Health Equity Achieved through

Lifestyle Medicine

The Health Equity Achieved through Lifestyle Medicine (HEAL) Initiative was created by American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) health equity clinician advocates to address lifestyle-related chronic disease health disparities. Through HEAL, our mission is to improve health care disparities through lifestyle medicine strategies and a focus on four priority areas.
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What is the HEAL Initiative?

The Health Equity Achieved through Lifestyle Medicine (HEAL) Initiative was created by American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) health equity clinician advocates to address lifestyle-related chronic disease health disparities. Through HEAL, our mission is to improve health care disparities through lifestyle medicine strategies and a focus on four priority areas.

Equipping Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Community Health Centers (CHCs) clinicians with free lifestyle medicine education (ACLM’s “Introduction to Lifestyle Medicine & Food as Medicine Essentials” course bundle) to help treat historically medically underserved patients who are disproportionately impacted by chronic disease.

ACLM has committed over $2 million in matching funds to train and certify, at minimum, one physician within each of the 1,400 Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) organizations across the United States.

Recognizing the importance of diversifying the lifestyle medicine workforce, we partner with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) to establish Lifestyle Medicine Interest Groups (LMIGs) introducing the next generation of underrepresented in medicine (UIM) health care clinicians to the six pillars of lifestyle medicine. 

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) play a prominent role in empowering Black students worldwide. The cultural context embedded in the fabric of the curriculum at HBCUs offers students a rich learning experience, one that equips them for lifesaving careers that usually impact people who look like them. We want our HBCU partners to play a significant role in healing the communities they influence.

Establish a Lifestyle Medicine Interest Group (LMIG) at your HBCU.

  • LMIGs are student-driven, faculty-supported clubs on campus that cultivate multi-institutional, interdisciplinary programming and support healthy habits for students, faculty, as well as the local community. Currently, more than 80 LMIGs have been established at higher education institutions across the country. Visit to apply for an upcoming orientation cohort and download the toolkit.
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Fostering and modeling relationships and exchange of ideas across sectors to create health equity solutions.

Hundreds of health equity interdisciplinary advocates and ACLM members from a myriad of specialties connect monthly to discuss unique and effective ways to reach medically underserved communities experiencing health care access issues, food insecurity, and other social determinants of health that impede on their ability to live healthy lifestyles.

ACLM members who serve on the HEAL Practice Resources Subcommittee create resources that address SDoH and are working toward building criteria by which all ACLM materials and resources will be filtered through to ensure they are created with a health equity lens.


Read the intelligence brief “The Potential of Lifestyle Medicine as a High-Value Approach to Address Health Equity” This paper will 1) evaluate the promise of, and need for, health equity; 2) explain what lifestyle medicine is and why it is high- value care; 3) share how provider organizations can deliver lifestyle medicine both through their own processes and through community partnerships; and 4) present some of the challenges to widespread adoption of lifestyle medicine and how those challenges can be addressed.


Taste of Lifestyle Medicine Micro-Grants introduce and advance lifestyle medicine on medical or health professional and health system campuses. Any U.S. medical or health professions student or faculty member interested in hosting a non-commercial lifestyle medicine educational event may apply for a grant to support the purchase of whole-food plant-based foods or ingredients for their event. Eligible individuals may apply for $50-250 per event, up to 4 times per year ($1000 annually).

Download Tools

Tools and resources were created by ACLM to help fulfill our vision of making Lifestyle Medicine the foundation of a transformed and sustainable system of health care, we hope you’ll benefit from the following complimentary resources. ACLM members also have exclusive access to a variety of free tools and resources that continue to grow. JOIN TODAY. From LM assessment forms, to PowerPoint presentations, to reimbursement roadmaps, and pediatric tools, you’ll be sure to find the resources you need to bring LM to the network of people you impact.

HDSS Summit

The inaugural Health Disparities Solutions Summit (HDSS) was held virtually in late 2020. The Summit convened physicians, faith-based leaders, academics, and community organizers to identify expert consensus and recommended action steps specific to addressing health disparities through the lens of lifestyle medicine. The resulting paper provides background on the realities of health disparities in the United States, introduces the entrance point of lifestyle medicine (LM) practice in the struggle for health equity, and summarizes Summit proceedings and recommended action steps.

