Advancing health through science, education and medicine

2018 ACSM Election

Vice President Candidate: 

John Jakicic, Ph.D., FACSM
Distinguished Professor and Chair
Department of Health and Physical Activity
Director, Healthy Lifestyle Institute
Director, Physical Activity and Weight Management
Research Center 
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA

1.  Please list your previous service to ACSM.

I have been a member of ACSM since 1989 and I have attended every national meeting since that time. My initial service to ACSM began at the regional chapter level where I served as the student representative, a member-at-large, and then as the president-elect. I have served the organization at the national level as an associate editor for Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise®, the Program Committees for both the Annual Meeting and the Health & Fitness Summit, and the Board of Trustees. My committee service has included the Health and Science Policy Committee, chair of the Strategic Health Initiative for Behavior, Scientific Integration and Leadership Committee, and chair of the Strategic Health Initiative for Obesity. I also served as the program lead for the 2016 World Congress on Energy Balance, and have been a contributing author to numerous ACSM-endorsed publications including the ACSM Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription and ACSM position papers. Thus, my service to ACSM and the regional chapters has been extensive, and I continue to engage in these service opportunities. These experiences provide me a broad perspective and a history of the organization that can inform me in the role as vice president.

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

ACSM was founded as a group of physical educators and physicians who recognized the importance of lifestyle factors to optimize health, with a key behavior being physical activity. ACSM has since expanded to include numerous areas of focus while still remaining strong in its roots, and one strength of the organization is a central focus that is considered from diverse perspectives and interests.  This allows professionals and students to come together on the same platform to share diverse ideas in a manner that is unmatched in professional organizations. However, with this strength comes both challenges and opportunities for ACSM that can further strengthen the organization. I feel that there is a need for further transdisciplinary collaboration within the organization to bring health care providers, clinical scientists, basic scientists, and health-fitness professionals together around key issues of health and translational science. ACSM provides an ideal platform to encourage and to support this type of important and challenging work.  

 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?

An important area of focus for ACSM has been the mentoring of students and young professionals. I feel strongly that this needs to continue because students and young professionals are the future of ACSM and the field of exercise science and sports medicine. However, we are at a time when finding resources to support these young and promising professionals is becoming more and more challenging.  There is a need for ACSM to take steps to enhance the opportunities for these young professionals to develop into the next generation of thought leaders in our field. To me it is important that these young professionals are active participants when attending professional meetings and are given the opportunity to present their research, interact in a meaningful way with leaders in ACSM, and gain an appreciation for the strengths of ACSM as a transdisciplinary organization. I believe that there is a need to enhance the funding available to students and junior colleagues for research and for travel to professional meetings, and for engagement of these young professional in key initiatives within ACSM. The future of ACSM is in the next generation of professionals, and I feel that ACSM should expand its investment in these individuals to enhance their development and contributions to the field of exercise science and sports medicine. 

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.

I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to support the importance of physical activity and a healthy lifestyle across a number of venues.  I have represented the interests of ACSM in my engagement in other professional organizations that have included The Obesity Society, Society of Behavioral Medicine, American Heart Association, and American Society of Nutrition.  An example is that I have assisted in forming a collaboration between ACSM and The Obesity Society to have an ACSM-focused session at Obesity Week each of the past 4 years. I also provide service at the national level by serving on Study Section for the National Institutes of Health, serving in other capacities for the National Institutes of Health, and as a member of the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee. Throughout all of these opportunities I have championed efforts to encourage the importance of physical activity in discussions pertaining to optimal health. In my view, it is important that physical activity as a key lifestyle behavior be represented in these venues that are outside of ACSM. Physical activity needs to be a part of all discussions surrounding opportunities to optimize health and to prevent disease.  

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