How To Certify

FAQs & Exam Information

Frequently Asked Questions

To be eligible as a Lifestyle Medicine physician there are 2 potential pathways:

1) Experiential Pathway (for current ABMS certified physicians)

  • You must be board-certified by a medical specialty board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) or the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) for US based physicians
  • You must be certified and registered to practice if you are a Canadian physician
  • You must have been primary board certified (USA) and practicing medicine for at least 2 years before being able to register for the ABLM exam

2) Educational Pathway (for residents)

ACLM Certified Lifestyle Medicine Practitioners

Practitioners (bachelor-level nurses and dietitians) are certified by the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM). Becoming a Diplomate of the ACLM (DipACLM) signifies that the diplomate:
  has completed a minimum of 30 hours of specific lifestyle medicine online CME
– has gathered at least 10 hours of in-person CME from attending specific lifestyle medicine oriented conferences

– has passed a rigorous certification exam

Want to learn more? Visit lifestylemedicine.org

ACLM Certified Lifestyle Medicine Professionals

Professionals (PhD and Masters) are certified by the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) and the International Board of Lifestyle Medicine (IBLM). Becoming a Diplomate of the ACLM/IBLM (DipACLM/DipIBLM) signifies that the diplomate:
 has completed a minimum of 30 hours of specific lifestyle medicine online CME
– has gathered at least 10 hours of in-person CME from attending specific lifestyle medicine oriented conferences
– has passed a rigorous certification exam

Want to learn more? Visit lifestylemedicine.org

ABLM Certified Lifestyle Medicine Specialists

  • You must be certified as a Lifestyle Medicine physician by ABLM
  • You must submit an application to the board of ABLM, using a template provided by ABLM upon request, evidencing that:
    • within a 7 year period, you have obtained 720h of clinical LM activity and 300h of scholarly LM activity
    • you have reversed chronic disease in your patients by submitting 12 separate case studies, each with min. 3 contact points over 6 months
  • You must pay a non-refundable US$500 application fee.
Your application will be reviewed and approved/declined and your certification issued by the ABLM board.

The Prerequisites for the three registration levels are as follows:

MDs/DOs

  • Current ABMS certification
  • 30 hours of online/non-live CME
  • 10 hours of in-person CME
  • A case study outlining your personal experience with lifestyle medicine (view PDF)

PhD/Masters Level

  • 30 hours of online/non-live CME
  • 10 hours of in-person CME

Bachelor Level Nurses and Dietitians

  • 30 hours of online/non-live CME
  • 10 hours of in-person CME
Please note that prerequisites are reviewed and approved only during the 30 days before the exam!

The ABLM accepts Online CMEs of the following programs/providers:

Rules:

  • While the ABLM sets the certification competencies and Lifestyle Medicine standards, it is left up to the participants to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and experience from reputable sources.
  • CMEs must be no older than 36 months from the date of the exam.
  • Proof of CMEs, credentials and case study must be submitted at least 30 days prior to the certification exam. (Please note that exam results will not be communicated until all prerequisites have been submitted and approved.)

The ABLM accepts In-Person CMEs of the following programs/providers:

(for all 2020 exams, “virtual” rather than “live” in-person CME are accepted! For 2021 exams, “live” in-person CME will be required again!)

Rules:

  • CMEs must be no older than 36 months from the date of the exam.
  • Proof of CMEs, credentials and case study must be submitted at least 30 days prior to the certification exam. CMEs from Lifestyle Medicine conferences immediately preceding an exam are exempt from the above 30 day rule. (Please note that exam results will not be communicated until all prerequisites have been submitted and approved.)

The cost to certify is a one-time fee, dependent on your registration level and ACLM membership status.

MDs and DOs

  • Non-refundable registration fee $299
  • ACLM memb.er Certification fee $1,349 (Certification issued by ABLM and IBLM)
  • Non-memb.er Certification fee $1,499 (Certification issued by ABLM and IBLM)

PhD and Masters Level Health Professionals:

  • Non-refundable registration fee $199
  • ACLM memb.er Certification fee $1,169 (Certification issued by ACLM and IBLM)
  • Non-memb.er Certification fee $1,299 (Certification issued by ACLM and IBLM)

Bachelor Level Nurses & Dietitians:

