Live with all your HEART… About Us

Live with all your HEART… in COSTA RICA

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Hans Diehl, Dr.H.Sc., M.P.H.

Dr. Hans Diehl is the founder of the Lifestyle Medicine Institute in Loma Linda, CA, where he is also Clinical Professor of Preventive Medicine at Loma Linda University’s School of Medicine. The clinical results of his pioneering efforts  as a lifestyle interventionist with the Complete Health Improvement Project (CHIP) have been published in over 40 medical journals. His message is that people don’t have to die of our modern killer diseases.  Since most of these chronic diseases  are largely lifestyle-related, they are largely preventable.  His  educationally  intensive CHIP program has been conducted in several countries affecting entire cities, either “live” or via a sophisticated video set with certified CHIP facilitators. More than 80,000 CHIP graduates have learned how they can arrest and turn most of these lifestyle-related diseases, such as heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension, excess weight, and depression  around. As a National Institutes of Health-supported research fellow in cardiovascular epidemiology at Loma Linda University, Dr. Diehl  evaluated the impact of the Pritikin Longevity Center, where he directed the research and health education departments. 

Chosen as “one of America’s 20 super-heroes of the health movement” and inducted into the Hall of Fame of the North American Vegetarian Society, he offers more than 30 years of leadership in the emerging field of Lifestyle Medicine, which has become the latest American board-certified medical sub-specialty. More than two million copies of  his books, Health Power and You-Turn (co-authored with Aileen Ludington MD) are now in circulation in 32 languages.  He earned his doctorate in Health Science and an MPH in Public Health Nutrition from Loma Linda University. He has been married to Dr. Lily Pan for 47 years. Together they have two children: Byron, an orthodontist and Carmen, a clinical psychologist.


Susan Benigas

Susan has an exceptional track record in taking projects, business concepts and organizations from concept to execution.
She is an expert in the areas of: leadership, management, strategic planning, project coordination, communication and team building skills.
Susan brings 35 years of experience in organizational development, administration, marketing, communications strategy, and non-profit management.

Susan currently serves as the chief executive for the nation’s medical professional society for physicians, allied health professionals and healthcare executives committed to using lifestyle as a therapeutic intervention to treat, reverse and prevent disease. She has lead a growing team to support a multi-faceted organization that’s expanding exponentially to support its members in their individual practices and in their collective desire to promote Lifestyle Medicine as a first treatment option with their goal being: Lifestyle Medicine as the foundation of ALL healthcare both in the U.S. and globally. Learn more at

One of her recent accomplishments is the Plantrician Project. As founder and CEO, Susan lead the team in concept development and strategic planning for CME accredited live and eLearning educational tools and companion resources designed to meet the needs of physicians, allied health professionals and those they serve. She was responsible for brand and marketing strategies, with content development and creative direction of multi-media deliverables. Susan was also the co-founder of the International Plant-based Nutrition Healthcare Conference, a CME accredited medical education event focused on optimal dietary lifestyle. Learn more at and

During this retreat in Costa Rica, Susan will present vital information that will support the value and importance of the Lifestyle Medicine concepts.


John Kelly, MD, MPH

“Dr. John,” as he is affectionately called by patients and staff, is passionate about Lifestyle Medicine. Dr. Kelly completed his undergraduate education in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Shepherd College in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude as a McMurran Scholar. He then completed the Dual Degree Program at Loma Linda University, receiving his MD in 2000, and his MPH in Epidemiology in 2002 with honors. He completed residency training in Preventive Medicine in 2003 and received ABPM Board certification in January 2004. Dr. Kelly was also trained in massage and hydrotherapy by Dr. Charles Thomas, a master of physical medicine known for his hydrotherapy expertise.

Dr. Kelly received the American Medical Association’s Excellence in Medicine Award in 2004 as a Young Physician for his work in establishing the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, the medical specialty society for clinicians who specialize in the use of therapeutic lifestyle interventions in the treatment and management of disease. ( He served as the founding President for ACLM.

After completing medical training Dr. Kelly accepted an appointment as Assistant Research Professor in the Nutrition Department at Loma Linda University with the Lifestyle Research Initiative. He conducted a multi-center outcomes analysis of lifestyle centers in the U.S. and served as Co-PI for a multi-$million diabetes research project in the Marshall Islands. He continues to work with ongoing studies investigating the use of therapeutic lifestyle interventions in the treatment and management of type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and related chronic diseases. He has served as Medical Director for outpatient lifestyle programs in Maryland and Virginia. He presently serves as Medical Director for the Black Hills Lifestyle Medicine Center where he also conducts clinical training in intensive Lifestyle Medicine for licensed professionals (

Dr. Kelly enjoys sharing the scientific evidence for the use of lifestyle to treat and prevent disease with his patients, other practitioners, researchers and the public. He gives invited expert presentations on Lifestyle Medicine, Epigenetics and other topics internationally. He has also served as a Lifestyle Medicine expert consultant. Other interests include family life, Christian ministry, agriculture, hiking and camping, computing, and the origin of life.

Franco Marini

Franco Marini is a professor at the Daniels College of Business and works with the University of Denver on several educational experiential projects. He is the owner and director of Peak Empowerment, an organization committed to empowering individuals and organizations through exciting programs, activities and unique group challenges.  He also created and operates Global Journeys Inc., a travel-based company providing personal and professional growth through specialized travel offerings. One of Marini’s strongest attributes is his ability and knowledge of how to empower human development as it impacts the enhancement of individual strengths and results of an organization. One of his primary focal points is working with the attributes and contributions of individuals and empowering each participant to effectively break through barriers to achieve a level of being their very best. He will be leading some of the sessions on this retreat. As director and president of Peak Empowerment for the past fifteen years, Franco has a distinguished record of providing quality training to thousands of individuals. Some of the clients he has worked with include: Phillips Petroleum, McREL, BP, Kaiser Permanente,  Novartis, Intermountain Health, Colgate Palmolive, F.M.I., Daniels College of Business, the U.S. Air Force and Army, DeVry University, BNP Paribas, South Pole Expedition Team, Spectrum Health, Rocky Mountain Orthodontists, Castlewood Fire Department, Vital Yoga and others.

Kay LatchmanSingh is the main organizer and logistic expert of this retreat. Her background in international trade and finance and her attention to details will ensure that this will be a quality experience for all. She is in communication with everyone who is a part of this program and makes sure that all aspects of this endeavor are synchronized. Kay is also in charge of participant wellness and takes care of everyone from the time they register until they are back home. Kay is the co-owner and vice-president of Global Journeys. She provides a wealth of experience in travel and cultural connections. Kay was born and educated in British Guyana, moved to the U.S. and has traveled and worked with people in many European countries, Russia, Egypt, South Africa, British West Indies, and Central America. Her knowledge and connections with various cultures is a wonderful asset as she works with and teaches a variety of people. Her vision of providing service to those in need and doing so in a celebratory way certainly is the foundation of this retreat.  She will be leading some of the  sessions on this retreat.


26 CME credits as well as a Certificate of completion are available from Loma Linda University to participants of this program at NO COST to you.