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  • ACSM Annual Meeting Presentation Leads to Fruitful MD-PhD Collaboration

    by Greg Margason | Nov 30, 2023
    MDPHD collab

    If you’re on the fence about attending the 2024 ACSM Annual Meeting in Boston, consider the story of two ACSM fellows, Drs. Li Li and Jeffrey A. Ross. 

    Li, a research professor in Georgia Southern University’s Department of Health Sciences and Kinesiology, and Ross, an associate professor at the Baylor College of Medicine’s Department of Surgery, Section of Vascular Surgery (as well as chief of podiatry in the Department of Surgery), met at last year’s ACSM Annual Meeting in Denver. Both attended the Biomechanics Interest Group meeting, at which Li was receiving his Career Achievement Award. 

    According to Ross, “After hearing Dr. Li present on diabetic peripheral neuropathy and core body strength, I felt we had a common interest. I approached Dr. Li after the presentation and discussed my work with diabetics, peripheral neuropathy, and both surgical intervention (amputations) and gait, as well as topics of mutual interest.” 

    These shared interests were so closely aligned that the pair soon decided to pursue a research collaboration, which has thus far culminated in a tutorial session titled “Postural and Gait Impairment among People with Diabetic Neuropathy and Potential Exercise as Intervention,” which was accepted for presentation at the 2024 ACSM Annual Meeting in Boston. 

    In the following Q&A, the researchers discuss their partnership and work, the unique value of ACSM membership, and reasons why more M.D.s and Ph.D.s should consider teaming up. 

    How did you get involved with ACSM? 

    Li: I presented for the first time at ACSM’s 1996 annual meeting in Cincinnati as a doctoral student. 

    Ross: I was president of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine and attended a meeting of various sports medicine associations. The executive director of ACSM, Jim Whitehead, introduced me to ACSM. I then presented at some early meetings, one along with Dr. Peter Gerbino on adolescent overuse sports injuries. I then became an ACSM fellow and served on my first committee, the Credentialing Committee. I have presented at meetings almost every year and now serve on the Medical Education Committee and Public Relations Committee. 

    Why did you decide to collaborate? 

    Li: We discovered that our research projects are complementary. Dr. Ross and his team have investigated the effects of clinical interventions for people suffering from neuropathy, whereas our studies focus on the consequences of physical activity interventions. We are both interested in exploring the mechanisms that lead to the relevant impairments in postural and gait stability among this population and the pathways for the most effective rehabilitation protocols. 

    Ross: I have been working with Dr. Bijan Najafi (our director of research) and our research team here at Baylor, investigating the effects of clinical interventions for patients (diabetics and frail patients suffering from peripheral neuropathy), whereas Dr. Li’s team has been focusing on the consequences of physical activity interventions. After the Denver meeting, we had a Zoom conference with myself, Dr. Najafi and our team, and we both expressed an interest in exploring the mechanisms that lead to the relevant impairments in postural and gait stability among this population and the pathways for the most effective rehabilitation protocols. I even went further and discussed this possible study with the kinesiology department at the University of Rhode Island, where possible multi-site research could be conducted. 

    What are you researching? 

    Li: Our current focus is the adaptive interactions between the central and peripheral nervous systems with the progress of neuropathy. As the development of peripheral neuropathy, people’s foot sole tactile sensation deteriorates. The progress of foot sole insensitivity leads to debilitating postural and gait impairments. To compensate for this degenerative process, the central nervous system could potentially adjust the modulation of the proprioceptive sensation and use it to enhance our feedback system for postural control. 

    Ross: Our research is looking at the effects of diabetic peripheral neuropathy and frailty in this population and the use of remote monitoring sensors to detect and predict pressure areas that might result in the formation of diabetic ulceration. With this data, we can use insoles, orthotic or shoe intervention to improve gait and to mitigate these potential pressure areas to prevent diabetic ulceration formation, particularly in patients who have undergone partial amputation of the foot. 

    What has been your most interesting finding? 

    Li: The textbook statement for losing tactile sensation due to peripheral neuropathy in humans is “irreversible” — we have evidence that proper interventions can reverse the loss of foot sole sensation, at least at the early stage of the disease.

