Advancing health through science, education and medicine

2018 ACSM Election

Trustee Candidate: Health Equity/Inclusion/Diversity



Rebecca E. Hasson, Ph.D., FACSM
Assistant Professor 
Kinesiology and Public Health
University of Michigan
Department of Movement
Science/Nutritional Sciences
Ann Arbor, MI

1.  Please list your previous service to ACSM.

My research broadly focuses on the complex causes and consequences of racial/ethnic disparities in obesity and obesity-related metabolic complications among children and adolescents. More specifically, I am interested in understanding why these disparities exist by examining the interrelationships between environmental, behavioral and biological factors that contribute to metabolic health disparities in African-American, Latino, and non-Latino white youth. As director of the University of Michigan Childhood Disparities Research Laboratory, my research aims to reduce disparities in multiethnic pediatric populations through the design and implementation of physical activity interventions

I received my undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. After graduating, I completed a postdoctoral research at the University of Southern California Childhood Obesity Research Center and a second postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California at San Francisco Center on Social Disparities in Health as a W.K. Kellogg Health Scholar. Throughout my academic career, I have been extensively involved with the American College of Sports Medicine. I serve on ACSM’s Exercise is Medicine®.

Committee on Underserved Populations, Diversity Action Committee and I am Chair of ACSM's Strategic Health Initiative on Health Equity. Currently, I am leading ACSM’s efforts to reduce inequities in physical activity participation and authored the organization’s position paper on health equity. More recently, I was selected to be a Presidential appointee for the Task Force on Inclusion. With multidisciplinary training in exercise physiology, energy metabolism, pediatric endocrinology, health disparities, and social epidemiology, and with more than 10 years of service to ACSM, I have a unique set of skills and experience to address and promote health equity through the translation of research into policy.

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

ACSM’s greatest strength is its commitment to achieving equity in physical activity participation in the United States and around the globe. ACSM and its membership have produced a body of literature demonstrating clear and consistent evidence that regular physical activity is an important component of healthy lifestyles and is fundamental to promoting health and preventing disease. ACSM has also brought international attention to the problem of inactivity through its Exercise is MedicineÒ initiatives and Designed to Move campaign. Despite these efforts, global physical inactivity continues to rise. In addition, physical activity behavior is socially patterned with lower participation rates among women; racial/ethnic minorities; sexual minority youth; individuals with less education; persons with physical, mental, and cognitive disabilities; and individuals >65 yr of age. Given the opportunity to join the ACSM Board of Trustees, I will strengthen and enhance ACSM’s current efforts to achieve equity in physical activity participation by engaging more of its membership, especially those with expertise in underserved communities, to explore new ways to foster community engagement to produce measurable increases in physical activity participation.    

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.

My affiliations with other organizations include being the past-president of the Society for the Analysis of African American Public Health Issues (SAAPHI).

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