Susan Benigas
Susan Benigas
Lifestyle Medicine, Organizational Management and Optimization
St. Louis
United States

As the executive director of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM), a position she has held since 2014, Susan is helping to lead the effort to transform health and redefine health care, not only in the United States but around the world through her work with the Lifestyle Medicine Global Alliance. During her tenure, ACLM has experienced extraordinary growth—from fewer than 400 members to what is now more than 10,000. Susan leads a staff of 40, dedicated to executing and operationalizing the visionary strategy of ACLM’s Board of Directors. ACLM’s foremost priority is to help fill the gaping void of lifestyle medicine, including food as medicine, in medical education—across the entire education continuum from UME and GME to CME.

Prior to joining ACLM, she co-founded the not-for-profit The Plantrician Project and the CME- accredited International Plant-based Nutrition Healthcare Conference, showcasing the science that supports the efficacy of whole food, plant-based nutrition for disease treatment, reversal and prevention. With exponential impact as the goal, The Plantrician Project was born from Susan’s passion for reaching medical professionals with the evidence that supports the efficacy of prescribing “food as medicine,” knowing that patients often look to their physicians and healthcare providers as the gatekeepers of dietary and lifestyle recommendations.

Susan’s work has spanned the gamut, from running political campaigns to serving in executive, senior management and consultant roles for organizations ranging from professional sports and media to healthcare technology and worksite health promotion.

An author and international speaker, Susan serves—or has served—on the boards of directors for the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine, The Plantrician Project, True Health Initiative, T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, Shape Up US, the State Center Community College Foundation, Hope Now for Youth, Athletes International Ministries, and the AZ chapter of the American Heart Association. She also serves as a member of the Blue Zones Well-Being Institute Luminary Leadership Advisory Committee and the NCCIH Whole Person Health Stakeholder Advisory Panel. Her extensive volunteer service, which began as a teen when serving as the American Heart Association WV State Youth Chairman and Chair of the WV March of Dimes Teen Action Program, was recognized by Kentucky Governor John Y. Brown in naming her, at the time, as the youngest Kentucky Colonel in the state’s history and by West Virginia Governor John D. Rockefeller naming her as an Outstanding West Virginian. She was honored to receive ACLM’s inaugural President’s Award in the fall of 2019.

Her life motto: Fearlessly, faithfully moving forward, leaving no stone unturned.