    Ross: Our research has shown that the use of remote monitoring sensors can monitor patients who suffer from diabetic peripheral neuropathy. We can also utilize computerized gait and pressure analysis to also help to predict pressure areas that might result in the formation of diabetic ulceration. We can use orthotic and shoe therapy to reduce pressure areas, improve gait, and allow these patients to be more active, ambulate, exercise and stay healthy — improve their quality of life. 

    How has ACSM contributed to your career and work? 

    Li: In addition to the rich academic exchange, ACSM is very important in my work and career development. I have participated in every ACSM annual meeting since 1996 as a member of the college. I was awarded ACSM fellowship in 2003, served as the chair of the Biomechanics Interest Group in 2008-9, and was the recipient of the 2023 Career Achievement Award from ACSM Biomechanics Interest Group. 

    Ross: I have been a sports medicine podiatrist for over 40 years, and ACSM has allowed me to work with various sports teams; marathon runners; and amateur, collegiate, and professional athletes. Attending and presenting at the annual conferences, and serving on various committees, I have been able to share academic and clinic experiences that have benefited my patients. 


    More recently, about three years ago the president and another representative of my alma mater, the University of Rhode Island, introduced me to the dean of the College of Health Sciences, Dr. Gary Liguori (now provost at the University of West Florida), and we realized we were both ACSM fellows. Dr. Ligouri invited me to volunteer and serve on the advisory committee for Rhode Island’s College of Health Sciences. In addition, he invited me to lecture the students in the Department of Kinesiology and to advise the Pre-Med Society. I likewise invited Dr. Ligouri and the Rhode Island faculty to meet with Dr. Bijan Najafi here at Baylor to collaborate on mutual research studies. 

    Further, Rhode Island’s interim dean, Dr. Deborah Riebe, FACSM, and I met in Denver and discussed the meeting with Dr. Li and possible research on diabetic peripheral neuropathy and improving gait that could be conducted with her students. Dr. Riebe has continued to invite me to present to the students in the Department of Kinesiology, where I combine clinical experiences with scientific biomechanics. It was that relationship with ACSM that lead to these introductions and these future relationships. That was another reason for wanting to meet with Dr. Li and create a new relationship. 

    What advice do you have for M.D.s and Ph.D.s interested in interdisciplinary collaboration? 

    Li: Get involved. ACSM provides excellent opportunities for learning about the most up-to-date scientific discoveries, exploring potential research ideas, and networking with scientists from diverse disciplines for future collaborations. Get involved beyond presentations and passive learning — actively involved in the organization — and get the most out of what the college can offer. 

    Ross: At a recent ACSM Medical Education Committee Zoom meeting with my colleagues, I discussed the importance of collaboration between clinical M.D.s and Ph.D.s. I elaborated on the meeting with Dr. Li and our research study, an upcoming presentation at the ACSM Annual Meeting in Boston. I feel that combining the clinical experiences of our patients with scientific research studies is a natural fit, and that we should foster these relationships to forge ahead with new findings. This can benefit both our patients and the academic institutions. I encourage my colleagues to become involved with ACSM and all that it offers. You never know who you might meet! 

    If you’re interested in attending Dr. Li and Dr. Ross’s presentation, make sure to register for the 2024 ACSM Annual Meeting in Boston, May 28-31.  
  • Key Things to Consider Before Signing a Lease for Your Fitness Business

    by Greg Margason | Nov 29, 2023

    An early spring storm was raging outside, but my cardio hip hop class was pumping on a Thursday evening. The class was just hitting its stride when one of my regulars motioned to me, and I saw that she was dripping, not just from sweat, but from what was now becoming a fairly steady stream of water from the ceiling. I immediately stopped the class, grabbed the woman a towel and put the first trashcan I could find under the leak. We maneuvered around the trashcan and finished the class, but by the amount of water that had accumulated in that time, it was clear to me that this was going to be a significant issue. Who was I supposed to call? What could I do to protect my dance floor? And who was going to pay for the repairs that would certainly be needed? Spoiler alert: It wasn’t as straight-forward as I’d hoped.  

    Making the leap to start, grow or relocate your fitness business should be an exciting time. But don’t let the allure of being a business owner distract you from the very real challenges that can come from poor planning at the outset. The ceiling leak and its eventual outcome is just one example of a scenario I hadn’t planned ahead for when I owned a boutique fitness studio. I never shy away from using my hard-learned lessons to help others avoid my mistakes— so here are the things that I wish someone had told me before I signed a lease for my fitness business.* 

    Who is responsible for what? 