  • Non-refundable registration fee $99
  • ACLM memb.er Certification fee $900 Certification issued by ACLM)
  • Non-memb.er Certification fee $999 (Certification issued by ACLM)
While the ABLM adheres to the ABMS rule of full re-certification after the end of every 10 year period, the ABLM has launched an alternative Maintenance of Certification pathway, whereby Diplomates have the choice of a 10 year certification or on-going certification. On-going certification requires a yearly minimal payment, the annual reading of 3 LM related articles and answering a series of questions about these articles, and the submission of 30 LM related CME every 5 years.
  • Exam duration: Maximum 4 hours
  • Exam items/questions: 150 multiple choice questions for Lifestyle Medicine physicians; 120 multiple choice questions for Lifestyle Medicine professionals and Lifestyle Medicine practitioners
  • Format: proctored exam, using own laptop or tablet (secure online exam dissemination)

Lifestyle Medicine Certification Competencies & Exam Weighting

  • Define Lifestyle Medicine (LM) and describe the unique role of LM
  • Describe the LM core competencies as identified by a national consensus panel
  • Describe the importance of LM in treating the nation’s lifestyle disease burden
  • Summarize the role of behavioral determinants of positive health outcomes
  • Interpret the scientific evidence that demonstrates the association of risk conditions (from unhealthy behaviors) as key to health outcomes
  • Compare and contrast to other fields of health and medicine
  • Indicate the place and priority of LM in the spectrum of treatment options for chronic (lifestyle-related) diseases
  • Describe the efficacy of LM and its impact on disease pathophysiology
  • Demonstrate key elements of conducting patient readiness assessment and stage matched responses
  • Describe the process of building effective relationships with patients
  • Apply motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral and positive psychology techniques
  • Develop a written action plan based on the treatment prescription adjusted for the appropriate stage of change
  • Describe strategies for helping patients maintain healthy behaviors
  • Differentiate at least three health behavior change theories and their potential application to practice
  • Describe the 5 As and how to incorporate them into the office visit
  • Identify two key constructs for effective, sustainable self-management
  • Describe process of follow-up for ongoing lifestyle change progress, including building patient self-efficacy
  • Demonstrate use of readiness, importance and confidence scales
  • List components of relapse prevention planning
  • Cite the evidence base for effective coaching that promotes health behavior change and improves health outcomes
  • Describe how to create relationships with patients which foster their personal growth
  • Describe the role of self-motivation and self-confidence in effective coaching for health behavior change
  • Describe the main stages of the coaching process
  • List the coaching questions for each stage of change
  • List components of the patient history and physical with emphasis on lifestyle risk factors
  • Describe screening and diagnostic tests relevant to lifestyle-related diseases
  • Describe how to interpret the tests using evidence based national guidelines
  • Demonstrate how to screen, diagnose and monitor a lifestyle-related condition (case example)
  • Describe strategies for a clinical practice to obtain information about local community resources
  • Describe appropriate situations for referring and collaborating with other health professionals, such as dieticians, health educators, fitness trainers, and psychologists
  • Describe the key strategies for leveraging the interdisciplinary team to enhance health behavior change interventions
  • Describe how planned and group visits can optimize office visits to support lifestyle modification
  • Cite strategies for effective office systems and office tools for tracking screening frequency and test results, and proactively prompting follow-up
  • List at least three resources available nationally that support healthy lifestyles/lifestyle change
  • Describe strategies for a clinical practice to obtain information about local community resources
  • Describe how office flow can be designed to assure consistent and up-to-date referrals
  • Cite the evidence for collaborative and chronic care models on improved lifestyle outcomes by use of allied health professionals
  • Cite examples of team implementation from demonstrated chronic care models
  • Describe the chronic care model components and how they can be implemented to support lifestyle modification
  • Describe successful primary care and office-based models for lifestyle modification, such as Prescription for Health
  • Describe the process for health care service quality improvement with applications for lifestyle interventions, such as Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles
  • Cite scientific data supporting that physicians who practice healthy lifestyles are more likely to offer counseling and improve patient outcomes
  • Describe strategies for incorporating wellness into clinic, medical office or other health care settings (wellness programs for health providers)
  • Conduct personal readiness assessment and develop personal action plan
  • Describe how to conduct effective advocacy on behalf of LM directly with patients and their families, as well as policy makers and decision makers within the community
  • Explain the dietary guidelines for Americans and why they are important, and the science-base that goes beyond guidelines
  • Identify the limitations of the dietary guidelines
  • List the food components most Americans get too much of and in which foods they’re found
  • List the shortfall nutrients that Americans are failing to sufficiently consume and in which foods they’re found
  • Use these criteria to determine which foods are healthiest and which least health-promoting.
  • Summarize the major nutrition studies and evidence-base for nutrition prescriptions
