RCSI celebrates graduation of first cohort of Lifestyle Medicine students

  • Alumni
  • Students

RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences has celebrated the conferring of the first cohort of students to complete a new Certificate in Lifestyle Medicine.

127 RCSI students, across the Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy and Physiotherapy, completed the optional Certificate in parallel with their degree studies. They each began the Certificate during their first year at RCSI. Six staff members have also graduated.

One of the first of its kind in the world, the new certificate was developed by RCSI’s Department of Health Psychology, with input from colleagues in the Schools of Physiotherapy and Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, and piloted during the pandemic.

The course gives students evidence-based knowledge and practical strategies to instill healthy lifestyle behaviours in themselves and their future patients. It addresses the six pillars of healthy lifestyles: stress management, nutrition, physical activity, sleep, smoking and alcohol and drug use, with the aim of teaching behaviour change techniques and how they can be used to change personal health behaviours and that of patients.

Reflecting the University’s commitment to giving future healthcare professionals the skills to support lifestyle change, this September will see the introduction of lifestyle medicine as a fundamental theme across the medical curriculum at RCSI.

Lifestyle diseases are the leading causes of death in the modern world. According to the World Health Organisation, heart and lung diseases, cancers and diabetes are the world’s largest killers, accounting for an estimated 38 million deaths annually, with 16 million of these being premature.

Lifestyle factors are heavily implicated in all of these diseases. Individuals can do a lot to prevent the development of such conditions and healthcare professionals have the opportunity to influence the choices of their patients in every interaction.

Professor Anne Hickey, Deputy Dean for Positive Education at RCSI, said: “It is our great honour to celebrate the first graduation ceremony of the RCSI Certificate in Lifestyle Medicine. Each and every one of the students who have completed this programme deserve huge congratulations on being the first cohort of RCSI students to complete this new optional Certificate.

Lifestyle Medicine is a relatively new term, and it embodies the core critical lifestyle behaviours that contribute to health and well-being across the lifespan, from early childhood to late old age. Having completed the RCSI Certificate in Lifestyle Medicine, students now have a much more in-depth knowledge and understanding of the importance of the six pillars of lifestyle medicine; managing stress, nutrition, physical activity, sleep, smoking, and drug and alcohol use.”

The virtual ceremony can be watched back here.