    One of the most important—and most expensive—contracts that you will sign during this process is a lease or rental agreement for the space. It is pivotal to delineate who is responsible for what and in what circumstances when it comes to the space. Keep in mind that space includes not only the physical rooms, but the walls, plumbing, roofing, sidewalks, parking spots and everything in between! You want to be sure that you and your business are protected, and that you’re fully aware of any risks that you are assuming.  

    Insurance and liability

    The safety of your space for staff and customers needs to be a top priority. Here are some questions to ask and scenarios to consider when it comes to your lease: 

    • What kind of insurance does the property owner hold and what does it cover and not cover about your physical space, and are there special circumstances? In the case of my leaking ceiling, the property owner’s insurance covered the cost of repairing the building itself, but it did not cover my costs to replace any custom buildouts, like the specialty dance floor, which had water damage. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what is covered and what is not. I had assumed their insurance would cover scenarios like this, and ended up paying out of my pocket for repairs since I didn’t have the right coverage.

      It’s also important to note that it is very unlikely that the property owner’s insurance would cover your items in the space such as fitness equipment, computers or sound systems. Consider the following scenarios, which could all have different levels/types of coverage when it comes to insurance:
      • Natural disaster or act of god (e.g. flood, tornado, earthquake) 
      • Criminal act (e.g. vandalism, arson, robbery) 
      • Negligence (e.g. lack of maintenance leads to an electrical fire, another tenant in the building leaves the water on and multiple units flood) 
    • What kind of insurance does the property owner hold and what does it cover and not cover regarding use of the space, and any shared spaces? Now we’re talking about humans and injuries or other losses. In nearly every scenario, if a customer is injured using the leased space as intended, for example, they trip over a piece of equipment or injure themselves during an exercise, that will need to be covered by your own liability insurance. But consider the following scenarios:
      • A customer in your space is injured as a result of a natural disaster, act of god or other building/facility-wide crisis (e.g. a customer is injured by shattered glass during a tornado) 
      • Your customer is injured when passing through shared space to reach or exit your space (e.g. they slip and fall on ice on the sidewalk) 
      • Incidents that occur after a customer leaves your space or the shared space (e.g. a customer consumes alcohol in your space at an event and gets into an accident on the way home)
      These scenarios can become very nuanced and will likely be very dependent on the type of space and shared space that exists. Additional considerations may need to be made. Get it all in writing!
    • What insurance will you need to hold? Some property owners or management companies will require you to hold a certain type of insurance or have a minimum amount of coverage. Find out if there is a requirement, and then use the above considerations to determine what kind of insurance you will need to fill the gaps between the owner’s coverage and what you will need to be protected (in addition to your own personal liability insurance). This includes what insurance you will require any additional employees and/or independent contractors to secure for themselves. 
    • Security cameras. Are there cameras in place in the facility, and if so, where? Is all footage recorded, and how long are those recordings kept? Can you install your own cameras within your space? All of this can be important should something occur in or around your space where liability is disputed or the circumstances are questioned. 

    Use and maintenance of the space 

    Other things to consider when reviewing the lease are any specifics related to how the space may be used, what kind of upkeep is required and who is responsible for that maintenance.  

    • Are you allowed to modify the space and if so, to what extent? This could include anything from painting to knocking down a wall. Make sure that any physical changes you plan to make to the space are permitted. 
    • What activities may take place in the space? Make sure that the space is properly zoned and permitted for all activities you plan to have take place. 
    • What kind of equipment can be installed in the space? You’ll want to confirm that all equipment you plan to install (fitness equipment, sound system, a sauna, etc.) can be accommodated within the space. This may include making sure the floor is properly reinforced, there is adequate plumbing, etc.  
    • For which maintenance activities are you responsible vs. the property owner/management company, and who can provide that maintenance? Little did I know that the HVAC system for my studio was located on the roof of the building. I learned (after signing the lease) that I was responsible for having the filter changed, but I wasn’t allowed to go onto the roof to change it myself. Therefore, when it needed to be replaced, I had to purchase the replacement filter, contact the management company’s maintenance team, and then pay them to go on the roof and replace it. Don't get blindsided like me. Confirm if you can perform the maintenance for which you’re responsible yourself, if you’re required to use the owner or management company’s maintenance team, or if you can/must have licensed third parties perform the maintenance such as plumbers or electricians. 
    • What about shared spaces? Are you responsible for shoveling the sidewalk if it snows? Do you need to cut the grass around the space? Confirm all of these tasks that may not be specifically outlined in the contract. 