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What are Health Disparities?

Health disparities are the differences in health outcomes between populations, particularly those that are historically medically under-resourced. One of the most common manifestations of health disparities is in the higher prevalence of lifestyle-based chronic diseases, exacerbated by disparities in the drivers of health, also known as social determinants of health (SDoH).

Issues such as – food insecurity, food deserts, transportation challenges, poverty, and others – heavily influence the health behavior choices available to people. The decisions they ultimately make can contribute to the development and progression of chronic disease.

Health equity is when everyone has the opportunity to be as healthy as possible.


African Americans are 51% more likely to be obese compared to non-Hispanic Whites. African American women have the highest rates of obesity or being overweight compared to other groups in the United States. About 4 out of 5 African American women are overweight or obese.


Native American adults are twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than non-Hispanic white adults and Black and Hispanic adults are also at increased risk (60% and 70%, respectively).


Hispanic adults diagnosed with diabetes are twice as likely to develop end-stage renal disease as a result and Black people with diabetes are four times more likely to have a resulting amputation.


African Americans have the highest mortality rate for all cancers combined compared with any other racial and ethnic group.

HEAL Scholarship Program

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Achieving a diverse lifestyle medicine workforce is essential.  This scholarship awards underrepresented in medicine (URM) clinicians with need-based scholarships to assist with the costs of attaining certification in lifestyle medicine. This opportunity is open to applicants practicing in the United States.

There are partial (50%) and full (100%) scholarships available to cover certification expenses that include:

  • ABLM/ACLM Board Certification Exam fees
  • Approved CME through the Lifestyle Medicine Board Review Course
  • ACLM Annual Conference attendance
  • One year of ACLM Membership

HEAL Leadership

HEAL leaders support ACLM in its efforts to offer lifestyle medicine education, especially to those who are serving historically medically underserved patients.  Each leader has laudable experience and has demonstrated their passion for health equity and lifestyle medicine.

Dexter Shurney MD, MBA, MPH, FACLM, DipABLM

Dexter Shurney, MD, MBA, MPH, FACLM, DipABLM

In 2019, then president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM), Dexter Shurney, MD, MBA, MPH, FACLM, DipABLM, cast the vision for ACLM to take proactive action in addressing lifestyle-related chronic disease health disparities. Merging his vision with ACLM’s…
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David Bowman MD DipABLM

David Bowman, MD, DipABLM

Dr. David Bowman is a Lifestyle Medicine physician and pediatrician. The Indianapolis native attended Howard University for undergrad and Indiana University for medical school. After residency at DC Children’s, he embarked on a career in global health and HIV and…
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Qadira Ali, MD, MPH, FAAP, DipABLM

Dr. Qadira Ali, MD, MPH, FAAP, DipABLM is a board-certified pediatrician and lifestyle medicine physician. Passionate about the power of daily habits in creating optimal health, Dr. Qadira founded Sprouting Wellness to creatively coach families along the journey from information…
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Daphne Bascom

Daphne Bascom, MD, PhD

Dr. Daphne Bascom’s work has been dedicated to improving the health of the communities around her and making sure that these communities are connected to the best resources and technologies available. She is currently the Vice President of Population Health…
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HEAL Member Interest Group

Health Equity Member Interest Group

Join the Conversation

The HEAL Membership Interest Group is comprised of an array of health professionals across specialties, that are dedicated to working together to address lifestyle-related chronic disease health disparities.

Email us:

If you are interested in our work, contact

Not a member? Join our network of lifestyle medicine clinicians.

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October 27 – 30, 2024 | Orlando & Online

Celebrating 20 years of Lifestyle Medicine

Every Fall, ACLM hosts the premier continuing education event focused on lifestyle medicine – the therapeutic dose of proper nutrition, regular physical activity, social connection, restorative sleep, stress management, and avoidance of risky substances.