As the Executive Director of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM), a position she has held for eight and a half years, Susan Benigas is helping to lead the effort to transform health and redefine healthcare, 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 an over 2000% growth in membership, now recognized by many as the nation’s fastest growing medical professional association. With nearly 9,000 members, Ms. Benigas leads a staff of 40, dedicated to executing and operationalizing the strategy of ACLM’s dynamic and visionary Board of Directors.
Prior to joining ACLM, Ms. Benigas 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 her 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.
Her 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, Ms. Benigas 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 Arizona chapter of the American Heart Association. She also serves as a member of the Blue Zones Well-Being Institute Luminary Leadership Advisory Committee. Her extensive volunteer service, which began as a teen when serving as the American Heart Association West Virginia State Youth Chairman and Chair of the West Virginia March of Dimes Teen Action Program, was recognized by Kentucky Governor John Y. Brown 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 experience and successful track record in the areas of organizational leadership, project management, strategic planning and marketing, public relations, development, and Internet-based solutions design and development have helped fuel the success of the organizations and endeavors in which she has held leadership positions.
Her life motto: Fearlessly, faithfully moving forward, leaving no stone unturned.