    Hidden costs, fees and financial considerations 

    These are especially important if you’re working with a larger management company or corporation. 
    • Are there any fees or taxes above and beyond your monthly or annual rental fee? Will you be charged for property taxes on your space? What about maintenance of shared space? The first January owning my studio I received a bill of $1,200 for “CAM.” I had never heard of CAM before. This stands for “common area maintenance,” where the property management company took the collective costs of upkeep of shared spaces during the year (snow removal, landscaping, parking lot lighting, etc.) and charged each tenant a percentage based on how much of the building your space occupied. Negotiation of fee caps is often overlooked in lease agreements; you will not get what you don’t ask for! 
    • Rent increases. Does the owner or management company have the right to increase your rent at your next renewal, or will you have a fixed rate? For how many renewal cycles would a fixed rate be in place before an increase? Is there a maximum percentage increase at renewal? 
    • Competition. Does the lease agreement have an exclusivity clause for fitness, wellness, or health-related businesses? It is important to be sure your space is protected against competition setting-up shop next door. A lease option might even include a first right of refusal for new tenants. 
    • Financial hardship. No new business owner wants to consider the possibility of not being able to pay their rent or closing their business. But it’s important to have all of the necessary information up-front so that should the situation arise, you can make the best decision for you and your business. Things to consider and confirm: 
      • What happens if you cannot pay rent? Can you make partial payments? Will you be charged interest or a fee on late payments? How much debt can be accumulated before you are evicted? 
      • If you should close or sell your business, can you sublet the space for the remainder of your lease? Could a new owner take over the current lease? Would there be a fee? 
      • Should you need to end your lease before the contracted end date, what is the financial penalty? 

    Some final thoughts 

    When reviewing the contract do not be shy about asking questions and seeking clarification, and certainly don’t make assumptions—if it’s not specifically outlined in the contract or an appendix, ask. 

    Do not be afraid to ask for changes or to negotiate price, fees, or any other part of the contract. The worst they can say is no, and then you know for sure exactly what you’re committing yourself to. Additionally, do not assume requested changes have been made without reviewing the revised contract. 

    It may seem like an added expense, but the fee you may pay to have a legal professional review a lease, or any contract related to your fitness business, before you sign it, can end up saving you thousands of dollars in the long-term. If you have partners in your business, it's also beneficial to consult a legal professional on how all parties should be attributed in the lease agreement so not one person is solely responsible for the risk. 

    I hope that the lessons learned from my mistakes can help to save you both stress and money as you embark on your new business. I wish you the very best! 

    Caitlin Kinser
    Caitlin Kinser, M.S.,
     has been teaching group exercise classes since 2010. She’s taught in a variety of settings including fitness studios, large gyms, college campuses, youth/community centers and virtually. She has taught multiple formats, but her heart belongs to dance fitness. Caitlin owned and operated a boutique fitness studio for two years prior to joining the professional staff at the American College of Sports Medicine®, where she serves as the director of digital strategy.  

    *Disclaimer: This blog is not legal advice. It is the sharing of one individual’s experience, and it is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all the things to consider when signing a lease or rental contract. To ensure that you’re fully protected and understand your risks before signing a lease or any contract relating to your business, consult with a legal professional.  

  • PAA Shares Physical Activity CPT Codes

    by Greg Margason | Nov 28, 2023

    PAA Shares Physical Activity CPT CodesThe Physical Activity Alliance (PAA), of which ACSM is a member organization, has published a list of current procedural terminology (CPT) codes related to physical activity. 

    Physicians and other qualified health professionals use CPT codes to report and bill for the services they provide their patients and clients; the American Medical Association (AMA) maintains the CPT system. 

    ACSM, along with the PAA, advocates for the expansion of CPT codes so that qualified exercise professionals can more easily bill for the important health interventions they provide. 

    Prior to Jan. 1, 2020, there were no dedicated CPT codes for health coaching services. On that date, however, the AMA released new category III codes for such services. 

  • 5 Fitness Gift Ideas for Friends and Family

    by Greg Margason | Nov 28, 2023
    fitness gifts

    We’re well into the holiday season, and maybe you’re scrambling to find the perfect gifts for friends and family. Uh oh. 

