Advancing health through science, education and medicine

Vice President Candidate:

Walter Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM

Regents' Professor and Associate Dean
for Graduate Studies and Research
College of Education
Georgia State University
Atlanta, GA

1. Please list your service to ACSM.

As an undergraduate student in 1978, my mentors at Wake Forest University (Henry Miller and Paul Ribisl) suggested I join what they described as the “most influential sports medicine and exercise science professional organization in the world”.  They were right then and they are right now.  Dr. Miller went on to become ACSM president in 1981 and nominated me for Fellow in 1988 after receiving a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University where I studied under another ACSM leader and pioneer scientist, Ed Fox.  In these past 35 years, I have been privileged to serve alongside some of the world’s preeminent scientists and practitioners on a number of strategic ACSM committees including chairing the International Relations Committee, the Publications Committee, the Committee on Certification and Registry Boards, the American Fitness Index Advisory Board, the Exercise is Medicine® Certification Committee and other Task Forces and ad hoc committees.  In 2005 I was elected by the ACSM membership to serve on the Board of Trustees and was twice elected by the Board to the Administrative Council.  My committee work goes back to 1983, when I was appointed a member of the ad hoc Committee for Internal and External Review of Cardi­ac Rehabilitation Programs in Clinics and Hospitals, followed by membership on the Govern­ment Affairs Committee, Healthy People 2000 Committee, ad hoc Committee on Health and Fitness Professional Membership, Olympic and Paralympic Sports Medicine Issues Committee, Task Force on ACSM’s National and International Alliances and Presidential Task Force for defining Exercise Physiologist.  For the past 35 years, I have attended all Annual Meetings (with the exception of the 1979 Annual Meeting in Honolulu) and Regional Meetings while presenting or chairing a scientific session at each one.  ACSM has been and continues to be my professional home. 

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

Today, as in 1954 when ACSM was founded by a small group of scientists and practitioners at The Hotel Statler in New York City, it is the members of ACSM that makes this organization like no other in the world, and these members are its greatest strength.  Much like the founders, the diverse membership today reflects an extensive array of scientists, professionals, experts, authorities and their students who are our future.  These differences in academic, medical and scientific disciplines have produced some of the most comprehensive studies of exercise, health, and movement which are reflected in the categorically high impact factor of the ACSM flagship journals, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise® and Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews.  Having served two terms as the Chair of the ACSM Publications Committee and traveled extensively throughout the world representing ACSM, I have consistently received the message that these journals are the most respected in the world.  Wherever I travel, people want to know “what does ACSM have to say about…”, and the list is extensive. 

3.  What is a second area of ACSM that you would like for the College to make additional progress, and how could that best be done?

Because of the great diversity within the ACSM membership and its growing international reputation, more progress can be made to be fully integrated into other international professional organizations and societies.  ACSM should capitalize on its attractiveness to international membership and partner with scientific organizations around the world.  A formal relationship can be developed with international sport organizations (such as the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee, and the Fédération Internationale de Médécine du Sport, FIMS), continent-specific organizations (like the European College of Sports Science and the Asian Council of Exercise and Sports Science), and national organizations (such as the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology and the Chinese Association of Sports Medicine).  Additional progress developing these formal relationships will further ACSM's pathway to global recognition and influence. 

4. 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.

International Paralympic Committee (Member, Sports Science Committee)
International Convention on Science, Education & Medicine in Sport (ICSEMIS), Glasgow 2012, Rio de Janeiro 2016 (Member, International Coordinating Committee and Member, Scientific Committee)
NSF International Council of Public Health Consultants (Chair, Joint Committee on Health Fitness Facilities)
Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs-Committee on Accreditation for the Exercise Sciences (Member and Past Chair)
ACSM American Fitness Index (Chair, Advisory Board)
After-School All-Stars Atlanta (Executive Director)
Wellcoaches Corporation (Founding Advisor)
Fellow, American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation
Fellow, Research Consortium, American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance

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