Taking lifestyle medicine to the next level

Local doctor brings 20 years of experience to Lake Nona’s new world-class fitness center

November 20, 2020

Taking lifestyle medicine to the next level 1

Meet Dr. Sharon Wasserstrom – a Laureate Park resident, UCF Health Practitioner, and the new Medical Director for the Lake Nona Performance Club (LNPC).

Dr. Wasserstrom is a board-certified internal and lifestyle medicine doctor who is passionate about teaching others how to implement wholistic lifestyle changes for better health and wellness.

In her new role, she will be doing all that and more at the Lake Nona Performance Club. Currently under construction in Lake Nona Town Center, The 130,000-square-foot facility is expected to open in July 2021 with world-class, integrative programs and services unlike any other in the region.

The center will provide a tailored approach to whole-person health featuring state-of-the-art equipment and exercises, an indoor aquatics facility, a range of boutique-style experiences, on-site massage therapy and acupuncture, a demonstration kitchen, and so much more.

In this Q&A, Dr. Wasserstrom shares her vision for LNPC and how the facility will take lifestyle medicine to the next level in Lake Nona.

Tell us more about your background and what led you to Lake Nona.

When I became a physician in 2000, I knew I wanted to be able to counsel my patients on how they could prevent, treat, or reverse diseases through healthy lifestyle changes – how we eat, sleep, exercise, socialize, etc.

Medical school focuses mostly on other treatment modalities, so I learned more about wholistic health at Columbia University’s Institute of Human Nutrition. Then I heard about the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, an organization dedicated to addressing the root causes of disease with evidence-based therapies in lifestyle behaviors such as diet, exercise, sleep, social connectivity, and stress. I became board certified in Lifestyle Medicine by the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine in 2017 along with 204 other physicians. 

About five years ago, my brother-in-law moved to Laureate Park and told us all about the Lake Nona lifestyle. I was hooked by Lake Nona’s focus on wellness, Medical City, and the community’s plans for the future – including LNPC. I knew moving here would be a great place for me to implement lifestyle medicine.

What are your responsibilities as the Medical Director at LNPC? 

As medical director, my role includes providing clinical direction and guidelines for LNPC and its staff, acting as a club spokesperson, co-chairing the LNPC Medical Advisory Council, and more.

The advisory council will be made up of other local health professionals who will serve as a resource for referring physicians, provide medical oversight, review safety protocols, and create programs based on community need. On the council, we will also be responsible for planning and promoting free educational events for the community.

What is your vision for LNPC will serve its members and the larger community?

My vision for LNPC is to help make wellness more accessible and achievable on a community level. We know that a healthy lifestyle is good and we know what nutrition and exercise to recommend, but how patients implement those things in their daily lives is not always tangible or available.

LNPC will be a great resource for community education, workplace wellness programs, and local physicians who can send their patients to the club to learn the tools to implement lifestyle changes.

What makes LNPC unique?

LNPC’s location near the VA, Nemours and the UCF College of Medicine is unique in that it provides a great place for educating medical professionals and students. Around the country, there are very few programs that teach the amount of nutrition you need to know to counsel patients on positive lifestyle changes. The programs are usually more focused on how much medication you should give or what procedure you might do. In terms of common chronic illnesses, many are lifestyle driven so the first step toward restoring health should be to try lifestyle changes.

At LNPC, medical students will have the chance to learn and see the benefits of those lifestyle changes. For example, students will be able to follow a participant for six months as they implement lifestyle changes and see what happens to that person’s blood pressure, sugar levels, etc. The club will also be unique with virtual access to wellness activities, eight-week programs for groups with common health concerns, and free community events.

What LNPC feature are you most excited for?

Swimming is my go-to exercise, so I’m really looking forward to the indoor pool. I’m also excited to try different mindfulness meditations like Tai Chi. I’ve been practicing yoga consistently for 10 years and since we moved here, I’ve been going to Saturday morning yoga in Crescent Park.

Another thing I’m excited for that’s also unique about LNPC is our demo kitchen. Culinary medicine has recently become a passion of mine and as a plant-based doctor, I help a lot of my patients eat more whole foods. In lifestyle medicine, it’s important to learn how to incorporate healthy nutrients and that’s what we’ll teach in the demo kitchen. We’ll also offer a culinary medicine program for med students.

For more information on LNPC including membership details, visit www.lakenonaperformanceclub.com and follow LNPC on Facebook and Instagram.

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