    Fortunately, there are plenty of fitness tools and accessories out there that might fit the bill, and at a range of prices. 

    (Of course, discretion is important too — it’s probably best to only give fitness gear to people who are likely to use it. You don’t want to send the wrong message.) 

    A crucial question, though, is how useful and/or effective many of these options are. Crazes often burn through the fitness world and fitness-adjacent culture, and the Next Best Thing is regularly a flash in the pan that may or may not provide any actual benefit. You don’t want to be the friend or family member giving out what will be seen next year as a tired fad — or worse, spending your hard-earned money on a gift that doesn’t actually do what it claims to. 

    The following five suggestions are drawn from a top 10 holiday fitness gift list compiled by Charles Fountaine, Ph.D., FACSM, published as a sharable resource in ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, and provide a little context about each. 

    1. Fitness trackers and smart watches

    At the high end of the gift-giving hierarchy, there are fitness trackers and smart watches. Wearable tech ranked No. 1 in last year’s ACSM’s Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends, and has been in the top three every year since its introduction to the survey in 2016, so it could be a good bet for a special someone who’s interested in logging the details of their workout and resting lives. This is a big investment, of course. And you probably want to know a little bit about what the recipients needs and wants in terms of a data-tracker, so make sure you covertly or overtly get the intel you need before you take the plunge. 

    2. Massage gun

    A step down in price from wearables are massage guns, aka “percussive massagers.” Even if you haven’t used one, you’ve probably seen them on box store shelves or in infomercials. These are handheld devices with a reciprocating end — sometimes provided with interchangeable attachments — that you can use to massage sore muscles. According to a 2023 systematic literature review, “PT delivered by massage guns can help improve acute muscle strength, explosive muscle strength and flexibility, and reduce experiences of musculoskeletal pain,” though others don’t go so far in their assessment of the devices’ benefits. 

    3. Compression sleeves

    Used to support joints, compression sleeves are another holiday gift-giving option. There are many products on the market, and we should be careful to distinguish between sleeves and other garments. Research on the effectiveness of these products is mixed — knee sleeves, for example, seem to show some signs of benefit. According to a 2017 literature review, “knee sleeves can effect functional improvements to knee problems. However, further work is needed to confirm this hypothesis, due to the lack of homogeneity and rigor of existing studies.” That said, other compression garments, such as below-knee compression socks, show more mixed results, so it’s important to know exactly what it is you’re buying, and why. 

    4. Stretching straps and resistance bands

    If compression sleeves don’t fit the bill, consider stretching straps or resistance bands. These can be an affordable option, and are probably familiar to most yoga practitioners and many other fitness enthusiasts. Resistance bands may be particularly beneficial — a 2019 systematic review and meta-analysis found that “resistance training with elastic devices provides similar strength gains when compared to resistance training performed from conventional devices.” Meaning that resistance bands can be a great portable, low-cost training tool.  

    5. Socks

    Now, this last category is sort of a classic Christmas canard — “Oh no, not socks!” But for fitness enthusiasts, a good pair of socks can be a real blessing. There are many types for many modes of physical activity, and finding the exact right pair that fits the needs of the person you’re buying for will show that you really pay attention to what they do for fun. Hiking? There are socks for that. Skiing? Yep. Olympic lifting or deadlifting? Yep. There are great socks for those too. Don’t count socks out — a nice, cozy pair over the holidays can make all the difference, not just at the gym or on the trail but in front of the fireplace too. 

    For more gift ideas, check out Dr. Fountaine’s “Ten Holiday Gift Ideas for the Fitness Enthusiast,” available as a shareable resource from ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal

  • A Ph.D. Student’s Take on ACSM’s Leadership & Diversity Training Program

    by Greg Margason | Nov 22, 2023

    Rafael AlamillaRafael Alamilla’s affiliation with ACSM’s Leadership & Diversity Training Program (LDTP) began with an interesting coincidence.

    An IU President’s Doctoral Fellow in Indiana University’s Department of Health Sciences, Alamilla had heard about ACSM’s LDTP somewhat by chance — whether it was from ACSM social media, an email, or some other communication, he can’t exactly recall. But it appeared in his orbit, it seemed like a fruitful opportunity, and he emailed his advisor to get her opinion on the matter.