  • Evaluate the science behind making nutrition prescriptions
  • Demonstrate ability to perform a basic nutrition assessment
  • Prescribe nutrition for basic disease processes including inflammation: food patterns / macronutrients, food types / micronutrients, food preparation / oxidation
  • Summarize nutrition prescriptions for the most common chronic diseases including hyperlipidemia, diabetes, hypertension, and cancer
  • Describe the role of nutrition in preventing and treating chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease
  • Describe the role of nutrition in preventing, treating and reversing diabetes
  • Demonstrate ability to make nutrition prescriptions for health maintenance
  • Describe practical strategies for assisting patients to achieve dietary changes
  • Cite the prevalence of diabetes and pre-diabetes and the associated cost burden
  • Describe consequences of intensive medication management
  • Describe the Diabetes Prevention Program and its applications
  • Describe the role of nutrition in preventing and treating chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease
  • Summarize the major nutrition studies and evidence-base for nutrition prescriptions
  • List at least five examples of nutrition interventions for diseases
  • Describe the pathogenesis of diabetes
  • List at least three key epigenetic influencers
  • Describe the role of epigenetics
  • Summarize key dietary research on the impact of diet on diabetes
  • List the major physiologic impacts of plant based diet in the process of diabetes reversal
  • Describe the relationship between physical activity (PA) and health
  • Develop an exercise prescription
  • Describe the major evidence for the physical activity components (aerobic, strength, flexibility, and balance)
  • Define physical activity and exercise
  • List the components of exercise
  • Describe the US Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAGA)
  • Describe the role of personal behavior and role modeling
  • Explain the use of METS in assessing fitness
  • Describe the impact of exercise on weight
  • Identify the minimum and maximum levels of exercise
  • Describe the major evidence for the physical activity components (aerobic, strength, flexibility, and balance)
  • List key physical activity assessment tools
  • Describe how to collaborate with your patients to promote physical activity change
  • Identify resources for sustainable behavior change
  • List the components of writing the Exercise Prescription
  • Describe the treatment of disease with exercise as compared with medication
  • List evidence-based PA recommendations for: healthy older adults, pregnancy, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, disability, and stroke
  • Use screening tools for stress, depression and anxiety
  • Describe relationship between emotional distress and poor health
  • Describe provider role in facilitating patients’ emotional wellness
  • Point indicators in lieu of indications for referral to a mental health professional
  • Understand depression as a comorbidity for diabetes and coronary artery disease
  • Demonstrate ability to manage depression and anxiety in patients with comorbidities
  • Describe the components of emotional wellness self-management
  • Describe the role of positive psychology and its use in lifestyle medicine
  • Explain the nature of stress and identify manageable elements of pathogenic stress reactions
  • Report how mindfulness-based stress reduction contributes to medicine and healthcare
  • Report how skills of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) can help patients intervene in stress reactions and better care for themselves.
  • Describe the integral and essential elements of MBSR
  • List conclusions from salient research in MBSR
  • Describe mindfulness skills that enable presence, clarity and curiosity in the clinical encounter
  • Identify the benefits of physician empathy, attunement and resonance in the clinical encounte
  • Describe sleep’s role in health and chronic disease
  • Identify lifestyle-based activity, dietary, environmental and coping behaviors that can improve sleep health
  • Identify at least two lifestyle adjustments related to light exposure and meal composition and timing that support improved sleep
  • Identify key factors that differentiate patient subpopulations with insufficient or poor quality sleep
  • Explain the role of light exposure and endogenous melatonin in sleep health
  • Identify 2-3 lifestyle adjustments related to light exposure that support improved sleep
  • Identify 1-2 lifestyle adjustments related to meal composition and timing that support improved sleep
  • Describe the societal and health effects of tobacco use
  • Explain the role of tobacco cessation in preventing and treating chronic disease
  • List at least 5 recommendations from the US Public Health Service
  • Summarize the evidence based literature on tobacco cessation interventions
  • Demonstrate the ability to assist patients in developing and implementing plans for tobacco cessation 
  • Summarize coverage for tobacco cessation counseling 
  • Describe the role of moderating alcohol use in preventing and treating chronic disease 
  • Describe the clinical process for screening for alcohol misuse
  • Summarize the evidence-based literature on alcohol misuse interventions and develop and implement plans for avoiding risky alcohol use
  • Apply positive psychology in motivational interviewing and health behavior change counseling
  • Describe how positive psychology and emotional well-being support achieving and sustaining healthy behaviors
  • Compare and contrast eudaimonia and hedonia
  • Explain how eudaimonia relates to physical health and longevity
  • Describe how connectedness and social networks effect emotional well being, physical health and longevity
  • State the effect social media has on one’s emotional well-being
  • Describe the science of how a plant-based diet impacts emotional well-being
  • Explain how physical activity effects emotional well-being
  • Describe the role sleep plays in emotional well-being

BECOME A CERTIFIED DIPLOMATE