehensive lifestyle changes affect gene expression, “turning on” disease-preventing genes and “turning off” genes that promote cancer and heart disease, as well as the first study showing that these lifestyle changes reverse aging by lengthening telomeres, the ends of our chromosomes which control aging (in collaboration with Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2009).
He is the author of six books, all national bestsellers, including: Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease; Eat More, Weigh Less; Love & Survival; and his most recent book, The Spectrum.
Distinguished Lifestyle Medicine Trailblazer Award Recipients
The Lifestyle Medicine Trailblazer recognizes an individual who is currently providing leadership in the field of lifestyle medicine, helping strengthen the foundation laid by others, while advancing it through innovation.
Dr Rippe, is founder and director of Rippe Lifestyle Medicine, a professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School and founder and editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine.
Dr. Rippe is regarded as a leading authority on preventive cardiology, health and fitness, and a pioneer of the fitness walking movement. He graduated cum laude from Harvard College and Harvard Medical School. He founded and directs both the Rippe Lifestyle Institute in Shrewsbury, Mass., and the Rippe Health Assessment at Florida Hospital Celebration Health in Celebration, Fla. The Rippe Lifestyle Institute promotes health and disease prevention research and communication. The Rippe Health Assessment provides comprehensive health evaluations for high-performance individuals.
Rippe’s main goal is empowering people to take charge of their own health through simple lifestyle changes. His numerous books include Fit Over Forty, The Healthy Heart for Dummies, and The Healthy Heart Cookbook for Dummies. He has frequently appeared on television shows such as Today, Good Morning America, and PBS’s Body Watch and has served as a health and fitness consultant for the Television Food Network. The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal have featured his work.
Rippe, an enthusiastic athlete, holds a black belt in karate. He jogs, skis, and windsurfs regularly.
Liana Lianov, MD, MPH, FACLM, FACPM, DipABLM
President, Global Positive Health Institute
As an innovative global leader in lifestyle medicine, Liana Lianov, MD, MPH, FACLM, FACPM, DipABLM has advanced the movement for integrating positive psychology into health care. She led the development of the original lifestyle medicine core competencies for physicians and health professionals, which have recently been expanded to include positive psychology-based knowledge and skills. She serves as the chair of the Happiness Science and Positive Health Committee of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM), lead faculty for the ACLM Physician and Health Professional Wellbeing Program, and vice-chair of the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine.
Dr. Lianov is the immediate past president of the Positive Health and Wellbeing Division of the International Positive Psychology Association, A few of her notable past roles include president of the ACLM, director for the Healthy Lifestyles Division of the American Medical Association and board regent for the American College of Preventive Medicine. She also directed programs in heart disease, stroke and cancer prevention at the California Department of Health Services.
In 2018, Dr. Lianov convened the inaugural Summit on Happiness Science in Health Care cosponsored by the ACLM and Dell Medical School, which led to scholarly publications and a groundbreaking book on how to integrate happiness science into medical practice, Roots of Positive Change, Optimizing Health Care with Positive Psychology. To further this mission, she founded the Global Positive Health Institute that provides positive psychology education and practical tools for health professionals to use in their clinical practices and support their personal well-being.
2018 Trailblazer Award Recipient
Dr. Dysinger currently serves as Chief Executive Officer for Lifestyle Medicine Solutions, a new model primary care concept that is built on Lifestyle Medicine principles along with a direct primary care funding mechanism. He is also Medical Director of the Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP) and consults and teaches on Lifestyle Medicine issues around the world. Dr. Dysinger was previously Chair, Department of Preventive Medicine, Loma Linda University. He is a past President of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, is on the board of the American College of Preventive Medicine, and has worked in various capacities with the American Medical Association and the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research. Dr. Dysinger earned his M.D. degree from Loma Linda University School of Medicine (1986), and his MPH from Loma Linda University School of Public Health (1990). He has previously worked in Guam, Atlanta and Dartmouth.
2017 Trailblazer Award Recipient
As a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues, Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, among countless other symposia and institutions. He testified before Congress; has appeared on shows such as The Colbert Report and The Dr. Oz Show; and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous “meat defamation” trial. In 2017, he was honored with the ACLM Lifestyle Medicine Trailblazer Award.
Dr. Greger’s most recent scientific publications in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Critical Reviews in Microbiology, Family and Community Health, and the International Journal of Food Safety, Nutrition, and Public Health explore the public health implications of industrialized animal agriculture.
