Elizabeth (Beth) Pegg Frates, MD is a pioneer in lifestyle medicine education, is an award-winning teacher at Harvard, and currently works with patients to help them adopt and sustain healthy habits.
Dr. Frates graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, majoring in both psychology and biology. She then attended Stanford Medical School, interned at Mass General Hospital, and completed her residency in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School where she served as Chief Resident. After residency, Dr. Frates focused on stroke and specifically stroke prevention. After co-authoring a book titled Life After Stroke: The Guide to Recovering Your Health and Preventing Another Stroke, Dr. Frates spent a great deal of time lecturing and writing about health and prevention topics, including nutrition and exercise. Fascinated by how to empower people to adopt healthy habits, Dr. Frates pursued further training in behavior change through health and wellness coaching programs as well as motivational interviewing training. Dr. Frates sees patients through her private practice, Wellness Synergy, LLC.
In 2008, Dr. Frates developed the concept of a Lifestyle Medicine Interest Group (LMIG) for medical schools that do not currently offer a course on this topic and has been successfully running an LMIG at Harvard Medical School (HMS) since that time. These LMIGs offer a parallel curriculum for students interested in healthy habits to learn about basic concepts in lifestyle medicine through lunch and learn lectures. As Board Liaison for the Professionals In Training (PiT) at the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM), Dr. Frates has created standardized PowerPoints on Lifestyle Medicine Basics, Exercise Prescription, Nutrition, and Behavior Change for faculty and students wanting to launch their own LMIG at their school. Elected to the Board of Directors at ACLM, Dr. Frates is helping to define the scope of this new specialty. Furthermore, she was 1 of 4 item writers for the National Board Exam in lifestyle medicine.
Since 1996, Dr. Frates has been on faculty at Harvard Medical School and has won multiple teaching awards for her work in many different pre-clinical core courses including nutrition, musculoskeletal system, central nervous system, endocrine system, and introduction to the professions. Most recently, Dr. Frates created a college curriculum on lifestyle medicine for a Harvard Extension School undergraduate and graduate-level course. This is the first full semester lifestyle medicine course offered at Harvard University. Beth received an award for her teaching in this course, and the course was chosen as a case study for successful courses at the Harvard Extension School. Her syllabus is now available online as a template for a lifestyle medicine curriculum through the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. And, she has co-authored a book titled The Lifestyle Medicine Handbook: An Introduction to the Power of Healthy Habits, which was published in October 2018.
Merging her training in physical medicine and rehabilitation with her training in lifestyle medicine and coaching, Dr. Frates has developed novel wellness programs for stroke survivors and their caregivers based on lifestyle medicine principles (nutrition, exercise, stress reduction, connection). Currently, Dr. Frates serves as the Director of Wellness Programming at the Stroke Institute for Research and Recovery at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, a Harvard Medical School Affiliate.
Dr. Frates’ interest in and passion for wellness started well before medical school. When Dr. Frates was 18 years old, her father suffered a heart attack and a stroke. He was only 52 at the time. This event sparked her interest in medicine, Physiatry, and stroke, in particular. In fact, her father's experience continues to ignite Dr. Frates's passion for health, healing, and wellness. She is the co-author of, Life After Stroke: The Guide to Recovering Your Health and Preventing Another Stroke, Johns Hopkins Press (2006). Merging her physiatry training and her wellness coaching, Dr. Frates is helping to launch wellness groups for stroke survivors at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.
Inspired by her own father’s story of recovery and lifestyle change after suffering a heart attack and stroke at age 52, Dr. Frates has forged forward in the field of lifestyle medicine with the goal of helping people adopt and sustain healthy habits. When her father passed away at 79, Dr. Frates and her family created the Donald A. Pegg Award which funds students to start Lifestyle Medicine Interest Groups (LMIGs) in their professional schools and provides a stipend for them to travel to the national American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) Meeting.