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Everything you need to know about Board Certification in Lifestyle Medicine


With the first Australasian Board Certification in Lifestyle Medicine exam fast approaching, we take a closer look at what it means to be Certified and what exactly the process entails.

Last week, the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) hosted their international conference Lifestyle Medicine 2017, in Tucson, Arizona. ASLM’s Executive Director, Stephen Penman, was fortunate to attend and witness the first cohort of nearly 300 candidates to sit the board certification examination.

While Board Certification is not part of the Australasian system of medical recognition, thanks to internationalisation, Board Certification is becoming increasingly understood in Australasia as a ‘US standard’ and therefore somewhat relevant in other parts of the world. Importantly, to peers and patients, board certification provides recognition of having a sub-specialisation in Lifestyle Medicine.

What does the examination entail?

Board certification in the US is managed by the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine (ABLM) and internationally, by the International Board of Lifestyle Medicine (IBLM) via the same examination process. ASLM has held an ex-officio (non-voting) seat on the board of the ABLM since inception, so we have been fortunate to participate in the creation of the US and international exam.

The exam has two variations:

  • 4-hour 150 item exam for medical doctors
  • 3-hour 120 item exam (less clinical questions) for masters/PhD qualified candidates

Preparing for the certification exam


Candidates are expected to undertake self-directed study to prepare for the exam, central to this study should be completing the Lifestyle Medicine Core Competencies Program, complimented by careful reading of the seminal studies in nutrition/lifestyle intervention (referred to in the LMCC) including those by Campbell, Esseltyn, Ornish, the Mediterranean diet, DASH, Bluezones etc.

While in Tucson, Stephen also attended the Comprehensive Board Review Course (CBRC) developed by Drs John Kelly and Jenny Shull, which was held the day before the exam.

From this experience, the advice is that the CBRC is not essential, but is very helpful for structuring your exam preparation, as not everyone will be able to reach the required level of knowledge through self-study. However, having now seen the impressive body of work behind the CBRC, he highly recommends it to certification candidates, however, notes that the consensus from candidates after the exam was still that studying the Lifestyle Medicine Core Competencies and the major papers was the best way to pass the exam.

Board Certification or Certification?


Three are three certification levels available through the ASLM:

  • Certified Physician (Medical Doctor)
  • Certified Professional (Masters and PhD level practitioners)
  • Certified Practitioner (Degree level practitioners)

Certified Physicians and Certified Professionals are IBLM Board Certified, whereas Certified Practitioners are certified by ASLM.

The IBLM has approved country organisations (such as ASLM) to self-certify (not IBLM certified) degree qualified candidates via the same 120 item exam, in recognition of the fact that many health professionals are degree qualified, not masters qualified.

Importantly, degree qualified clinicians who later complete a Masters (within three years of taking your exam), can have their certification upgraded to IBLM certified (instead of ASLM certified) without re-sitting the exam.

November 19th, 2017 – The First Australasian Board Certification exam


The USA set the scene for Board Certification, with just under 300 candidates sitting the exam. We are proud to be presenting a proportionally sized cohort for the second Board Certification in Lifestyle Medicine exam in Sydney 19 November 2017.

It is a very exciting time in Lifestyle Medicine globally and we wish our candidates all the best with their upcoming examination.

Registrations are now open for candidates interested in the 2018 Board Certification in Lifestyle Medicine Exam. Find out more and register here