Advancing health through science, education and medicine

2018 ACSM Election

Trustee Candidate: Education & Allied Health


Olivia Affuso, Ph.d., FACSM
Associate Professor
University of Alabama Birmingham
Department of Epidemiology
Birmingham, AL

1.  Please list your previous service to ACSM.

I attended my first ACSM meeting in 1999 as a master’s degree student and became a professional member in 2006.  I have had the opportunity to serve on several committees at the national level.  I have served on the Interest Group Forums committee for the past 3 years and am now the chair of this committee.  I also am a member of the Minority Health and Research Special Interest group in which I served as chair/co-chair from 2011 through 2013. I currently provide and maintain the website for the Minority Health and Research Special Interest group. In addition, I have served on the Membership committee and, in an ad-hoc capacity, on the Publications committee.  My other service includes providing mentorship through the Leadership and Diversity Training Program.

As an associate professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, my primary research interest is understanding the roles of social networks in the promotion and sustainability of physical activity in women and girls, particularly from underrepresented groups. I have received funding for my research from the National Institutes of Health as well as from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  I also serve in the Community Level Health Promotion Study Section of the National Institutes of Health and as the Associate Director of Public Health for the UAB Center for Exercise Medicine where my primary focus is on community outreach.

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

The greatest strength of ACSM is the diversity of its membership which ranges from students to clinicians and researchers across a wide variety of disciplines aimed at improving the health, fitness and performance of the population.  The ability to network with such a diverse group of professionals and students has been a great benefit to my research career and leadership opportunities. I am committed to providing leadership to the College particularly in the areas of recruitment and development of future leaders in the College.  Finally, I am committed to advancing the science of exercise and physical activity promotion to improve population health and the training of the next generation of sports medicine professionals.

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.

I am a member of several university-wide centers at UAB where I provide expertise on measurement of physical activity and body composition as well as conduct of community-based physical activity interventions.  I have been the associate director of public health for the Center for Exercise Medicine, and an associate scientist for the Nutrition Obesity Research Center, the Minority and Health Disparities Research Center, and the Obesity Health Disparities Research Center. I am also a member of the Society for Behavior Medicine and Active Living Research.  In addition to these professional organizations, I am a board member for Girls on the Run Metro Birmingham and I co-lead the Outdoor Afro Birmingham local affiliate.

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