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Building Health Equity: Action Steps From the American College of Lifestyle Medicine's Health Disparities Solution Summit (HDSS) 2020AJLM CME/CE Article Quiz Volume 16, Issue 1

Learning Objectives
1. Define health equity
2. Explain the vision and focus of the Health Disparities Solutions Summit (HDSS)
3. Describe the rationale for using a Community Based Research approach
4. Identify action steps recommended by the HDSS to help address health disparities
1 Credit CME

Interdisciplinary solutions created from the collective knowledge and experiences of practitioners and experts from across multiple sectors are urgently needed to effectively address health disparities. With the belief that the power of diversity in ideas and voices can develop effective, innovative solutions, the inaugural Health Disparities Solutions Summit (HDSS), produced by the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM), was held virtually in late 2020. Organized by ACLM's Health Equity Achieved through Lifestyle Medicine (HEAL) Initiative, the convening was designed to harness this collective power.

The Summit was born out of the vision of ACLM Immediate Past president Dexter Shurney, MD, MBA, MPH, FACLM, DipABLM, to address lifestyle-related chronic, disease health disparities, with particular emphasis on inequities impacting dietary lifestyle and stress in historically marginalized communities. 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. Lifestyle medicine is the use of evidence-based lifestyle therapeutic intervention—including a whole food, plant-predominant eating pattern, regular physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances, and positive social connection—as a primary modality, delivered by clinicians trained and certified in this specialty, to prevent, treat, and often reverse chronic disease.

Invited Summit participants engaged in roundtable discussions grounded in three vision statements for eliminating health disparities: (1) Health care providers effectively trained in evidence-based lifestyle medicine, equipped to partner with their patients in underserved communities to minimize stress in the medical setting, ensuring optimal health outcomes; (2) High levels of food and nutrition literacy among patients and providers in underserved communities; and (3) Food as medicine fully integrated into communities, their cultures and values—implemented in underserved communities in a culturally relevant way to achieve health equity.

This 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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The American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) is a medical professional society that provides high-quality, evidence-based education and certification prerequisites in the clinical practice of lifestyle medicine. Learn more.

Article Information


Rush University Medical Center designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1.0 nursing contact hour.

Disclosure Statement: As a provider of continuing education, Rush University Medical Center asks everyone who has the ability to control or influence the content of an educational activity to disclose information about all of their financial relationships with ineligible companies within the prior 24 months. There is no minimum financial threshold; individuals must disclose all financial relationships, regardless of the amount, with ineligible companies. Individuals must disclose regardless of their view of the relevance of the relationship to the education. Mechanisms are in place to identify and mitigate any potential conflicts of interest prior to the start of the activity. All information disclosed must be shared with the participants/learners prior to the start of the educational activity.

Unapproved Uses of Drugs/Devices: In accordance with requirements of the FDA, the audience is advised that information presented in this continuing medical education activity may contain references to unlabeled or unapproved uses of drugs or devices. Please refer to the FDA approved package insert for each drug/device for full prescribing/utilization information.

Individuals in control of content for this activity have stated they have no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

In support of improving patient care, Rush University Medical Center is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

Credit Designation
Rush University Medical Center designates this Enduring Material for a maximum of 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Rush University Medical Center designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1.0 nursing contact hour.

Rush University Medical Center is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. Upon completion of this activity, learners will receive 1.00 ANCC contact hour(s).


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