Advancing health through science, education and medicine

Vice President Candidate:

Dianne Ward, Ed.D., FACSM
Professor of Nutrition and Leader
Children's Healthy Weight Research Group
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 

1.  Please list your previous service to ACSM.

Montoye Scholar, SEACSM, 2013
Board of Trustees, ACSM, 2007-2010
Credentials Committee, ACSM, 2002-2005
SEACSM, President, 1998
SEACSM, President Elect, 1997
Membership Committee, ACSM, 1993-1996
Healthy People 2000 ACSM State Coordinator, 1991-1995
Chairperson, Visiting Scholar Committee, SEACSM, 1990-1991
Newsletter Coordinator, Southeast American College of Sports Medicine, 1990
Executive Board Member, SEACSM, 1987-1990
Reviewer, ACSM Annual meeting abstracts
Reviewer, SEACSM Annual meeting abstracts
Member, ACSM
Member, SEACSM

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

ACSM’s greatest strength is the internationally respected voice of our diverse membership:  people who represent all fields of exercise, sport, and physical activity.  More the 45,000 members make ACSM the world’s largest organization dedicated to sports medicine and exercise science.  We support basic scientists who study genetics and foundations of human function, applied researchers who investigate the limits of human performance, and sports medicine physicians who maintain the highest quality of physical conditioning of amateur and professional athletes.  My own training prior to joining ACSM was diverse, and I have grown intellectually through the broad prospective offered by ACSM publications and professional meetings. Academically, I received degrees in physical education (BS, MS, EdD) with a focus primarily on promotion of physical activity.  I enhanced my educational experiences with post-doctoral training in cardiovascular physiology and pediatric exercise.  This enhanced perspective has allowed me to successfully pursue my academic career and to develop innovative programs that promote physical activity and prevent obesity in children and adolescents.  

This same diversity of professional focus, from basic to applied research and from education to medicine, provides ACSM its strong voice.  Instead of narrowing its focus, ACSM should continue to increase its presence nationally and internationally, speaking with authority derived from the high quality of our science, advocating increased access to physical activity in communities and schools, and urging stronger and safer sports programs—amateur as well as professional.  We should urge Congress to increase funding for exercise science and sports medicine research (basic and applied) and to recognize the importance of increased physical activity as a research outcome.  We must insist that worksites and schools encourage physical activity through policy and environmental support. The importance of regular physical activity to all segments of society must be emphasized.  ACSM can only do this by maintaining and extending its reach from laboratory science to public policy.

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?

As the leading international exercise and sports medicine organization, ACSM should advocate greater access to exercise, sport, and physical activity opportunities for the world’s citizens. Through scientific endeavors in research labs, educational programs in conferences and classrooms, and the application of medical science to sport, ACSM develops and promotes a knowledge base that influences national and international health recommendations.  However, the membership of our organization must reflect the world it represents.  We should recruit and retain professionals who represent different races, cultures, and ethnicities, and we should create a clear role for our international members. My experiences on the ACSM Membership Committee, and as president and board member of the Southeast Chapter, were insightful into the problems associated with membership demographics.  Serving as dean and associate dean at two schools of public health prepared me for the challenges of increasing diversity and broadening international representation among our membership.

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.

At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), I am Professor of Nutrition and a member of the Intervention and Policy Division. Within the department, I serve as Associate Director of the Diet, Physical Activity, and Body Composition Core of the NIH-funded Nutrition Obesity Research Center.  At UNC, I hold research associate appointments in the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, the Linberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Center Clinical Nutrition Research Unit, the Highway Safety Research Center, and the Center for Developmental Science.  In addition to ACSM, I am a fellow in The Obesity Society, a member of the International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, the American Society for Nutrition (ASN), the Society for Behavioral Medicine, and am a member of the board for the North American Society for Pediatric Exercise Medicine (NAPSEM).

I have been continuously funded by NIH for over 20 years and currently hold two RO1s.  My research has also been funded by the CDC, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and North Carolina Blue Cross and Blue Shield.  Regularly, my service is requested on study sections and I recently completed a multi-year appointment as a standing member of Community Influences on Health.  In addition to NIH, I am frequently requested to review grants by other national and international organizations.  I have served as a consultant to many groups such as the CDC, the Nemours Health Foundation, the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition, the Altrium Institute, and the California Center for Physical Activity.

My research requires an interdisciplinary approach as well as community engagement.  I currently work with colleagues from Duke University’s Department of Family and Community Medicine, NC State’s College of Design, the Exercise Science Department at the University of South Carolina, and Brown University’s Department of Nutrition.  

I currently serve as co-coordinator for the Early Care and Education Workgroup (supported by RWJF’s Healthy Eating Research), a member of the steering committee for Nemour’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Future Advisory Board, and as a member of the advisory panel for the Education sector for the National Physical Activity Plan.  Along with members of my research group (UNC Children’s Healthy Weight Research Group), I serve as a key member of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Child Care initiative.

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