Trustee Candidate: International
Willem van Mechelen, M.D., Ph.D., FACSM
Professor and Department Head
VU University Medical Center
Department of Public and Occupational Health
1. Please list your previous service to ACSM.
As a medical doctor with a PhD in human movement studies, I have been attending the ACSM Annual Meeting since 1992, missing out on only one meeting. Ever since I have organized a number of symposia at the meeting, as well as presented my work in free presentations. My scientific work concerns the broad domain of sports, work, fitness and health. The emphasis of my work is on sports injury prevention, as well as worksite health promotion. In addition we conduct physical activity and training trials for patient groups, such as pregnant women, cancer patients and patients with famial hypercholesterolaemia. I have over the years participated in ad hoc meetings organized by ACSM f.i. linking ACSM initiatives of the WHO Europe supported HEPA network and the work of the International Society for Physical Activity and Health. Last example is the initiative to link ACSM’s Exercise is Medicine® to a similar initiative in Europe, to which I am instrumental. Finally, I have had a leadership role in the International Association for Worksite Health Promotion, an ACSM Affiliate Society.
2. What is ACSM’s greatest strength and how would you make that aspect of the organization even stronger?
I consider the greatest strength of ACSM its breadth. This breadth refers to the large number of different professionals that can feel at home with ACSM ranging from athletic trainers, physiotherapists and clinicians, to more fundamental scientists to health promotion and epidemiology. The breadth refers also to ACSM’s role in policy making, continuing education, advocacy, the organization of meetings and symposia and its international outreach activities.
As a person not living in North America I see my major contribution to ACSM in linking my international network and experience to ACSM. In the past I have been board or committee member of many international societies and organizations, such as ISPAH, IAWHP, HEPA Europe, WHO, IOC, ICPAFR, ECSS, FIMS and the European Commission. Because of this extensive international network I will be able to serve as a linking pin between ACSM and the international community of sports and exercise science and medicine.
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.
In order to advance sports medicine one needs to interact with the scientific community in a broad sense, but also with society at large. Over the years I have been and still am board member or associate editor of a number of peer-review journals in our field, such as Sports Medicine, British Journal of Sports Medicine, Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, Journal of Physical Activity and Health and the Journal of Sports Sciences. As a conference organizer of major international meetings held in Amsterdam (the 2005 ISBNPA meeting, the bi-annual 2008 meeting of ISPAH and the 2014 ECSS annual meeting) I have been interacting with corporate sponsors of these meeting, experiencing the challenge of Public-Private-Partnership. In the Netherlands I have held board positions of the Dutch Society for Epidemiology and the Dutch Sports Medicine Association. In addition I was the founding chairman of the Dutch Association for Human Movement Sciences. The experience I have gained from these roles will help me to serve ACSM as a member of its Board of Trustees.