Dr. Greger is also licensed as a general practitioner specializing in clinical nutrition and is a founding member and Fellow of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. He was featured on the Healthy Living Channel promoting his latest nutrition DVDs and honored to teach part of Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s esteemed nutrition course at Cornell University. Dr. Greger’s nutrition work can be found at NutritionFacts.org, which is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit charity.
He is the author of Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching and Carbophobia: The Scary Truth Behind America’s Low Carb Craze. His latest book, How Not to Die, became an instant New York Times Best Seller. View the book trailer here. Dr. Greger is a graduate of the Cornell University School of Agriculture and the Tufts University School of Medicine.
Dr. Greger is proud to be a Council of Directors member of the global voice for lifestyle as medicine, the True Health Initiative (THI). This is a growing coalition of more than 360 world experts representing 35 countries. It is an unprecedented assembly that includes physicians, university Deans, former Surgeon Generals, Olympic athletes, chefs, environmental professionals and a diverse group of nutritionists. Together they offer clarity over confusion and support the foundational principles of healthy eating and healthy living.
All speaking fees and proceeds Dr. Greger receives from the sale of his books and DVDs are donated to charity.
2016 Trailblazer Award Recipient
Dr. Barnard is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, DC. In 1985, he founded the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a nonprofit organization that promotes good nutrition through education and advocacy, conducts clinical research, promotes higher ethical standards in human and animal research, and provides direct medical care. In 2015, he founded Barnard Medical Center, a nonprofit primary care clinic integrating nutrition into patient care. In his medical practice, Dr. Barnard works with patients with diabetes, obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and chronic pain in innovative clinical trials, including a groundbreaking study of dietary interventions in type 2 diabetes, funded by the National Institutes of Health. His research contributed to the acceptance of plant-based diets in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In 2015, he was named a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology. Dr. Barnard has authored more than 80 scientific publications and 18 books and has hosted four PBS television programs on nutrition and health.
Dr. Barnard works with the Medical Society of the District of Columbia and the American Medical Association, of which he is a Lifetime Member, to bring forward policy improvements calling for healthier food in hospitals, schools, and federal food assistance programs. Dr. Barnard is the editor in chief of the Nutrition Guide for Clinicians, a textbook made available to all U.S. medical students.
Originally from Fargo, North Dakota, Dr. Barnard received his M.D. degree at the George Washington University School of Medicine and completed his residency at the same institution. He practiced at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York before returning to Washington to found the Physicians Committee.
2015 Trailblazer Award Recipient
Dr. John H. Kelly is the founding President of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. Medicine is a second career for Dr. John and he received the AMA Foundation’s Excellence in Medicine Leadership Award for his work with ACLM in 2004 as a young physician–at age 55y. He received his BS in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology from Shepard University (1996; McMurran Scholar, Summa Cum Laude), his MD from Loma Linda University (2000) and his MPH in Epidemiology from Loma Linda University (2002; with honors).
Known internationally for his passion for and leadership in the field of Lifestyle Medicine, he is an invited speaker on the topics of Lifestyle Medicine and Epigenetics. He served as Co-PI for research on the use of lifestyle interventions to reverse diabetes in the Marshall Islands ($2-million federally-funded study). He has published research articles and co-authored a book chapter on nutrition as medicine.
Dr. Kelly was the recipient of the inaugural ACLM Trailblazer Award for his leadership in the field of Lifestyle Medicine, and has recently launched one of the first clinical fellowships in LM at the Black Hills Health and Education Center near Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota where he now serves as Medical Director for a residential lifestyle treatment center in the Black Hills.
Dr. Ancel Keys Award
Every three years, the Dr. Ancel Keys Epidemiology Award is presented by the American College of Lifestyle Medicine to a globally recognized epidemiologist, who has made a major contribution in our understanding of the cause, treatment and cure of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the world.
Dr. Blackburn was a young medical resident at the University of Minnesota in the 1950s when he applied for a research fellowship in Dr. Keys’ laboratory, beginning a remarkable career spent revealing the effects of lifestyle factors such as diet on heart health. From 1957 to 1972, Dr. Blackburn served as Project Officer of the Seven Countries Study, the first study to systematically examine the relation between lifestyle, diet and rates of heart attacks and strokes on different populations. He also participated in the 50-year mortality follow up.
