Associate Professor John Stevens, Carrie Thomson-Casey and Associate Professor Matthew Leach explain the concepts behind this emerging health speciality and the benefits of studying Lifestyle Medicine at Southern Cross University.
About 70 to 80 of all visits to clinicians at the moment are about lifestyle related chronic illness. We have 1.8 million people with type 2 diabetes largely caused through bad nutrition, inactivity, lack of sleep, high stress levels. Lifestyle medicine acts on all these things so the World Health Organization is really clear that lifestyle related illness chronic diseases are going to bankrupt health systems unless there's a paradigm shift, and lifestyle medicine is seen as that paradigm shift. And it's one we've needed for such a long time because health systems around the world and health practice around the world is so focused on curing illness, treating illness, whereas in fact we know that the real need is in preventing illness and managing chronic disease.
So what we're seeing with those practitioners who do lifestyle medicine and take up lifestyle medicine as an adjunct to their current practice is increased outcomes for patients, increase incomes for the clinician.
The lifestyle medicine philosophy incorporates a whole range of determinants - not causes - but determinants of ill health, and they range from things like the way we eat, nutrition we take in, physical activity, sleep, stress, relationships, communication.
As a clinician what I love about this lifestyle medicine course is that it provides really concrete skills that I can use to connect with clients, particularly around prevention. A lot of the time we're aware of the tools that are required when there's significant illness or chronic illness, but in the lifestyle medicine course we're also looking at those tools that assess wellness and how we can help clients achieve the health outcomes or help them to prevent progressing to more significant health issues.
I find that this course really goes that bit deeper and helps clinician get a really strong hold on how to communicate directly with their clients’ experience. What's really special about the lifestyle medicine course is that it's not only really suited to a broad range of health professionals, we've got a broad range of health professionals contributing to the course content.
So when we worked on the curriculum development we consulted with psychologists, general medicine, nursing, naturopaths, nutritionists, there really was a big team and a broad range of health experts coming together to formulate content that's really applicable to health professionals every single day in their practice to bring these strategies and approaches to their clients.
I'm really excited about the curriculum we put together, the volume of content, the depth of content, but also Southern Cross are actually leaders in online learning.
The evidence is quite clear that students who actually undertake study at Southern Cross actually have a wonderful student experience. What I love about Southern Cross University is that they were the initiators of lifestyle medicine in Australia, this is the birthplace of lifestyle medicine, education, and research, and the movement.
Study Lifestyle Medicine
With the connection between lifestyle behaviours and the risk of chronic disease, helping people make positive lifestyle changes is an ongoing challenge for health practitioners.
Southern Cross University’s Lifestyle Medicine degrees are designed for health practitioners working in general medicine, allied health, nursing or other health disciplines.
If you want to develop your skills and knowledge, these courses will help you more confidently prescribe lifestyle interventions, facilitate positive behavioural change, and enable positive patient outcomes, taught by leaders in the field and using an evidence-based approach to examine the principles and practices of lifestyle medicine. These include determinants of health, clinical processes and models of care, and strategies and interventions for preventing and managing disease.
Lifestyle Medicine is a part of Southern Cross University’s suite of health degrees that take an interdisciplinary and patient-centred approach to healthcare.
Why choose Lifestyle Medicine with Southern Cross University?
Graduates are automatically eligible for a Fellowship of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine (FASLM)*
Aligns with competencies of the International Board of Lifestyle Medicine and the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine.
Expert teaching and course design
Developed and taught by recognised leaders in the field of Lifestyle Medicine.
*To be eligible for an ASLM Fellowship, graduates of the MLifestyleMed degree must also hold a bachelor degree qualification in a relevant health discipline. More information about ASLM Fellowships can be found at lifestylemedicine.org.au/fellowship.
Southern Cross Model is a better way to learn
For almost a century the sandstone walls of Universities housed the same teaching model. The Southern Cross Model is different – immersive, responsive, in tune with the 21st century student. By joining Southern Cross, you are part of a better way to learn.
Prepare for university with a pathway program
If you have the passion, we have the entry pathway. We offer preparation courses to refresh your academic skills, increase your entry rank, or get you on track for a degree with a short course.
How to apply
Ready to take the next step in your higher education journey? Find out how you can apply.
There are many ways to get into Southern Cross University. Discover your options with an entry pathway.
The University offers a wide range of scholarships for undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Student life at SCU
Our UniLife program aims to encourage both your academic success and support your wellbeing.
Get in touch
Future students (domestic)
T: 1800 626 481
T: 1800 005 687
T: +61 2 6620 3666
Future students (international)
T: +61 2 6620 3876
For more details