Our vision for the future of BSLM
By Dr Fraser Quin
11th Feb, 2021
Dr Fraser Quin
The lead singer of The Clash, Joe Strummer, once said: “The future is unwritten”.
As we look back on 12 months of a devastating global pandemic, I’m not sure it’s a story anyone could have imagined. In January 2020, who could have known what lay ahead?
With the rollout of the vaccine, we at least have some signs of an upbeat ending to the story. But as the American baseball player, and part-time philosopher, Yogi Berra once wisely remarked: “It’s tough to make predictions … especially about the future.”
So I’ll spare you any firm predictions in this my first blog as the new Executive Director of the British Society of Lifestyle Medicine.
Instead, I’ll stick to sharing with you some of our ambitions for the year ahead. One thing I can promise you is change. 2021 will be a pivotal year for our society and the global lifestyle medicine movement.
In the BSLM office we are already implementing a number of changes – and planning yet more, including the growth of our team. The aim is to improve the experience of our members, partners and colleagues.
So whether you’re renewing your BSLM membership, or entering into a partnership agreement with us – we hope your experience will be a seamless one. Please get in touch if you have any comments, questions or concerns. And why not take a moment to complete our members survey to tell us what you think?
Education, education, education!
Education will be a key focus in the year ahead and beyond. Central to this will be the development of the BSLM Learning Academy; a hugely exciting project which will cement our position as the UK’s leading provider of Lifestyle Medicine education. The Academy will offer a broad choice of courses including the IBLM diploma, our own Lifestyle Medicine Certificate, a university-backed Lifestyle Medicine Masters qualification and a number of specialist courses built around the six pillars of Lifestyle Medicine.
BSLM2021 annual conference
Coming together in September for our fifth annual lifestyle medicine conference promises to be a highlight of the year – and we hope to see as many of you as possible between September 2nd – 4th in the beautiful city of Edinburgh.
This year will be an opportunity to once again meet in person – but if you can’t make it to the Edinburgh ICCC we will be making talks available online.
We’ll be revealing details of speakers soon, so keep an eye on the conference page of our website and our social media channels for announcements. Tickets are also now on sale – so book now to avoid disappointment!
We’re also planning to develop a lifestyle medicine offer for patients this year. Working in partnership with technology companies and partners, as well as our GP colleagues and the wider NHS, our aim is to build an open access, public-facing service to deliver lifestyle medicine directly to individuals, groups and communities. Watch this space for what promises to be a bold and ambitious undertaking. If we are to deliver on our ambitions to reduce health inequalities, and remove some of the barriers to take-up of lifestyle medicine, this will be essential.
Lifestyle medicine in 2021
During the year ahead we will be continuing to promote Lifestyle Medicine as an evidence-based and effective approach to chronic disease prevention, management and treatment. At home or abroad we want to ensure BSLM is the leading voice in this discussion.
Working in collaboration with our partners, nationally and globally, we will be making the case for lifestyle medicine as the solution to the growing health crisis in the western world. The crucial link between non communicable conditions and increased risk from Covid-19 will be one we will continue to highlight. This will require a global effort – and BSLM will continue to play a leading role.
Ensuring BSLM has enough resources to deliver on these ambitions will be one of my primary concerns going forward. Membership fees and educational activities are not enough for us to develop new projects so I am looking to grow our income from grants and trusts, private donations, fundraising and sponsorship.
I would welcome your input into this effort – whether you have sponsorship ideas or if you would like to undertake your own fundraising effort for BSLM.
Hope for the future
While we can’t predict exactly how 2021 will pan out, we can at least hope for some better days ahead.
The last 12 months have been incredibly challenging: for the millions of people whose health has suffered as a result of the pandemic, for the healthcare professionals working on the frontline, and for those whose lives and livelihoods have been hit by lockdowns and economic hardship.
Lifestyle Medicine has always been about hope – hope that we can do things differently and offer people a practical way to achieve better health. Yes, the future is unwritten: but perhaps it is up to us to write it.