Educating Patients, Doctors About Preventive Medicine

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Lifestyle is the new best medicine and Orlando patients and physicians are the new beneficiaries! Beginning in December, Orlando Health is partnering with the University of Central Florida (UCF) and renowned cardiologist, James M. Rippe, MD, one of the nation's foremost lifestyle medicine experts, to become the first hospital in America to create a lifestyle medicine department and integrate it into patient care and resident education. The goal is to keep patients healthy and help decrease their chances for cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes by providing counseling and materials about lifestyle changes that can impact their health.

According to Dr. Rippe, an estimated 70 to 80 percent of all deaths in the United States each year can be tied to poor lifestyle choices. Lifestyle medicine is the study and practice of how to help individuals understand that their daily habits and practices have a profound impact on their short and long term health and quality of life. Dr. Rippe will conduct further research on the subject both at his clinical research laboratory, Rippe Lifestyle Institute, and at the UCF Center for Lifestyle Medicine and use his latest findings to create curricula for Orlando Health's medical staff and patients.

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"Lifestyle medicine isn't simply about prolonging life, it's about ensuring people can enjoy their later years with less pain and disease," said Dr. Rippe. "The future of health care is not only in treating the sick, but also in caring for those who are still well. Bringing lifestyle medicine to patients at Orlando Health is an important step in improving the health of the entire community."

Jay Falk, MD, vice president, Medical Education, expects the hospital system's partnership with Dr. Rippe and UCF to put the Greater Orlando area on the forefront of lifestyle medicine. "This new partnership will allow us to not only educate seasoned doctors and residents about the potential benefits of lifestyle medicine on their patients, but it will also enable us to counsel patients who have risk factors for disease before they even leave the hospital," said Dr. Falk.

One unique aspect of the relationship between Orlando Health and Rippe Health will be the publication of quarterly conferences entitled "Lifestyle Medicine Rounds at Orlando Health" in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (AJLM). AJLM is the only peer reviewed journal in this emerging area of medicine and is received by over 20,000 physicians and other health care workers throughout the United States and internationally.

Doctors who graduate from UCF's new School of Medicine will have the opportunity to enroll in the residency program at Orlando Regional Medical Center - the area's only statutory teaching hospital – and learn lifestyle medicine principles that they can pass along to their patients. The eventual goal will be to build a formal fellowship program in lifestyle medicine.

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