Interprofessional Lifestyle Medicine Program Under Development
The college has received $47,000 in seed funding from the Kent State Foundation to develop a graduate education program in interprofessional lifestyle medicine, which will address cross-disciplinary management and prevention of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, hypertension, obesity, insulin-resistance syndrome, osteoporosis and types of cancer.
With the college taking the lead, the program will be developed collaboratively with the College of Nursing and the College of Podiatric Medicine, with plans to expand to other departments and colleges. “Students from those diverse backgrounds will come together in classroom and clinical practice settings to learn effective strategies of interprofessional care,” says Willie H. Oglesby, Ph.D., assistant professor of Health Policy & Management.
Lifestyle medicine is an emerging specialty involving the use of interventions such as nutrition, exercise, stress management, smoking cessation and a variety of other non-drug modalities to treat, manage and prevent disease. “A growing body of evidence is demonstrating that lifestyle intervention can be highly effective in treating chronic disease, while avoiding the risks, unwanted side effects and costs of medication,” Oglesby says. “The goal is to affect positive behavioral change in patients to improve health outcomes.”
He’s a member of the Lifestyle Medicine Standards Task Force of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, the first national professional society for clinicians engaged in lifestyle medicine practice, teaching and research, thus ensuring that Kent State is in the national forefront of this new practice area.
Over the coming months, Oglesby will convene a cross-college advisory board to oversee a market needs assessment, recommend faculty to work on the curriculum, solidify community partnerships and identify clinical practice sites. “We’ll be figuring out what the program will look like and how we will conduct it administratively,” he says.
“Institutions that have successfully linked their graduate health programs are attracting new students with a unique program offering, providing them with highly marketable skills in the changing health care environment and establishing new lines of collaborative research, thanks to interdisciplinary faculty partnerships,” says Dean Sonia Alemagno, Ph.D.
“Kent State is on the cutting edge, because we’re the only institution that I’m aware of that is bringing together public health, podiatric medicine and nursing. Most programs are combining just nursing and medicine, and we’re adding the prevention side with public health,” Oglesby says.