Elizabeth Frates

- MD

Dr. Elizabeth (Beth) Pegg Frates, is a physician as well as a certified health and wellness coach.  She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, as a double major in psychology and biology.  Then, she attended Stanford University Medical School where she chose the specialty of Physiatry.  Dr. Frates came back to Boston for her internship in internal medicine at MGH and her residency at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in the Harvard Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.  There, she served as chief resident and President of the National Resident Physician Committee for the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

During her residency, she performed research on topics that launched her career trajectory on the topic of patient and care giver knowledge and expectations for functional recovery after stroke. The results are published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in 2003. Finding there was a gap in patient and care giver knowledge, she co-authored a book to help fill this gap.  The book is titled Life After Stroke: The Guide to Recovering Your Health and Preventing Another Stroke (2006) Johns Hopkins University Press. Also, in residency Dr. Frates participated in research surveying physician on their personal exercise behavior and their exercise counseling behavior which was published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine in 2000. This work revealed that physician who exercise, counsel on exercise.  This study continues to be cited and replicated, reinforcing the need to educate and motivate physicians to embrace exercise as medicine for themselves and their patients.

In 2008, Dr. Frates started her formal journey into lifestyle medicine at the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine at Harvard Medical School where she created a lifestyle medicine interest group for the Harvard Medical School, which continues to thrive and has been replicated in many institutions including Stanford.  She serves at the Director of Medical Student Education at the ILM and for 7 years has been the co-director of the Harvard Medical School (HMS), CME Tools for Promoting Healthy Change and the assistant director of the HMS CME Active Lives.  Dr. Frates is an award winning teacher at Harvard Medical School earning distinctions for her tutorial facilitation work in multiple courses taught to the first and second year students at HMS including the Central Nervous System, Musculoskeletal System, Endocrine System and Introduction to the Profession of Medicine.  In the fall of 2014, she created and taught the first lifestyle medicine course at Harvard, Psych E 1037 Introduction to Lifestyle Medicine at the Harvard Extension School.  This course received rave reviews with an evaluation of 4.9 out of 5 for the course overall and for her as an instructor.  Dr. Frates is passionate about teaching.

Dr. Frates has trained in many different programs addressing behavior change in order to learn how to empower people to adopt healthy habits, those that prevent stroke and other lifestyle related diseases.  This training includes a certification in Motivational Interviewing from UMass, certification in health and wellness coaching (having studied four different programs including the Diabetes Prevention Program Lifestyle Coach), Mind Body Medicine with Dr. Herb Benson’s group, and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction with Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn’s group.  She has been actively involved with teaching evidence based wellness, healthy habits, stroke prevention as well as lifestyle medicine at the Harvard Medical School, Continuing Medical Education Conferences both nationally and internationally for years.  Dr. Frates founded her own wellness coaching company, Wellness Synergy in order to empower individuals and groups attain their optimal level of wellness.  In fact, she piloted wellness groups for stroke survivors and their caregivers at Spaulding a couple of years ago.  She has developed 12 Steps to Wellness, which has helped people move from sitting on the couch eating potato chips to walking and tracking their steps with pedometers and enjoying fruits and vegetables. In January 2015, she accepted the position of Director of Wellness Programming for the Stroke Institute at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital a Harvard Medical School Affiliate.

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