School of Medicine Publications and Presentations


Reforming Women's Health Care: A Call to Action for Lifestyle Medicine Practitioners to Save Lives of Mothers and Infants

Document Type


Publication Date



Maternal and infant mortality are fundamental indicators of a society's health and wellness. These measures depict a health crisis in the United States. Compared with other rich countries, women in the United States more frequently die from pregnancy or childbirth, and infants are less likely to survive to their first birthday. Most of these deaths are preventable; disproportionately affect diverse, low-income groups; and are perpetuated by social and health care inequities and subpar preventive care. Lifestyle medicine (LM) is uniquely positioned to ameliorate this growing crisis. The article presents key prescriptions for LM practitioners to build health and health equity for women. These prescriptions, summarized by the acronym PURER, include action in the areas of (1) practice, (2) understanding/empathy, (3) reform, (4) empowerment, and (5) relationship health. The PURER approach focuses on partnering with diverse female patients to promote resilience, promoting social connection and engagement, facilitating optimal family planning and advocating for culturally responsive, equitable health care systems. Through PURER, LM practitioners can help women and partners resiliently overcome the harmful challenges of discrimination and stress characterizing present-day American life. Over time, the equitable and collective practice of LM can help ameliorate the health care barriers undermining the health of women, families, and society.


Copyright © 2019 The Author(s)

Publication Title

American journal of lifestyle medicine



Academic Level


Mentor/PI Department

Internal Medicine