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University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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American College of Lifestyle Medicine Conference


January 11, 2019
by Serena

Getting Involved What are OS/OT?

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Last semester seemed like a whirlwind. My academic workload consisted of 4 courses: Health Promotion and Wellness, Adulthood and Aging, Occupation-Centered Programs for the Community, and the Mental Health immersion. Apart from classwork, I also completed my Level I Fieldwork at USC’s Kortschak Center for Learning and Creativity, tabled and advocated for OT at various events such as the Latino Expo Event, and held the role as a Care Team Coordinator for the Student Run Clinic. One of my biggest accomplishments was attending two conferences. I previously mentioned the OTAC conference in Pasadena, California, and I would love to tell you more about the second conference I attended: the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) conference in Indiana.

What is the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM)?
The American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) is a a healthcare association dedicated to preventing, managing, and reversing chronic diseases with lifestyle interventions. The ACLM healthcare professionals strive to place a greater emphasis on helping clients sustain healthier lifestyles such as engaging in health promoting diets, regular physical activity, adequate sleep, stress management, and avoidance of substance and drug misuse.

My top 5 reasons for attending the ACLM conference.

1. Further my education in lifestyle medicine: Attend seminars and lectures led by renowned healthcare professionals in the field of Lifestyle Medicine (LM) like Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Colin Campbell, Dr. Dean Ornish, and Dr. Wayne Dysinger (whose wife happens to be an OT 😊).

Panel of guest speakers at the 2018 American College of Lifestyle Medicine Conference in Indiana. From left to right: Dr. Michael Gregor, Dr. Dean Ornish,  Dr. Colin Campbell, and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.

2. Learn about and advocate for OTs role in LM: At the conference I was the only individual in the field of OT. It is an amazing feeling to be able to advocate for our profession in the growing field of LM since we are trained to address lifestyle changes with a focus on habits and routines.

3. Focus on my passion: I love being able to combine my interests with my profession.

4. Meet and connect with other healthcare professionals with the same interests: One of the highlights of the event was being surrounded by people who not only wanted to help others live a healthier and happier life but they too were practicing a healthy lifestyle. For example, all of the food at the conference was whole food plant-based and a 5k walk during the conference was built within the schedule. Talk about work life balance!

During the conference, a 5k walk event occurred around the mesmerizing Indianapolis Canal.

5. Gain skills to then go back home and make a change to my life and to the lives of others: I am grateful to have a roommate who is a medical student, Kacie Amacher, and also attended the conference. We are both passionate about helping others live a healthier life. Most importantly we realize the importance of the change first having to start with our own habits and routines.

Me and my roommate, Kacie Amacher, at the 2018 American College of Lifestyle Medicine Conference.

Words of Advice
During your own OT journey, whether it be before, during, or after your academic career, I would highly suggest attending a conference related to your interests. Especially an interest where you feel OT may belong but lacks a wide presence. If you have any questions at all about ACLM and OTs involvement please feel free to contact me!

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Hi Serena! I came across your post when I was searching ACLM and OT. I’m currently starting my last year (OTD) St. Ambrose in Iowa. I conducted my research on the psychosocial effects of upper extremity injuries and will be using those results to inform my doctoral project. I’m actually going to be using the ACLM guidelines to inform my project!