Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) is now one of the leaders of a global movement towards lifestyle medicine, thanks to a groundbreaking certificate programme developed by the college’s Institute for Population Health.

The 60-hour Certificate in Lifestyle Medicine programme provides healthcare professionals with the skills and knowledge to use lifestyle medicine approaches such as eating a healthy, balanced diet, regular physical exercise and tobacco cessation to prevent and treat serious diseases like obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and diabetes.

The latest edition of the certificate programme concluded recently and attracted record numbers of participants, thanks in part to it being offered fully online for the first time, owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to providing guidance on nutrition, exercise and substance misuse, the programme also explains the benefits of healthy sleeping habits, social connectedness and stress management.

WCM-Q Lifestyle Medicine programme

The programme is part of a wider drive by the Institute for Population Health at WCM-Q to help promote a global trend towards the integration of lifestyle medicine approaches into conventional healthcare, which has typically emphasised treatment of disease by means of drug therapies and surgery.

Dr Ravinder Mamtani, Vice Dean for Student Affairs-Admissions, Population Health, and Lifestyle Medicine, said that despite the devastating impact of COVID-19, the leading causes of long-term illness and premature death remain non-communicable diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer. He said that a wealth of scientific evidence shows that these diseases can be very effectively treated, prevented and sometimes even reversed using lifestyle medicine approaches.

Healthcare systems across the world are beginning to embrace lifestyle medicine approaches and we at IPH are working hard to support this global movement.

Dr Ahmad Al Mulla, Advisor to HE Minister of Public Health and Senior Consultant on Public Health and Disease Control, delivered a lecture on tobacco cessation during the latest edition of the Certificate in Lifestyle Medicine.

He said that Qatar is dedicated to empowering both healthcare professionals and the general population, in Qatar and across the MENA region, to use lifestyle medicine approaches to improve human health.

The Certificate in Lifestyle Medicine at WCM-Q has been extremely successful as a means of supporting local healthcare professionals to follow the best evidence-based practices to make lifestyle medicine interventions as effective as possible.

Dr Al Mulla explained that there is growing public appetite in Qatar for lifestyle medicine approaches. According to him, we now have a record number of people voluntarily attending tobacco cessation clinics.

It is extremely encouraging to see so many people embracing healthy lifestyles to protect their own health and that of their families.

The certificate programme has been designed to support the public health goals set out in Qatar National Vision 2030 and Qatar’s National Health Strategy 2018-2022, put forward by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH).

Commenting on the relevance of the certificate, Dr Sohaila Cheema, Assistant Dean for the Institute for Population Health, said that Lifestyle medicine is a powerful tool for preventing and treating disease and she said that they feel strongly that they have a moral obligation to help lead its promotion locally, regionally and globally.

For more information about the certificate programme, visit qatar-weill.cornell.edu.