In a recent interview with ACLM, Dr. Blackburn recalled meeting Dr. Keys, who had recently returned from a field trip to the Italian island of Sardinia, where heart disease was reportedly almost nonexistent. Dr. Keys and his team were researching what cultural differences contributed to differing rate of heart attacks, which at the time were responsible for every second death in the United States.
“Their holy grail was to find out what in the culture might be responsible for those differences,” Dr. Blackburn said. “I found this very interesting and very exciting – and important.”
Dr. Blackburn also developed risk prediction using the resting and exercise electrocardiogram and participated in the design and analysis of physical activity trials, as well as the Coronary Drug Project, a large clinical trial assessing various treatments for coronary heart disease in men. He led population strategies of surveillance and preventive interventions in the Minnesota Heart Survey and the Minnesota Heart Health Program. After retiring in 1996, he created and continues to manage a website focused on the history of cardiovascular disease epidemiology.
“During his esteemed career, Dr. Blackburn has been at the center of groundbreaking research that has defined the relationship between lifestyle and heart disease,” said ACLM Past President Cate Collings, MD, MS, FACC, DipABLM. “Poor overall diet quality remains the single leading cause of premature death in the United States today. The American College of Lifestyle Medicine is proud to honor Dr. Blackburn for his lifetime commitment to demonstrating the importance of addressing diet if we are ever to reverse the trajectory of the U.S. epidemic of chronic disease.”
Professor Pekka Puska was the Director General of the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Finland (THL) 2009–2013. Recently (2017-2019) he served as a Member of the national Parliament of Finland, including the Health and Social Affairs Committee and of the Education Committee of the Parliament. Professor Puska continues also his affiliation with THL. THL is a comprehensive national institute for public health and welfare under Ministry of Health in Finland. It covers a broad range of health and welfare issues from disease prevention, nutrition, lifestyles and environment, infectious disease control and national vaccination programs to health and social services, health and welfare monitoring and statistics. THL was formed after a merger of the National Public Health Institute (KTL) and the National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health (Stakes), and started its work in January 2009. Before THL Professor Puska was the Director General of KTL (2004-2008).
Professor Puska has, for most of his career, worked at KTL/THL. He was, for 25 years, the Director and Principal Investigator of the North Karelia Project: prevention of cardiovascular diseases in North Karelia and later on in all Finland. Within 25 years, over 80% decline in annual heart disease mortality among the working age population and a dramatic general improvement in public health took place. The project is widely seen as a model for successful population based prevention of cardiovascular and other non-communicable diseases (NCD).
In 2001-2003 Professor Puska served as the Director for Non-communicable Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the World Health Organization Headquarters in Geneva. At WHO, Pekka Puska directed the work on integrated prevention of NCD targeting the main risk factors (tobacco, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity) through health promotion, national programs, policy measures and regional networks. Professor Puska’s Department was the focal point of this work that culminated in adoption of the Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health by the World Health Assembly in 2004. Recently (2015-16) he chaired the Independent Expert Group for he Impact Assessment of the WHO/FCTC.
Professor Puska has, internationally and domestically, served in a number of scientific, expert and public health functions, WHO’s work, multinational projects, international conferences etc. He has over 500 scientific publications. Internationally, Professor Puska is the past President of the International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI). He has also served as the Chair of the Governing Council of the WHO International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC) and as the President of the World Heart Federation.
Distinguished President’s Award Recipients
The President’s Award recognizes an individual that shows exceptional dedication to ACLM. This award is bestowed upon the recipient by the President of ACLM.
A member of ACLM since 2008, Dr. Beg was elected to ACLM’s BOD in 2012. In 2012, he served as Founding Chair of ACLM’s Business Development Committee. In 2015, served as Founding Chair of ACLM Awards Committee and continued to chair the committee until 2022, shifting then to vice-chair.
He assisted Beth Pegg Frates in establishing the Donald A. Pegg Student Leadership Award in support of LMIGs and student leaders across the country and served for many years on the ACLM Fellow Review Panel. He served on the ACLM Conference Planning Committee for many years and was Planning Committee Chair two consecutive years. He founded digitalLM as a one-stop, turn-key digital health agency that helps LM providers be successful online with professional website development, SEO and more! The former Medical Director at Lifetime Fitness, he is now working with the FDA as a Digital Health SME in the Diagnostic Data Program, where he is leading several initiatives related to capturing data from over the counter/ point of care devices to enhance public health and regulatory decision making.
