Unprecedented in more ways than one

With the overarching theme of ‘Leading change’, the fifth international conference on Lifestyle Medicine in science, health policy and clinical practice brought to you by the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine and numerous program partners, was unprecedented in more ways than one.

In keeping with a Covid-disrupted year, Lifestyle Medicine 2020 was delivered as a virtual event experience – utilising the latest technology to ensure delegates were able to engage in live one-to-one and group conversations with one another, and actively participate in the interactive workshops and networking sessions (almost as if they were attending a face-to-face event).

As a result, we had over 700 delegates join us online across the weekend – once again our highest attendance and we look forward to increasing those numbers again next year. Together, they explored a number Lifestyle Medicine topics under the umbrella streams of:

  • Cognition: Neuroscience, healthy ageing & dementia
  • Cardiometabolic: Obesity, CVD and metabolism
  • Inflammation, immunology & autoimmune

These topics were explored through a combination of pre-conference workshops, plenary keynotes, concurrent streams, discussion panels, breadth workshops, and through an abundance of meaningful conversation with like-minded professionals across the weekend.

“Lifestyle Medicine is not new. It is forgotten wisdom.”
– Prof Bob Morgan

Leading change

Lifestyle Medicine 2020’s ‘Leading Change’ special event on Friday evening was a noteworthy highlight, starting off with a keynote by Prof Gregory Phillips entitled, ‘Indigenous peoples are the solution’. And then followed with appearances from:

  • Dr Sandro Demaio – CEO VicHealth, Medical doctor and globally-renowned public health expert and advocate.
  • Fiona Armstrong – Executive Director, Climate and Health Alliance.
  • Dr Bronwyn King AO – Social entrepreneur, movement maker, medical specialist and world renowned humanitarian. Founder of Tobacco Free Portfolios
  • Dr Jane Martin – Executive Manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) and Alcohol and Obesity Policy at Cancer Council Victoria

Their thought-provoking TED-style talks were followed by an enriching live panel Q&A, facilitated by globally-renowned science presenter and medical journalist, Dr Michael Mosley (UK), discussing what we as individuals can do when it comes to creating real change.

LM20 Image - Leading Change
LM20 Image - Leading Change

“Just keep stepping forwards – the path will form under your feet.”
– Dr Bronwyn King AO

Learn. Connect. Immerse. Explore.

Delegates were treated to a second appearance from Dr Michael Mosley (UK) during Saturday morning’s plenary session – where he spoke on inflammation, diet, and new approaches to treating obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases of ageing. This was followed by a keynote from Dr Elissa Epel (USA) on the importance of stress resilience for healthcare providers. Other featured keynotes were delivered by Margaret Moore, aka. Coach Meg (USA), Prof Gregory Phillips, Prof Bob Morgan, Prof Garry Egger, Prof Susan Sawyer and Prof Susan Prescott across the weekend. 

To give delegates a deeper insight into the Conference themes, concurrent sessions and breadth workshops were held in-between our key plenary sessions. These were broken up by regular movement breaks (just like at our in-person conferences – including the annual Lifestyle Medicine 5km run/walk!) and opportunities for delegates to explore other areas of the conference platform. This included our virtual exhibitor hall, scientific oral abstract and poster presentations, and “the lounge”, where delegates could network in small groups of up to 12 people. We were also delighted to offer delegates a custom Lifestyle Medicine 2020 recipe e-book, and two virtual lunchtime cook-along sessions during the conference – hosted by Accredited Practicing Dietitian’s Kathy Ozakovic and Jemma O’Hanlon.

“Published science alone, will NOT save us. Science translation and developing the art of translating our knowledge into impact is a critical focus for practitioners and leaders like us.”
– Dr Sandro Demaio

Lifestyle Medicine roundtables

Moreover, to encourage small-group discussions among delegates, virtual roundtables were imbedded in the main conference program. These small groups conversed on a number of specific issues in Lifestyle Medicine, including: 

  • How can we evolve primary care to be more genuinely multi-disciplinary in nature?
  • How can we make Lifestyle Medicine more financially viable for our practices?
  • Digital health – what are the opportunities for technology in Lifestyle Medicine?
  • What is the role of student in the Lifestyle Medicine movement?
  • What opportunities are there for Lifestyle Medicine in New Zealand?
  • Advocating for Lifestyle Medicine education in undergraduate curricula
  • How do we increase uptake of SMAs in clinical practice?
  • How to start a LM Student Interest Group at your university or college
  • Leading change in New Zealand: What has Day 1 inspired in us?
  • New practice models to support Lifestyle Medicine in primary care
  • The whole person: How can we use our understanding of social determinants of disease in clinical practice?

“I worry that there has been a significant shift to what might be called the ‘privatisation’ of healthcare… a healthcare system that is geared towards providing care only to those who can afford it. Humanity deserves better.” – Prof Bob Morgan

Celebrating the progress of Lifestyle Medicine and the contributions of our community

Recent years have seen exponential growth in the recognition and impact of Lifestyle Medicine around the world. This, without question, is a direct result of our growing collective voice; spearheaded by a small group of passionate leaders in our community. We felt it important to recognise the enormous impact of these leaders, who have contributed to the field of Lifestyle Medicine in particularly influential ways. As such, this year we introduced a number of awards for professionals, students, trainees and registrars, to be presented annually at our Lifestyle Medicine conferences.

Congratulations to the following individuals, who were named as the recipients of these awards in 2020:

  • Melinda Zsori (Student Leadership in Lifestyle Medicine Award)
  • Alex Ashenden (Student Rising Star in Lifestyle Medicine Award)
  • Dr Genevieve Moseley (Registrar/Trainee Leadership in Lifestyle Medicine Award)
  • A/Prof Darren Morton (Lifestyle Medicine Change-Maker Award)
  • Prof Garry Egger (Pioneers of Lifestyle Medicine Award) 

We also extend our congratulations to the following Lifestyle Medicine 2020 prize winners:

  • Rachel Petukhova (Best Oral Abstract Winner)
  • Vincent Wing-Hei Wong (Best Poster Winner)
  • Benjamin Ziegeler (Best Abstract Runner-Up)

And to the 58 ASLM Fellowship awardees, presented by Dr Sam Manger (ASLM President) and Shivaun Conn (ASLM Vice-President):

  • Dr Ameeta Gajjar
  • Dr Stephen Jelbart
  • Dr Aloke De
  • Mr John Gruhn
  • Dr Flavia Fayet-Moore
  • Dr Catherine Llewellyn
  • Dr Glen Davies
  • Dr Mary Jessop
  • Dr Chris Ganora
  • Dr Roxane Craig
  • Dr Hung Nguyen
  • Dr Isaac Menge
  • Merlene Dilger
  • Ms Lisa Chiang (Hoy)
  • Dr Christabelle Nath
  • Dr Jill Gamberg
  • Dr Esther Bganya
  • Dr John Sykes
  • Ms Emma Strutt
  • Dr Cristina Beer
  • Dr Michael Diamond
  • Ms Robyn Chuter
  • Dr Priscilla Wong
  • A/Prof Tracey Weiland
  • Dr Vivienne Doust
  • Dr Sue Radd
  • Dr Robyn Cosford
  • Dr Anna Mullins
  • Dr Cheryl Wilson
  • Dr Nadia-Ramona Todoran
  • Dr Andi Howes
  • Dr Edna Sun
  • Dr Jimmy Lam
  • Dr Sophie Jayamaha
  • Dr Debra Tennett
  • Dr Dovini Sooriyabandara
  • Dr Ashwini Baskaran
  • Dr Peter McGlynn
  • Dr Greta Prozesky
  • Dr Sarah Dryburgh
  • Dr Alison Piper (Lampe)
  • Dr Soo Huat Teoh
  • Mrs Melanie Renfrew
  • Prof Harry McConnell
  • Kate O’Flynn
  • Prof Madeleine Ball
  • Dr Celine Gol
  • Dr Catherine Gray
  • A/Prof Ross Carne
  • Mr Deven Sharma
  • Dr Joseph Monteith
  • Mrs Leanne Cleeland
  • Dr Fiona Robinson
  • Prof Karen Dwyer
  • Dr Olivia Currie
  • Jennifer Rowe
  • Dr Bethan Ganderton
  • Prof Renee Bittoun
LM20 Image
LM20 Image

“Your passion is your power — I’m doing it because I believe in it.”
– Jane Martin

What’s next?

Lifestyle Medicine is fundamental to the reversal of lifestyle-related and chronic conditions. Where do you come in? Lifestyle Medicine is as much a movement as it is a discipline; a movement for change led by health professionals that seeks to provide a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, whole-system approach to the chronic and lifestyle-related disease epidemic. To those who joined us at Lifestyle Medicine 2020 – thank you for being a part of that change this year, and embracing the new virtual conference delivery. For those who didn’t, we hope you will consider joining us next year as we continue working to propel the Lifestyle Medicine movement for change forward.

“An over-reliance on medication is symbolic of medicine today. Why are we not demanding revolution? We know Lifestyle Medicine works.”
– Dr Sam Manger, ASLM President

Be a part of the movement for change in healthcare at Lifestyle Medicine 2021

5 – 7 November | Melbourne, Australia

Registrations opening soon!