Andreasen Center for Wellness, Photo credit: Darren Heslop 

March 31, 2022

Andrews University receives funding to start a lifestyle medicine clinic & training center

BERRIEN SPRINGS, Mich.—In October 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 work together to administer lifestyle interventions, patient assessments and other related services.  

The $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, MD, MPH, 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, PhD, MPH, 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, MD, MPH, 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 Ellen White: “In due course of time, a sanitarium will be erected at Berrien Springs, not to compete with my 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 anxious 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. However, a group of physicians and laymen became interested in the location for a sanitarium. They formed an organization known as the Berrien Acres Sanitarium, headed by Dr. 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 Mr. Hecht in exchange for property he owned adjoining the University farm. Hecht's property is now known as Muhammad Ali’s estate. Much of the interest in the sanitarium came from studies of Mrs. 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” magazine.) 

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, MD, MPH, Lifestyle Medicine specialist; Wayne Dysinger, MD, MPH, physician, founder and chair, Lifestyle Medical; Benjamin Lau, MD, PhD, emeritus professor, Loma Linda University Medical School; Esther Lau, MS, RDN; Susanne Montgomery, PhD, MPH, MS, associate dean for research, School of Behavioral Health and director of research, Behavioral Health Institute, Loma Linda University; Sherri Isaak, MS, RD, DipACLM, associate professor and director, Dietetics Internship, Andrews University School of Population Health, Nutrition & Wellness; Gretchen Krivak, MS, RD, director, Didactic Program in Nutrition & Dietetics, interim director, Fitness & Exercise Science, Andrews University School of Population Health, Nutrition & Wellness; Loida Medina, MD, primary care physician; and Melinda Nwanganga, DNP, board-certified family nurse practitioner. Emmanuel Rudatsikira, MD, DrPH, dean of the Andrews University College of Health & Human Services, was also instrumental in securing the funding for the Lifestyle Medicine Clinic & Training Center. 

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 fall 2022. 

Contact Padma P. Tadi Uppala for further information at

Founded in 1874, Andrews University is the flagship institution of higher education for the Seventh-day Adventist Church and offers more than 160 areas of study, including advanced degrees. Its main campus is in Berrien Springs, Michigan, but the University also provides instruction at colleges and universities in more than 25 countries around the world. 


Moriah McDonald, University Communication student writer