In 1954, ACSM founders recognized that a successful organization addresses the needs of its constituency with the support of membership and leadership from different backgrounds who bring multiple perspectives to governance. Founding members represented both genders and diverse training backgrounds. Today, our membership is more diverse than at any time in history. For over two decades, ACSM has intentionally focused on increasing organizational diversity with new initiatives, task forces, and committees. In 2006, I helped establish the ACSM Joint Symposium on Diversity Action, which has engaged nine national partners including powerful organizations like NATA and NSCA, who share our goals. Together, our work has resulted in enhanced diversity in programming and membership. In 2011, I helped lead the ACSM Health Equity Think Tank, which hosted guests from 13 organizations including the CDC Physical Activity Branch and the National Medical Association. These partnerships resulted in our ongoing work toward developing a health equity certificate and guidelines to address health equity, which is now a key performance indicator in ACSM’s strategic plan.
For 23 years, I have had the extraordinary opportunity to support ACSM initiatives including being inaugural chair of the Office of Scientific Integrity and Social Responsibility, and working on many boards and committees such as ActivEarth, American Fitness Index, Board of Trustees, Exercise is Medicine Advisory Board, EIM® for Underserved Populations, Health and Fitness Summit Program, Membership, Nominating, SHI-Health Equity, Student Affairs, and the 2018 Capital Campaign Cabinet (Individual and Population Health Team Captain).
I was elected a 2014-2016 ACSM Vice-President and served on the Administrative Council, Awards and Tributes, Budget and Finance, Program, and Strategic Planning committees. Elected Vice- Presidents also function as the board liaison to a cohort of pre-assigned committees. I enthusiastically supported 16 boards/committees in addition to the 13 on which I already served. These included the Health and Fitness Summit Program, Health and Science Policy, Credentials, Constitution-Bylaws-Operating Codes, Research Awards, Research Review, Science Integrated and Leadership, Scientific Content Advisory, Exhibits Advisory, Regional Chapters, and Student Affairs. I immediately realized it was impossible for one person to actively participate during all in-person, telephone, and electronic communications and report important committee work to the Board of Trustees. I recalled when I was an elected member of the Board of Trustees, I had few additional responsibilities. I knew current Trustees could likely help with committee assignments. In 2015, I led efforts to restructure the Vice President and Trustee assignments so all board members would be involved with committees in meaningful ways that provide appropriate representation at Board of Trustees meetings. Work towards better member and committee engagement continues today while we seek opportunities for ACSM to thrive with important inclusive initiatives.
Since 2002, my research and academic/administrative offices have been within a 15-minute walk of the ACSM National Center in Indianapolis. This has given me unique opportunities to serve. I have worked in the trenches with ACSM staff on projects that needed volunteer input, served as a host to local, national, and international members or partners, and quickly responded to local media inquiries. I have also been entrusted to represent ACSM within the U.S. and globally on issues related to global health (including testifying on Capitol Hill and representing the organization at Apple Inc. events).