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IU School of Medicine – Muncie and Ball State University engage medical students through clinical physiology partnership 

20191009 Iusm Muncie 60 (1)

Medical Students at the IU School of Medicine Muncie regional campus. ALT=Anatomy skeleton model

IU School of Medicine – Muncie has piloted an innovative program aimed at improving medical student physical fitness and well-being while teaching the health benefits of exercise. Medical students are enrolled in Ball State University’s Clinical Exercise Physiology Laboratory and undergo a comprehensive physical fitness assessment including blood lipid profiles, pulmonary function testing, and a VO2max assessment. The old adage “physician, heal thyself” comes to life as IU School of Medicine – Muncie students see their results and work with a team of exercise physiologists, nutritionists, and wellness coaches to develop a personalized “exercise prescription” that addresses their own physical and mental well-being.

Derron BishopRegional campus Dean and Director Derron Bishop stated: “we are convinced that future physicians will be better able to advocate for lifestyle modification to improve patient outcomes if they have lived and experienced the direct benefits of such an approach.” Bishop suggested this program is part of giving medical students the tools to not only improve their health but to also set them up for how to deal with stress. Bishop emphasized, “the lifestyle choices medical students make during their training are likely to be maintained later as part of their comprehensive well-being.”

Students get the opportunity to apply their newfound knowledge in the clinical space including the interprofessional outreach clinics called Healthy Lifestyle Centers (HLCs). The HLCs are a partnership between IU School of Medicine – Muncie and Ball State University and are aimed at helping community members improve their health through lifestyle modification. Currently, the HLCs have nearly 500 clients under management.

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.

Madison Pershing

Madison Pershing is a Marketing and Communications Assistant for Indiana University School of Medicine’s Faculty Affairs, Professional Development, and Diversity.