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The Lifestyle, Wellbeing and Health Behavior Working Group

The Lifestyle Working Group promotes lifestyle medicine in education, research, clinical services with the goal of improving physician competency in lifestyle medicine, and enhancing research collaboration around lifestyle medicine across UC San Diego.

Lifestyle Medicine includes:

  • Nutrition Science, Assessment and Prescription
  • Physical Activity Science and Prescription
  • Emotional and Mental Well-being, assessment and interventions
  • Sleep health science and interventions
  • Managing Tobacco cessation and other toxic exposures
  • The role of connectedness and positive psychology

Our goals include promoting Lifestyle Medicine and developing curricula involving Lifestyle Medicine throughout UC San Diego and into the local community. The Working Group leadership commenced in the Winter of 2017 with Drs. Linda Hill and Ken Vitale.  One of our first projects was to create an elective on Lifestyle Medicine at the School of Medicine, designed to develop competencies in fitness and performance assessments, exercise prescription, metabolic and cardiorespiratory function, bone health, body composition and balance across the lifespan. Trainees learn to apply these competencies into the delivery of medical care. Another project was integrating a mandatory lecture on exercise prescription into the medical curriculum. Students learn why promote exercise clinical practice, how to determine risk and readiness for exercise, how to evaluate fitness level, and how to write an exercise prescription. Future goals include expanding the medical school elective to incorporate UCSD Master of Public Health students, further improve medical school curriculum, and emphasize importance of physical activity as a tool for resilience & wellness to battle burnout which is occurring at high rates in physicians and students.

If you are interested in participating in any of these key activities, or for more information on Working Group meetings, please contact:

Lifestyle, Wellbeing and Health Behavior Working Group Co-Chairs


Deepa Sannidhi MD
UC San Diego Department of Family Medicine and Public Health
Division of Family Medicine

Deepa Sannidhi, MD, is a board-certified family medicine physician dedicated to practicing the full breadth of primary care and caring for patients of all ages, including children, adolescents, adults and seniors. Trained in preventive medicine, Dr. Sannidhi provides chronic disease management, and also focuses on prevention and treatment of disease through lifestyle and integrative medicine.

Dr. Sannidhi completed her family medicine residency training at Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington, N.J. and trained as a resident in the UC San Diego/San Diego State University preventive medicine program, where she also served as Chief Resident. She earned her medical degree from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and is board certified in Family Medicine and Lifestyle Medicine. She is a member of many professional organizations, including the California Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Preventive Medicine, the American College of Nutrition, and the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, where serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors.

Her expertise includes women’s health, integrative medicine, and lifestyle medicine. As a clinical instructor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, Dr. Sannidhi enjoys teaching residents and medical students at UC San Diego School of Medicine about lifestyle medicine and nutrition. Her research interests include obesity and behavior change.


Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialist (Sports Medicine, Sports Nutrition)
Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

Kenneth Vitale, MD, is a board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation physician who specializes in sports medicine and sports nutrition. As a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician (also known as a physiatrist), Dr. Vitale's expertise is in guiding individuals with orthopedic conditions through a variety of nonsurgical treatment options. As an Associate Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at UC San Diego School of Medicine, Dr. Vitale instructs medical students, residents and fellows on lifestyle and exercise medicine and public health.

Dr. Vitale earned his medical degree at NYU School of Medicine, and completed his residency at NYU Langone Health’s Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine. He is board certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation, with subspecialty certification in sports medicine. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and is also certified in fitness nutrition by the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

Dr. Vitale’s research interests include musculoskeletal ultrasound, platelet-rich plasma and stem cell injections, and sports nutrition.