    Said advisor happened (and still happens) to be ACSM Past President NiCole Keith, Ph.D., FACSM. Keith responded by sending Alamilla a manuscript she helped write that outlined the establishment and impact of program she helped found. This was, of course, an endorsement.

    Which carried a lot of weight — Alamilla is quick to praise Keith as an advisor: “She has always been in my corner since I’ve been in my program. She is my mentor, obviously. But nowadays she is kind of my research mom.”

    Naturally, Alamilla applied.

    When you visit the LDTP’s page on the ACSM website, you read that “ACSM’s Leadership & Diversity Training Program exists to mentor and retain minority members by offering three different levels that require ACSM membership, involvement in the ACSM Annual Meeting and committees, and pursuit of ACSM professional presentations & publications with the ultimate goal of obtaining ACSM fellowship.”

    Besides being paired with an experienced mentor, those accepted into the program receive a free year of ACSM membership and have their ACSM meeting travel and registration expenses covered. Accepted applicants matriculate into LDTP at Level 1, 2, or 3 depending on their academic background. Roughly speaking, those enrolled in a master’s program will join Level 1, those enrolled in a Ph.D. program join Level 2, and those who hold a terminal degree will enter at Level 3. Mentees can take part in the program for up to five years.

    Critically, participants don’t merely communicate with their assigned mentor — when the ACSM Annual Meeting rolls around, the mentees often meet up with a number of the participating mentors.

    As Alamilla puts it: “They very much encourage you to go talk with other mentors. It’s like: ‘Yes, your primary mentor is the one who you’ll be spending a lot of time with during the conference, but also don’t be afraid to pick other peoples’ minds and network. I've had the wonderful fortune of talking to a lot of the mentors and learn from them.”

    But for Alamilla, who is in his second year in the program, the greatest benefit has been the community of mentees that LDTP brings together.

    “The program has helped facilitate me meeting other people who look like me,” he says. “Even if they do not do similar work, their perspectives are very insightful to me because everybody comes from different backgrounds. It is like, that’s the nice thing about national ACSM — you get to meet people and share stories with people you otherwise wouldn’t have met.”

    If LDTP is a progressive program with a well-defined path and series of goals, the journey that brought Alamilla into its ranks was somewhat less linear. Alamilla hails from San Bernardino, CA and earned a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology from California State University-San Bernardino before moving on to a master’s degree in the same field at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, which he describes as period in which he was focused on basic science. But after graduation, he moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where his future wife was completing her own master’s program.

    In Memphis, he took a job with HealthFitness, which changed his trajectory entirely. Through HealthFitness, he was brought in to help run FedEx’s health and wellness programming.

    “And that’s when I feel like I got hit a Mack truck in terms of being able to understand health disparities and inequities,” he says. “But also what it really means to work with people. Because up to that point, mind you, I had never gone outside of academia.”

    Alamilla soon turned his attention to education again — but this time in pursuit of a Ph.D. that would allow him to address the disparities he’d seen.

    LDTP App promo

    “That’s what spurred me to want to do a Ph.D.,” he says. “I knew my skill set was not there to do the type of work that I wanted to do. So I knew I had to go back to school.”

    It was while searching for the proper university that Alamilla became aware of Keith; she’d taken part in a panel Alamilla attended held by a research collaborative run by Dr. Mark Stoutenberg. The work Keith discussed intrigued Alamilla — it seemed like what he too wanted to do — and he sent her an email.

    One thing led to another, including a series of long phone calls discussing their mutual research interests, and Alamilla eventually found himself studying with Keith at IU; his focus is on improving access and adherence to physical activity in underprivileged minority communities. Key to his efforts, he notes, are partnerships with community leaders and local fitness facilities — and getting constant feedback from the people his programming serves.

    “With this type of work, there’s a certain degree of tailoring that happens, right?” he says. “You’re tailoring an intervention to the needs of a specific person or group of people. Whoever it is that you’re working with.”

    As Alamilla’s academic career progresses apace, LDTP serves as a place where he can rub shoulders with others who have shared experiences, both in their personal lives and in their work.

    “All the folks in LDTP are people of color or from a minority group,” Alamilla says. “And so a lot of us have those same experiences. A lot of us are first-generation college students. Many of us work with minority communities. A lot of us have had similar experiences going through academia. In turn, having that that shared sense of camaraderie is really powerful because it makes you feel like you’re not alone.”

    If you or someone you know is interested in applying for LDTP, you can learn more here.