ACSM Officer Perspectives: Highlighting the Role of the Vice President for Education & Credentialing

By Mark R. Hutchinson, M.D., FACSM

Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM.

Mark R. Hutchinson, M.D., FACSM, is Professor of Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine and Head Team Physician at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He also has served as a team physician for elite athletes for many different high-level sports teams, including USA Basketball, USA Gymnastics, USA Field Hockey, Team USA at World University Games, and Team USA at Paralympics, among others.

This commentary is part of an SMB series devoted to perspectives from ACSM’s elected officers. These “Perspectives” articles enable vice presidents and other leaders to share highlights of their leadership experience and key advancements being made by one or more of the committees which they oversee for the Board of Trustees. As VP for Education and Credentialing, Dr. Hutchinson is responsible for the ACSM Certification & Registry Boards and the committees for Health & Fitness Summit Program Planning, Medical Education, Student Affairs, and Professional Education/Distance Learning
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ACSM is a vital and dynamic organization that depends on the active leadership and vision of its committee chairs and members. Our committees maintain the success and high quality that we have grown to expect when anything is labeled as a product of ACSM. Further, they provide foresight and vision to guide us to greater heights in the future. I am excited and proud to take this moment to share with readers of SMB the progress and action of several key committees which I oversee. These committees are essential for our internal development and also serve as powerful tools that help achieve important external aspects of the ACSM mission.

Medical Education
Ongoing successes of medical education are easily evident in the continued successes of our signature Team Physician Courses (TPC, Advanced TPC, and the International TPC). Beyond TCP, Sandy Hoffman, MD, FACSM, and her colleagues on this committee have done exemplary work in developing highlighted symposia for the ACSM Annual Meeting. They have also designed information resources to guide physician members to program content that best matches their clinical interests such as pediatrics, female athletes, ultrasound skills, or diagnostic skill building. Dr. Hoffman, ACSM staff and this committee have worked diligently to retain the prestigious ACCME accreditation for the Annual Meeting, along with the AACME’s special commendation of these efforts.

Looking towards the future, ACSM and committee leaders have created a Clinical Sports Medicine Engagement Task Force whose goal is to re-invigorate and re-engage the physician groups within the College. This task force has already had several dynamic meetings and teleconferences and come up with some innovative thoughts regarding where we should go next. One of those ideas, distance learning, will bring the skill sets of several committees within ACSM together, including Professional Education.

Professional Education/Distance Learning
This committee oversees a broad range of educational opportunities provided by ACSM. Under their guidance and in collaboration with our National Center staff in the Professional Education and Marketing departments, the former Online Learning Platform has been rebranded as ACSM ceOnline. Among the many benchmarks of success with this new resource are the following:
  • To date, our members, affiliates and others have taken more than 9000 courses since its inception in June 2012;
  • New developments in progress include offering a broad array of approved provider courses and delivery formats such as webinars, correspondence courses, and special populations courses;
  • Marketing efforts are under way to promote this new and comprehensive continuing education resource via the websites for Summit, Annual Meeting, ACSM Certification and ACSM.
Health & Fitness Summit
The ACSM Health & Fitness Summit & Exposition remains a key focus of ACSM and it continues to be the premiere program for health and fitness professionals worldwide. The goal is clearly to maintain leadership and our defining role in health and fitness. For 2014, the following have been incorporated into the Summit program:
  • A new track focusing on social media and technology will educate professionals regarding blogging, tweeting, Facebook and more to enhance their business, clubs and client experiences;
  • This year, the Summit will be held April 1-4 in Atlanta, GA. Further details on this exciting program are available at the ACSM website. Apart from up-to-the-minute information that practitioners can use, this year’s program will include a host of novel networking forums offered to meet needs of established and younger professionals as well as students. Early-bird savings on registration rates are available until March 12th.
Student Affairs
Student enhancements are part of the ACSM strategic plan and include enriching student resources and defining best practices for student engagement at universities. This committee has taken this mission on with gusto. Their priority initiatives over the current three-year period include:
  • Enhanced social media presence (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and creating educational resources for students (webinars, website, etc.)
  • Creating a best practices task force (include students and members in higher education who excel at recruiting students for ACSM)
Ultimately, each of these committees continues to show the vitality and dynamism that is ACSM. Their continued efforts place all of us in ACSM on a solid foundation with the promise of an exciting future that will take on new challenges which will confirm ACSM’s leadership role in health, fitness, sports medicine and sports science well into the future.