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Lifestyle Medicine for Stress Management

Course Description | Faculty | Accreditation | General Information

Course Description

Acknowledgement: This course is co-sponsored by the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine.

"Stress" is a common patient complaint and chronic stress related symptoms can directly or indirectly account for a substantial proportion of primary care office visits. Adapting to excess stress may give rise to negative coping strategies such as poor diet, smoking and increased alcohol consumption. A NEJM review article on the damaging effect of stress mediators notes that these significant lifestyle changes can in turn worsen the medical effects of chronic stress [McEwen BS. Seminars in medicine of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: protective and damaging effects of stress mediators. N Engl J Med 1998;338(3):171-179]. In addition, positive lifestyle factors such as exercise, sleep and social connectivity are often negatively impacted when individuals feel overwhelmed. Therefore, via several pathways, unmitigated chronic stress can put the individual at significantly increased risk for stress related medical conditions such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, alcohol abuse or depression.

Simple and effective office based behavioural interventions and resources for stress management are available for primary care physicians but are often under utilized.

Via an engaging and interactive case study, this course seeks to train physicians to effectively coach their patients toward positive stress management choices. The case study takes place over several office visits with each encounter presenting a common stress related problem.

Original Release: 8/26/2008
Most Recent Update: 9/23/2014
Termination Date: 9/23/2017

NUMBER OF CREDIT HOURS: The Harvard Medical School designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

This course should take approximately 1 hours to complete.

COST: COST: $25.00


  1. Train physicians to effectively recommend stress management and lifestyle medicine interventions for their patients.
  2. Assess key issues in the patient’s presentation.
  3. Identify current positive and negative lifestyle factors influencing an individual’s response to a significant stressor.


  1. Identify screening tools for common psychiatric disorders that may present with stress-related symptoms.
  2. Understand the significance of negative coping mechanisms and their implications for treatment planning.
  3. Formulate appropriate initial and long-term behavioral treatment plans.
  4. Review the role of pharmacological treatments in stress management.
  5. Understand and identify significant patient adherence factors in lifestyle and behavior interventions.


Registrants participate in the learning process by answering interactive multiple choice questions that are dispersed throughout the case presentation. You must answer a question correctly in order to continue through the course. If you answer a question incorrectly, you will be prompted to try again.

In order to earn credit, physicians must complete the entire educational activity before the termination date (see above). Non-physicians may register for the course but are not eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Instead, non-physicians will earn a certificate of participation after successfully completing the course before its termination date.


This internet enduring material is a case-based, interactive presentation comprised mainly of text, interactive questions, and images. A variety of media, including video clips, audio clips, and Flash animation, may be presented. Links to any necessary plugins are provided when necessary, but no plugins are required for general use of the CME website, and you may skip the multimedia presentation(s) within the course if you choose.

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Course Co-Director
Edward M. Phillips, MD, is an Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. He is the Director of Outpatient Medical Services of the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Network in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Phillips’ clinical and academic work at the intersection of exercise physiology and mental health spawned his interest in Lifestyle Medicine. He is founder and director of The Institute of Lifestyle Medicine in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. Additionally, Dr. Phillips serves on the American College of Sports Medicine task force that has initiated and developed the Exercise is Medicine program. His book on the topic, Exercise is Medicine, The Clinician's Guide to the Exercise Prescription was published by Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins in early 2009.

Johnson & Johnson, consultant, Health and Wellness Merck, consultant

Course Co-Director
Dr. Stewart-Patterson has practiced Occupational Medicine since 1989. He provided occupational medical services to municipal Fire Rescue Services, RCMP, and Canadian Armed Forces among other organizations. His clinical practice includes frequently providing fitness to work assessments. He specializes in fitness to work evaluations for safety critical/sensitive occupations such as police, firefighters, correction officers, sheriffs and railway personnel. He frequently lectures both locally and internationally on medical and psychiatric disability evaluation including a series of lectures at Harvard Medical School Dubai Center. He is an instructor for the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine lecturing on assessment of disability and fitness to work. Dr Stewart-Patterson is a clinical instructor in the Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia.