Dr. George E. Guthrie is a board-certified family medicine physician and a member of the academic program at AdventHealth’s Centre for Family Medicine in Winter Park, Florida, where he trains medical residents with a focus on community and lifestyle medicine.
For seven years early in his medical career, Dr. Guthrie served on the island of Guam, where he saw a high incidence of type 2 diabetes in the population there. His experience triggered a keen interest in the effective treatment of chronic disease through lifestyle change. In order to deepen his knowledge in that area and be more effective in his practice, he returned to school and earned a master’s degree in public health with a focus on nutrition from Loma Linda University.
Dr. Guthrie has helped to develop several lifestyle-change programs, including the Complete Health Improvement Project (CHIP), the Wellspring Diabetes Program, and AdventHealth’s CREATION Health program. He is active in the American College of Lifestyle Medicine and has served there as secretary-treasurer, president-elect, and president.
One of Dr. Guthrie’s greatest joys is seeing his patients and community members embrace the principles of whole-food, plant-based eating and watching their health transformations.
Dr. Guthrie is married to the love of his life, Dena. Although they have no children of their own, they were privileged to guide a Marshallese islander, Heidi, through her teenage years. They enjoy making music together, and Dr. Guthrie is skilled at interpreting gospel songs and hymns on keyboard instruments.
As the executive director of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM), a position she has held since 2014, Susan is helping to lead the effort to transform health and redefine health care, not only in the United States but around the world through her work with the Lifestyle Medicine Global Alliance. During her tenure, ACLM has experienced extraordinary growth—from fewer than 400 members to what is now more than 10,000. Susan leads a staff of 40, dedicated to executing and operationalizing the visionary strategy of ACLM’s Board of Directors. ACLM’s foremost priority is to help fill the gaping void of lifestyle medicine, including food as medicine, in medical education—across the entire education continuum from UME and GME to CME.
Prior to joining ACLM, she co-founded the not-for-profit The Plantrician Project and the CME- accredited International Plant-based Nutrition Healthcare Conference, showcasing the science that supports the efficacy of whole food, plant-based nutrition for disease treatment, reversal and prevention. With exponential impact as the goal, The Plantrician Project was born from Susan’s passion for reaching medical professionals with the evidence that supports the efficacy of prescribing “food as medicine,” knowing that patients often look to their physicians and healthcare providers as the gatekeepers of dietary and lifestyle recommendations.
Susan’s work has spanned the gamut, from running political campaigns to serving in executive, senior management and consultant roles for organizations ranging from professional sports and media to healthcare technology and worksite health promotion.
An author and international speaker, Susan serves—or has served—on the boards of directors for the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine, The Plantrician Project, True Health Initiative, T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, Shape Up US, the State Center Community College Foundation, Hope Now for Youth, Athletes International Ministries, and the AZ chapter of the American Heart Association. She also serves as a member of the Blue Zones Well-Being Institute Luminary Leadership Advisory Committee and the NCCIH Whole Person Health Stakeholder Advisory Panel. Her extensive volunteer service, which began as a teen when serving as the American Heart Association WV State Youth Chairman and Chair of the WV March of Dimes Teen Action Program, was recognized by Kentucky Governor John Y. Brown in naming her, at the time, as the youngest Kentucky Colonel in the state’s history and by West Virginia Governor John D. Rockefeller naming her as an Outstanding West Virginian. She was honored to receive ACLM’s inaugural President’s Award in the fall of 2019.
Her life motto: Fearlessly, faithfully moving forward, leaving no stone unturned.
Distinguished Special Recognition Award Recipients
Koushik: Dr Reddy is a foremost champion of LM within the Tampa VA where he serves as an interventional cardiologist. He has worked tirelessly to promote ACLM’s 5.5-hour CME/CE accredited LM and FAM Essentials online course in his own VA hospital and throughout the national Veterans Administration system. He has been a beacon of LM light in this agency often not known for its innovation. His scrubs have an embroidered carrot and stent, which he points to asking his patients to “pick one.” His passion is contagious and he’s deserving of this recognition!
