Advancing health through science, education and medicine

Trustee Candidate: Education & Allied Health

Ross Arena, Ph.D., FACSM
Professor and Department Head
University of Illinois-Chicago
Department of Physical Therapy
Chicago, IL

1.  Please list your previous service to ACSM.

Ethics and Professional Conduct Committee (2005-2007)
ACSM Liaison to AHA Exercise, Cardiac Rehabilitation and Secondary Prevention Committee, Clinical Cardiology Council (2009)
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise® Associate Editor (2005-2010)
Chair, Ethics and Professional Conduct Committee (2007-Present)
Associate Editor: ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 9th Edition (2013)

2.  What is ACSM’s greatest strength and how would you make that aspect of the organization even stronger.

Given the global rise in obesity and physical inactivity and its understood impact on population health, there is a growing consensus that action is needed.  It is clear that the current healthcare model and public policies are not successful in reducing obesity and increasing physical activity patterns in a number of countries.  Moreover, no one organization or health-minded profession can address these issues alone.  Rather, it is time for an “all hands on deck” philosophy to be embraced.  In my opinion, a key strength of ACSM is its position to be a leader in combating the obesity and physical inactivity epidemics.  This leadership takes numerous forms including: 1) Current ACSM members helping to formulate public policy and conduct high-impact research that will further elucidate the best strategies to reduce obesity and increase physical activity, 2) Spearhead initiatives, such as Exercise is Medicine®, that have high clinical relevance and impact, 3) Play a key role in training future generations of health and fitness professionals, educators and researchers who will continue to combat these global epidemics, and 4) Continue to publish position stands on topics relevant to weight loss and physical activity, such as two recently published papers entitled “Appropriate Physical Activity Intervention Strategies for Weight Loss and Prevention of Weight Regain for Adults” and “Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromotor Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults: Guidance for Prescribing Exercise”. 

My area of expertise and experience would be of service in further strengthening ACSM’s leadership role in combating obesity and physical inactivity.  I have published extensively on the importance of exercise capacity as it relates to prognosis.  I have also served as a committee chair or writing group member on numerous American Heart Association scientific statements and policy papers related to the importance of physical fitness and exercise.  These experiences have helped me to establish a global network of research, educational, and clinical collaborators, which, if elected, I would call upon to further ACSM led initiatives related to global health.  Moreover, having been trained in both exercise science and physical therapy, I have an appreciation and understanding of partnership.  If we are going to be successful in reversing obesity and physical activity trends on a population level, partnership with other professional organizations is essential.  My training and collaborative philosophy is a personal strength that in turn can help to further strengthen ACSM’s position.

3.  ACSM works closely with many other organizations, including associations, companies, philanthropies, and governmental agencies. Indicate those organizations/companies/agencies for which you play an advisory, consulting, or leadership role.

American Heart Association (Committee Service, Writing Groups)
American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (Board of Directors, Committee Service, Writing groups)
American Physical Therapy Association (Task force)
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (Special Volunteer)
University of Brasilia (International Associate Professor Appointment)
University of Milano (Visiting Professor Appointment)

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