Company: Viewpoint

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Eric (Rick) Leskowitz MD, ABHM is a consultant psychiatrist to the Pain Management Program at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston. A board-certified psychiatrist, he holds appointments with the Departments of Psychiatry at Harvard and Tufts Medical Schools. He has studied energy healing, meditation and hypnosis for over 20 years, and has presented workshops nationally and internationally on the integration of subtle energy techniques and theories with the allopathic medical model. He serves on the Advisory Boards of three journals, and has written widely for medical and lay journals; a collection of his papers entitled Energy Medicine: The Dynamics of Subtle Energy in Health and Disease is available from the author. He has also edited two textbooks: Transpersonal Hypnosis: Gateway to Body, Mind and Spirit (CRC Press, 2000) and Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Rehabilitation (Churchill Livingstone, 2003). His documentary film, “The Joy of Sox: Weird Science and the Power of Intention” is now in production.

Reported no relevant financial relationships with commercial entities

Dr. Parks is a Harvard trained clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist and works as a clinician and post doctoral neuropsychology training director at McLean Hospital. She completed her graduate work at the University of Pittsburgh. She has a private practice offering psychotherapy, evaluation and personal coaching services to people with a wide variety of needs. Dr. Parks has special interests in healing and motivation through personal coaching. In 2006 she traveled through India with a Lifestyle Medicine Conference serving as a Harvard Medical School faculty member. She taught Indian health professionals about the power of using the principles of personal coaching and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in their practice to motivate patients to lead healthier lives. Dr. Parks is on the Advisory Board of a newly formed nonprofit organization, There and Back Again: Navigating life after war, a privately funded group offering reintegration support services to veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Reported no relevant financial relationships with commercial entities

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Course Planners
Dr. Sanjiv Chopra is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is also the the James Tullis Firm Chief in the Department of Medicine and a Senior Consultant in Hepatology at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston. He served as Faculty Dean for Continuing Education at HMS for 12 years. Dr. Chopra has more than 150 publications and seven books to his credit. Dr. Chopra is Editor-in-Chief of the Hepatology Section of UpToDate, the most widely used electronic textbook in the world subscribed to by more than 850,000 physicians in 149 countries. He is also the recipient of numerous awards and accolades. For a complete bio, click here.

Reported no relevant financial relationships with commercial entities

Andi Long directs the Department of Continuing Education’s Distance Learning group, which offers a variety of online continuing medical education programs to health care professionals around the world. Andi develops strategies for new pilot programs and systematically rolls out new distance learning initiatives and has a leadership role in IT planning and other online processes for HMS DCE. She oversees the day-to-day operations of each distance learning activity and ensures ACCME compliance across all enduring programs. She has had the privilege of working with hundreds of Harvard Medical School Faculty members to develop high-quality, engaging online programs that physicians in more than 170 countries have taken part in. Andi earned her Ed.M. in Technology, Innovation, and Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education and graduated from Bridgewater State College with a degree in English. Her professional interests focus on teaching and learning with new technologies and online course development.

Reported no relevant financial relationships with commercial entities

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The Harvard Medical School is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The Harvard Medical School designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

This course should take approximately 1 hours to complete.

Within 2 weeks of completing the course, you will receive your certificate via email.

Click the image to view a sample of the certificate

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General Information


Any computer running Windows, Mac OS, or Unix machines are supported.

Internet Connection
Your computer should be configured to access the Internet. A high speed internet connection may be required to view some of the large multimedia files.

Firefox or Internet Explorer 5.5 or higher are recommended. JavaScript and cookies must be enabled.

Some of the multimedia resources in this course require Apple Quicktime, RealMedia, or a Flash player. You will be prompted to download the appropriate plugin when necessary. No plugins are required for general use of the CME website, and you may skip the multimedia presentation(s) within the course if you choose.


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