I recently joined the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. Before you wonder if I mixed up my newsletter articles, let me explain. Although I’m team PrevMed through and through, I have many friends who are doing incredible work at ACLM and I was curious how our 'younger sibling' grew larger than our own College. So, I attended a new member Zoom happy hour to investigate.
I'm still discovering and don’t have all the answers , but I learned a lot when I attended the happy hour on August 10. Fortunately, I have notes – I was texting a play-by-play to Prasad Acharya, Chair of the ACPM Membership Committee, throughout the event.
There were a lot of people on the new membership call – at least 35. We had to split into breakout rooms so everyone could share their stories. My room had 5 people and 15 minutes for round-robin sharing. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the first speakers were so excited they used up the whole time! This session was a little annoying – because I’m a stickler for making sure everyone has a chance to share – but more so moving because their passion was inspiring. They finally found a home with like-minded colleagues.
And I get it, if I worked in oncology or orthopedics and all my colleagues thought I was the "weird one" pushing diet and exercise all the time instead of wanting to just talk about chemo and fixation devices, I would feel so energized to finally find a group of healthcare professionals who understand me!
I was struck by this because we've already found that special community here at ACPM. Yet sometimes we take it for granted or don't fully engage. We don't have to feel alone in the world, like some of the ACLM members trying to pioneer lifestyle medicine in unsupportive environments. Because we have each other.
Although we work in diverse settings – health departments, clinics, academia, consulting, insurance, technology, pharma, international health etc. – we have so much more that binds us together as a profession than what separates us. We speak the common language of preventive medicine. We use the core competencies we were trained in to make the world, or at least our slice of it, a healthier place.
If you’ve read this far, I challenge you: close your eyes, imagine you just discovered ACPM and finally found your people. How excited would you be to share your work, your vision and your story? Who would you connect with and how would you do it? What energy would you channel into the College to maximize your experience?
Now go and do it! Reach out, join a committee or attend our annual conference. Be part of our next new member orientation on October 5, at 5:30pm ET. Share your passion and your story with everyone (and take all the time you want!).
MD, MPH, FACPM
ACPM Board of Regents