Michelle: Dr. Tollefson is a professor in the Health Professions Department at Metropolitan State University of Denver where she created and oversees the nation’s very first bachelor in Lifestyle Medicine program. This enables students to “major” in the field of LM. All students become qualified to take the National Board of Health and Wellness Coaches exam. Many of Metropolitan State University of Denver’s students are Pell grant recipients and first generation students. MSU has one of the most diverse student bodies in this beautiful state of Colorado! Nearly 54% of MSU’s student body are students of color, with MSU being noted as an Hispanic-Serving Institution, committed to serving DACA and undocumented students.
Morris Cardio: Dr. Cliff Morris and his team at the Morris Cardiovascular and Risk Reduction Institute have enthusiastically integrated lifestyle medicine into their cardiology practice, embracing various initiatives such as facilitating group medical appointments, prescribing dietary recommendations, and allocating office space for an on-site gym where patients can exercise under the guidance of a medical fitness specialist. They bring a farmers market, in their office, to a disadvantaged local community. Dr. Cliff Morris and his team have advocated for the transformation of Hopewell, VA into a Blue Zone.
The L&PM WG was chartered in 2019 with 20 core members, primarily Air Force (AF) physicians. From this WG, the L&PM Coalition of the Interested (COI) was created as a grassroots effort to reach Department of Defense (DoD)-affiliated healthcare professionals with a mission to infuse L&PM into every aspect of the Military Health System (MHS) and the military population. COI membership has grown by 75% in the last year to nearly 350 healthcare professionals across the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, and Coast Guard, including Service Members (SMs) and government employees. Since its inception, the L&PM WG has achieved exceptional results across the DoD and beyond!
Donald A. Pegg Lifestyle Medicine Student Leadership Award
This award was created to help empower students and faculty members to create and sustain Lifestyle Medicine interest groups, as a way to bring in the crucial information about exercise, nutrition, sleep, stress resiliency, social connections and substance use into curriculum at any school in an easy and effective way without being part of the core curriculum. It is a great first step for any medical school or other health professional schools to work Lifestyle Medicine into the fabric of the school and into the lives of students.
|Amanda Miller | Rowan-Virtua School of Osteopathic Medicine
|Emily C. Ubbens | Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine
|Roshini Srinivasan | Duke University School of Medicine
|Sheeva Shahinfar | Texas A&M School of Medicine
|Yoav Jacob | Albert Einstein College of Medicine
|Abigail Joy Garcia | University of Incarnate Word
|Stephen Manga | Eastern Virginia Medical School
|Timothy Voehl | Arizona State University
|Annika Lintvedt | Michigan State University College of Human Medicine
|Ali Koehler | Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine – Southern Utah
|Simal Ali | Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine
|Brent Gawey | Emory University School of Medicine
|Gautam Ramesh, Alec Terrana (co-applicant), Kyleigh Kirbach (co-applicant) | University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine
|Cait Magee | Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine
|Leonie Dupuis | University of Central Florida College of Medicine
|Gali Katznelson | Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry
|Nicole Almeida | UniCEUB
|João Paulo Batista de Souza | Unila – Univerdidade Federal da Integração Latino Americana
|Madeleine Jacques | Eastern Virginia Medical School
|Lauren Kanzaki | The Ohio State University College of Medicine
|Neil Kelly | Weill Cornell Medical College
|Alyssa Kramer | Trinity College Dublin
|Hannah Maddox Rhea | Indiana University
|Brooklynne Palmer | University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
|Anthony Rizzo | Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
|Lora Stoianova | SUNY Downstate
|Nicholas Sweet | Idaho State University
|Emily Wey | Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine – Dublin Campus
|Daniel T. Gorenstin | Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (Unirio)
|Lisa Kisling Thompson | University of Colorado
|Krystyna Rastorguieva | Emory Rollins School of Public Health
|Tatiana Znayenko-Miller | The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
|Kacie Amacher, MS-III | Keck School of MEdicine of USC
|Saul Baustista , MS-IV | Rutgers New Jersey Medical School
|Alexander Buell, MS-III | Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine
|Erica Veazey | Brown Medical School
|Albert Barrera | University of Florida
|Alicja Baska | Medical University of Warsaw
|Alyssa Greenwell, OMS-II | Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
|Paresh Jaini, OMS-IV | University of North Texas Health Science Center
|Jessie Hipple | Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy
|Elaine Poling | Oakland University School of Medicine
|James Gardner | University of Utah School of Medicine
|Alyssa Abreu | Stephen F. Austin State University