BSLM2020 Annual Conference
By Mark Lupton
21st Sep, 2020
BSLM2020 was the British Society of Lifestyle Medicine’s fourth annual conference – and this year our annual celebration of the art and science of healthy longevity took place virtually.
Forced to cancel our planned event at Twickenham Stadium in June by the Covid-19 pandemic, the BSLM team set about organising an online conference. Our ambition was to bring you all the benefits of a real world conference from the comfort of your own home. And based on the feedback we received from delegates we think we pulled it off!
Over three days, we brought you presentations from expert speakers from around the world covering a broad range of lifestyle medicine-related topics. Guest speakers included the current RCGP President Amanda Howe, former RCGP president Roger Neighbour, the former Chief Medical Officer for Scotland Sir Harry Burns and Prof Garry Egger one of the true pioneers of the lifestyle medicine movement. Meanwhile, Director of Public Health Prof Edward Kunonga, raised one of the conference’s most pertinent questions: Is Lifestyle Medicine the Holy Grail of population health?
More than 700 delegates signed up to attend – with people joining us from around the world. This year we were also delighted to be joined by many patient representatives, made possible thanks to a generous grant from The MRC-Arthritis Research UK Centre for Integrated research into Musculoskeletal Ageing (CIMA).
Our new Patient Voice Director Chris Freer also took the opportunity to introduce himself and discuss his new role with BSLM and our ambitions to further engage patients in our work.
The topics covered during the conference reflected the broad and deep nature of the lifestyle medicine approach, and included: healthy eating, exercise and physical activity, sleep, planetary health, group consultations and virtual group consultations, pain relief, mindfullness and happiness, longevity, the “low carb” approach to reversing type 2 diabetes, and how to “keep healthy after cancer”. And in-between our speaker sessions, delegates also enjoyed a series of interlude sessions designed to keep everyone entertained and informed.
The conference was also an opportunity to hear from our newly appointed Learning Academy Director, Dr Ellen Fallows, about BSLM’s plans to set up a Learning Academy devoted to lifestyle medicine in the next 12 months. And we were thrilled to hear from so many of our colleagues in Europe, representing countries on the continent which have set up their own lifestyle medicine societies in recent years.
Opening Address from Rob Lawson
We also hosted a series of live Q&A sessions giving delegates the chance to put questions live on the day to speakers. These sessions were well received by delegates and gave proceedings a real sense of interaction and collaboration.
BSLM2021 was also an opportunity to virtually host the poster presentations from the 25 entries we received this year in our Call for Abstracts – as well as a live Q&A with some of our presenters and BSLM Director of Science and Research Fraser Birrell. Congratulations to Dr Sui Wong and the team at Guys & St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust who were announced as this year’s Poster Competition winners!
Now the conference is over, all speaker presentations and content has now been made available in the members’ area of the BSLM website.
A very big thank you to this year’s sponsors
We were thrilled to receive such wonderful feedback from delegates who attended BSLM2020
Here’s just a few of the comments we received in the conference networking lounge …
“Thank you so much for the wonderful conference.”
“Thank you so much to all of the organisers and presenters… it was such a wonderful conference! Thank you for a very positive experience.”
“Thank you to all the organisers – novel circumstances but fantastic work and lots of thought provoking content!”
“I am so sad it’s over. These three days flew by. Thank you so much to all the speakers and the organisers!”
“Excellent and inspiring presentations. The interactive sessions have been brilliant. A big thank you to all speakers and organisers. What a commendable achievement!”
Thanks also to all of you who commented on the Attendify app during and after the conference.
If you attended the conference please take a moment to complete our feedback survey.
For 2021 we plan to return to the “real world” conference hall – and next September we will be heading back to Edinburgh for the BSLM annual conference. BSLM2021, which will be our fifth annual conference, takes place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre from September 2-4.