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Dr. Elisabeth Fontaine One of First in Nation To Earn Lifestyle Medicine Board Certification

Northwestern Medical Center is pleased to announce that Elisabeth Fontaine, M.D. recently became one of the first medical professionals globally to be certified as Diplomate of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) and the International Board of Lifestyle Medicine.

As defined by the ACLM, Lifestyle Medicine is the use of evidence-based therapeutic approaches to prevent, treat and oftentimes reverse chronic disease. These therapies include physical activity, adequate sleep, stress management, tobacco cessation and a predominantly whole food, plant-based diet.

“The right prescription for health is not a pill, it is a commitment to well-being and taking the first step to making healthy lifestyle choices.  Working in partnership with the primary care physicians, I want to meet the individual where they are at and develop life goals that will focus on the healthy choices for a healthy life” said Dr. Fontaine on her commitment to the ultimate goal of improving individuals’ wellbeing while emphasizing the priority of the greater good of the population.

Dr. Fontaine’s passion for Lifestyle Medicine has been an underlying theme of her practice as an OB/GYN physician for 23 years. Her background is in Exercise Physiology/Obesity and she is also a Certified health coach through Wellcoaches. As NMC’s Medical Director of Lifestyle Medicine and RiseVT, she has pioneered many programs to encourage behavior change for her patients, for NMC employees and for the greater community, all with a positive approach that empowers people to take control of their own well-being. She will soon transition from her OB/GYN practice and launch a Lifestyle Medicine Clinic at NMC, offering a new model of care focused on achieving optimal health and preventing chronic disease.

This recent Board Certification is an achievement that demonstrates a strong commitment from Dr. Fontaine and NMC to invest the time and energy needed for work on primary preventive healthcare.

“This is so timely with the transformation in the health care payment system which is moving to payment for value in care delivery,” said Dr. Fontaine “Ultimately in a capitated system where the hospital will get one payment to care for the population vs. a fee for every service, the real success comes by investing in keeping healthy people healthy.  Moving the population to better health will reduce the high cost of chronic conditions.”

“We want to be recognized as a leader in Lifestyle Medicine,” said Dr. Fontaine, “And achieving this credential is an important sign of our commitment.”

Dr. Fontaine sees her Lifestyle Medicine certification as a milestone in the journey toward acceptance of the Lifestyle Medicine approach in healthcare. The certification, RiseVT’s efforts to encourage people to embrace healthy lifestyles, and the new Lifestyle Medicine clinic are steps that break new ground. “Not many organizations have a Lifestyle Medicine Clinic,” said Dr. Fontaine. “We are ahead of the game. When you talk about innovation, that’s definitely innovation in medicine.” She said she wants to coach a village to health and that effort starts with each individual taking the first step.

Board Certification gives patients confidence that certified practitioners have achieved a high standard of professional knowledge and skill in an evidence-based specialty field. Such global certifications ensure standardization of care in this transformative field. To be certified, a provider must be board-certified by a medical specialty board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties or the American Osteopathic Association. Providers, must also meet specific prerequisites, and pass an exam. To learn more about the ACLM or Lifestyle Medicine, visit https://www.lifestylemedicine.org/. To learn more about NMC’s Lifestyle Medicine program, call 802-524-1227.