Advancing health through science, education and medicine

2018 ACSM Election

President-elect Candidate:

William (Bill) E. Kraus, M.D., FACSM
Richard and Pat Johnson
Distinguished University Professor
Duke University School of Medicine
Internal Medicine
Durham, NC

1.  Please list your previous service to ACSM.

I have been a member of ACSM for more than 35 years, and I am a Fellow of the College.  I served as a National Board Trustee from 2010 to 2013.  I have served as an ACSM Vice President during the terms 2016 to the present.  I was nominated by ACSM to serve on the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee for the 2008 report, and again for the report due in 2018.  The Committee develops the scientific statement informing the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.  I have served as liaison from ACSM to the American Heart Association’s Physical Activity Committee for the last four terms.  Representing the American Heart Association, I serve on the Board of Directors for the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance.

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

I am a physician scientist and integrative physiologist; I have spent my scientific and clinical careers devoted to the study and implementation of physical activity and exercise for the purposes of health promotion and its curative potential. Recognizing ACSM as the premier institution in these areas, I joined ACSM as a training medical student.  Since joining, I have had the great fortune to have advanced my career in the basic, applied and medical arenas.  I trained in molecular biology and animal models of exercise during my post-doctoral years. In 1998, I was fortunate to have funded my first interventional human study of dose response relationships between exercise and cardiometabolic risk (STRRIDE).  In 1994, I was appointed medical director of the Duke Cardiac Rehabilitation — a role in which I have served for the last 23 years. In 2016, I was honored to have received the Michael L. Pollock Established Investigator Award from the American Association of Cardiovascular Rehabilitation for my research work in the area of cardiac rehabilitation. For my entire career, ACSM has continued to serve as the premier institution for exercise science and a proponent for exercise for medical rehabilitation; however, ACSM has a great potential for further advancement.  With the publication of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans in 2008 — and soon in 2018 — there is now strong support to move regular physical activity promotion through policy and advocacy to the point that every American is engaged in recommended levels of regular physical activity.  This is a monumental task and, if we are going to see this come to fruition, we need to keep our eyes on the ball; the effort is currently being led by the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance.  ACSM is the managing partner for the Alliance. ACSM must continue to lead in this area and be seen as a strong advocate and leader among a number of institutions working together toward this same goal.  All the while, we must continue to improve the scientific content and rigor of the science presented at our premier annual scientific meeting.  As your elected President, I will continue to work vigorously toward these goals.

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? 

During the last ten years, ACSM has taken an international leadership role in the clinical application of exercise science through our Exercise is Medicine® initiative.  This has been a very powerful and successful endeavor for the College. Our roots for this effort lie at the very beginning of the college in my birth year — 1954 — with three of the eleven founders of ACSM; these included cardiologists Joseph Wolffe, Albert Hyman and Louis Bishop.  Soon thereafter, with his care of President Eisenhower following a heart attack while in office, Paul Dudley White brought attention to the central role of physical activity to promote recovery from myocardial infarction.  As a practicing preventive cardiologist, I believe that we must continue to lead in Exercise is Medicine by expanding our international reach and developing referring patterns for physicians to obtain meaningful physical activity counseling in the clinical setting. I believe that this must include the use of new wearable technology and mobile health tools.

4. What would be your first strategic priority as President of ACSM?

In addition to the goals mentioned above, there is an ignored area in which ACSM could and should lead — medical care of the post competitive athlete.  To date, and rightfully so, chronic post-traumatic encephalitis has received a lot of attention.  As we find ways of dealing with this issue, another will come to the fore.  Many of our competitive athletes — from college through professional sports, and particularly in the high-revenue sports — do not learn the lifestyle skills necessary to maintain their health through middle- and late-adult life after their highly structured competitive careers are over.  In too many of these athletes, after competition, follows an unrelenting deterioration of their metabolic health. There are no more apparent examples than the linemen and backfield players in football who are at risk of cardiovascular disease and death a good ten years earlier than their noncompetitive sedentary contemporaries!  I have seen too many in my cardiovascular clinic with overweight, obesity, diabetes, and other cardiometabolic abnormalities, including coronary heart disease and heart failure, who do not know how to work good lifestyle skills into their post-competitive lives to avoid these outcomes.  As President, I would like to see ACSM adopt this issue as an initiative that will cross all three major constituencies of the college — the basic, applied, and medical sciences.

5.  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 addition to being a Fellow of ACSM, I am also a Fellow of the American Heart Association (FAHA) and American College of Cardiology (FACC). I am a member of the American Association of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation. I have been a member of the American Heart Association’s Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health since its inception; have served as the chair of its Physical Activity Committee; and have served as program chair for its Spring Meeting, both during 2007-2009.  As previously noted, I also served on the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee that assembled the science in support of the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, and I am currently serving on the 2018 Guidelines Committee.  As the representative of the American Heart Association, I currently serve on the Board of Directors for the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance that seeks to operationalize these Guidelines for all Americans.

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