Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Institute

Organization devoted to establishing lifestyle medicine as the foundation for health and the healthcare system

Q. What is the nature of your organization and its mission?

A. Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Institute (RLMI) developed out of the medical practice known as Rochester Lifestyle Medicine (RLM). Both nonprofits help individuals move toward a healthier lifestyle. RLM works with individuals, while RLMI provides essential programs, including the very popular “15 Day Whole Foods Plant-Based Jumpstart,” the award-winning “Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP),” the fascinating neuro-scientific “LIFT Project,” and the engaging “6-week Plant-Based Nutrition Course on Lifestyle as Medicine” (with 12 continuing medical education credits). All programs run virtually during COVID-19.

Q. What about its mission?

A. RLMI’s mission is to establish lifestyle medicine, especially the adoption of whole-food plant-based nutrition, as the foundation for health and the healthcare system.

Within this mission, we advocate nine pillars of health: plant based nutrition, activity, avoidance of toxic substances, adequate sleep, stress reduction, time outdoors, finding joy and purpose.

Q. Can you tell us more about your history and how you came to be?

A. A staggering 45% of Americans suffer from chronic lifestyle diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It has been proven that lifestyle choices can reverse and prevent these and other chronic diseases.

To address these health issues, Dr. Ted Barnett, an interventional radiologist and board-certified lifestyle medicine practitioner, founded RLMI, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, to serve as a scalable model for lifestyle medicine. RLMI works closely with community members and medical practitioners globally to achieve life-saving and life-changing benefits, such as reversing chronic illnesses and reducing medications.

Q. What would others find different about you that would be helpful to know?

A. Our practice is about lifestyle medicine, a holistic approach to health. You, as an individual, are evaluated as a whole person. A chronic problem such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or excess body weight can develop for a combination of reasons. Changing patterns in your lifestyle can bring about positive health effects — both physical and psychological. We evaluate individuals and teach them key strategies and techniques to create positive and lasting health changes. Skills, not pills.

As a member of the RLM medical practitioner team, I see many patients with chronic illness. Through simple lifestyle changes, my patients have eliminated their need for high blood pressure and cholesterol medicines, insulin for high blood glucose, pain medications, as well as stimulants, for gastric reflux and bowel medication. With basic adjustments in eating, activity and stress management profound change is common.

Q. What are your aspirations for the future?

A. I thoroughly enjoy talking with people interested in the process of healing, and guiding them to self-empowerment. I will continue working with the RLM team to conduct research, treat chronic illness and teach people how to live a healthier, happier life by taking personal responsibility for their own health, and reaping the benefits of lifestyle medicine.

Photo: Jane Dorsey is a family nurse and board-certified lifestyle medicine practitioner, with a specialization in sleep disorders.