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Andrews University Receives Funding to Start a Lifestyle Medicine Clinic

New initiative will include options to prevent and treat chronic diseases.

Moriah McDonald, Andrews University, and Adventist Review
Andrews University Receives Funding to Start a Lifestyle Medicine Clinic
Andreasen Center for Wellness [Photo: Darren Heslop]

In late 2021, Andrews University received a grant to start the Andrews University Lifestyle Medicine Clinic & Training Center to prevent and treat chronic diseases. Andrews University lifestyle medicine practitioners, lifestyle medicine wellness coaches, community primary-care physicians, and student interns will now work together to administer lifestyle interventions, patient assessments, and other related services on the school campus in Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States. 

The US$97,000 grant was given by the Ardmore Institute of Health, an organization dedicated to increasing the availability of lifestyle medicine projects through grant-driven efforts. The institute strives to aid in the development and delivery of lifestyle medicine interventions and is the home of the “Full Plate Diet.” Ron Stout, president and CEO of Ardmore Institute of Health, is the son of John Stout, who served at Andrews University for almost 50 years.

Padma Tadi Uppala, professor and chair of the Andrews University School of Population Health, Nutrition & Wellness, holds a degree in lifestyle medicine from Loma Linda University. Uppala, who applied for the competitive grant and secured the funding, will be the director of the Lifestyle Medicine Clinic & Training Center. 

The Lifestyle Medicine Clinic & Training Center is located in the Andreasen Center for Wellness and is integrated with Andrews University wellness initiatives. The clinic includes an exercise and health-assessments laboratory and a counseling center for dietary and other non-drug modalities. Plans are underway to have branches of the clinic in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

Uppala says that the creation of the clinic was inspired by a conversation with John Kelly, who received the American Medical Association’s Excellence in Medicine Award in 2004 for his leadership as founding president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM).

Kelly shared from a historical church document that quoted Adventist Church cofounder Ellen G. White: “In due course of time, a sanitarium will be erected at Berrien Springs, not to compete with any other sanitarium, but to represent our work in clear straight lines, and to give the students an opportunity of learning how to care for the sick” (Letter to Dr. David Paulson, 1902).

In 1955, when the Louis Campagna estate in Berrien Springs was being sold following his death, the real estate agent who handled the sale was eager for Andrews University to obtain the property. It was determined there was no possible use of the buildings for student housing without a great deal of remodeling. A group of physicians and laymen, however, became interested in the location for a sanitarium. They formed an organization known as the Berrien Acres Sanitarium, headed by Lee McElmurry. Eventually, money from the Michigan Sanitarium Fund was used to purchase the land. It was used for a time as a child daycare center, and then the property was turned over to Andrews University. The university sold it to another owner in exchange for property he owned adjoining the university farm. That property is now known as Muhammad Ali’s estate. Much of the interest in the sanitarium came from studies of White’s writings, which indicated that at some time a sanitarium would be established in the Berrien Springs area (synopsis of an article in a 1975 issue of the Lake Union Herald).

Uppala believes that as these services are extended to Berrien County residents, the clinic will not only be a source of physical healing but a place for spiritual healing in the end times.

“There is a need for the Lifestyle Medicine Clinic at Andrews University, whose founding principles are to ‘make man whole,’ to further the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ, and to spread the Adventist health message,” states Uppala.

Collaborators on the grant include John Kelly, Lifestyle Medicine specialist; Wayne Dysinger, physician, founder, and chair, Lifestyle Medical; and Benjamin Lau, emeritus professor, Loma Linda University Medical School, among many others.

Additionally, the School of Population, Health, Nutrition & Wellness is preparing to offer a graduate Culinary Medicine Certificate that will take place fully online. The academic certificate program will start in the fall of 2022, school officers said.

The original version of this story was posted by Andrews University.

Moriah McDonald, Andrews University, and Adventist Review