Food as Medicine

Fast Five with Martin Tull

What challenges or gaps in care are you focused on?

Many of the current food as medicine conversations are focused primarily on providing food, but some of the most effective FAM clinical interventions focus far more deeply on behavior change approaches, and clinician competencies, like motivational interviewing or coaching skills and they use multi-visit interdisciplinary teams to work with patients, equipping them with lifelong skills and motivation for healthier patterns. We do need more funding and wider availability for medically tailored meals, and we need more ongoing clinical programs in which those can be nested.

What initiatives are you currently spearheading to improve health?

ACLM provides a wide range of high quality evidence based CME/CE content to help ensure that all healthcare professionals have both the knowledge and the skills to address underlying chronic disease more directly. Over 10,000 ACLM members are bringing these insights and training into their practices and communities.

What necessary collaborations/partnerships have you established within and/or outside of your organization in developing your initiatives?

We are fortunate to work with hundreds of institutional partners to expand lifestyle medicine and food as medicine in clinical care, including medical schools, health systems and many national health plans. All have key roles to play in the success of this work.

What is your measurement criteria for success or what current measurable improvements have you realized from your food as medicine/nutrition-focused initiatives?

One simply measure is the uptake of the Lifestyle Medicine and Food as Medicine Essentials Course, with over 40,000 health care professionals signed up in the past year. Clinicians and health systems are reaching out weekly, asking for implementation models, toolkits, and training resources for their teams.

What gives your hope for the future in health care?

While we have a log way to go to ensure equitable access to high quality healthcare, there are a few bright spots along the way. Seeing the significant recent uptake in lifestyle medicine by large employers, major health plans and anchor health systems provides some strong wind in my sails and keeps me deeply inspired.

Martin Tull
Senior Deputy Director, Strategy, Innovation and Development
American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM)