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ACLM and The McDougall Program: Empowering the Next Generation of Medical Professionals to Practice Lifestyle Medicine

Updated May 29, 2024

The thrill and fulfillment of helping patients overcome debilitating and chronic diseases through lifestyle medicine can often seem like an intangible and unattainable dream for medical practitioners in training. As it is today, far too few clinical experiences exist to help cement a student’s belief in the power of lifestyle medicine in practice.

The McDougall Health and Medical Center, established over 35 years ago by lifestyle medicine pioneer, John McDougall MD, is a medical practice centered on dietary change for the treatment of chronic illnesses. Its hallmark 12-Day McDougall Program is a life-saving online medical program for reversing and healing chronic illnesses through expert medical care, world-class education, and whole food, starch-based nutrition.

Through our partnership with the ACLM, the McDougall Health and Medical Center provides opportunities for medical residents to attend our online 12-day program and witness for themselves the life-transforming work we do to reverse the most common and deadly diseases of our time. “Participating in the 12-Day McDougall Program was a transformative experience. I gained invaluable insights into the power of plant-based nutrition in preventing and reversing chronic diseases. The program provided me with practical tools and strategies that I can now incorporate into my practice to better serve my patients,” says Erika Veazey, MD, medical resident and program participant.

Dr. McDougall is passionate about equipping the next generation of medical providers to practice sound and scientifically backed lifestyle medicine. “Dr. McDougall is unique in how he supports all his claims with not only references but basic science principles that even a first-year medical student can support. His approach is academically sound,” says Dominik Dabrowski, MD, MPH, and medical resident attendee of the 12-day program.

“Training on the proper nutrition for patients is nearly absent in all years of a medical education, even though the rich American diet is the cause of most of the diseases they eventually will treat,” says Dr. McDougall. As such, we welcome as many medical residents as possible to shadow and experience the 12-day program for themselves. Dr. McDougall states that “in medical school, nutrition education is mostly limited to memorizing a few biochemical formulas. The short and long-term benefits of treating patients by ‘diet therapy,’ are not part of traditional medical education.”

Because the 12-day program is entirely online, medical residents can participate from anywhere; an opportunity unique to a completely telehealth-based residency experience. Though all of the program’s lectures take place live on Zoom, they are recorded and available for playback to residents with busy lives and clinical schedules. “the flexibility and ability to network on the McDougall Program enriched my perspective on the impact virtual support groups can have. I gained valuable insights into how a therapeutic lifestyle change program functions,” said medical resident, Reuben Plasencia, MD, MBA.

2024 has already been an excellent year for educating medical students about the impact that dietary change can have on patients’ lives and the creative ways to center a medical practice around lifestyle medicine. “Medical students are eager to learn about the miraculous benefits of ‘diet therapy’ taught at the McDougall Program. This experience teaches students how patients sickened by the rich Western diet can be cured by changing to a traditional diet based on starches, vegetables, and fruits; rather than a diet based on animal products,” says Dr. McDougall. Please reach out to your resident program director for more information.