As the fall semester inches closer, two College of Medicine students are preparing to introduce a new student organization to the University. Varun Gopinath and Daniel Pastel, two of the Lifestyle Medicine Interest Group’s co-founders, share more about the group.
The Lifestyle Medicine Interest Group is relatively new, right?
A: As a club on campus, yes. This coming semester will be the first time our NEOMED chapter will be active. But we are an affiliate of the national organization called the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, which was founded in 2004.
What inspired you (or others) to create the group?
A: Talking with peers during our first year of medical school, we realized that the focus of medical education was at times different from the ideals that originally brought us into medicine. We recognize the importance of pharmacologic treatment, but at times we saw that there was a lack of consideration of other interventions that are more sustainable and less invasive. Lifestyle medicine is an evidence-based approach that looks at lifestyle modification as a treatment option for preventative medicine, as well as for managing chronic conditions. We hope to bring this perspective to NEOMED.
So tell us a little more about the Lifestyle Medicine Interest Group.
A: The club hopes to add value to students’ education through exposure to the various aspects of lifestyle medicine. Including nutrition, exercise, sleep, mindfulness and healthy relationships. We hope to show students how behavioral modification in these dimensions can lead to improved health and quality of life for both for themselves and their future patients.
We are planning to host a variety of interactive events for students throughout the year, including screening of films with panel discussions, a healthy meal prep seminar, as well as exercise-focused events, such as a yoga and running.
Why do you encourage fellow students to join the Lifestyle Medicine Interest Group?
A: We hope to combine what students are learning in class with an understanding of healthy lifestyle behaviors. This synthesis will form a more complete picture of overall health and wellness that will benefit students in learning to live optimally, so that they can perform at their best. In turn, we hope that this will inspire students to integrate this holistic understanding of health when working with their future patients.