| Editor: Dr. Lonnie Lowery
"200": The Next Step in ASEP Leadership
Eric Durak, MSc
The recent newsletter article by Aliisa Criffield makes some
significant points regarding the training in exercise physiology, and
the job availability within that same field. There are a few
significant questions that come to mind, and I will try to answer
them within the scope of this article.
#1 What's In a
The first point that is brought up in the Criffield article is that
persons with degrees in EP are hired for positions that are not called
"Exercise Physiologist". A prime example are the job offerings for EPs
within the very ASEP newsletter from this month. All three jobs require
the services of a clinically trained (research trained) EPs. The job
postings, however, read as follows:
a. Research (Exercise) Physiologist
b. Exercise Specialist
c. Clinical Exercise Physiologist
Does the second job not count because it isn't called EP? I
also will direct readers to look over my job listings at the bottom of
this article. One says company president, the other is wellness
specialist. The reason for the first - I earned the title as President
by owning and operating a private business for over 10 years. The
reason for the second - someone else defined the job title. If one asks
me what I am qualified as, I tell them "Exercise Physiology". I don't
necessarily let the title EP dictate who I am, or the work I do. I make
it clear to people that my training is in this discipline, and I am a
professional in this area.
#2 What about
Reimbursement and the Money Issue?
The profession of Exercise Physiology will NEVER receive
reimbursement for their services! Why would the author of the
Reimbursement Guide for Health and Fitness Professionals make this
statement? Over the past 14 years no one in the EP profession (mainly
in ACSM and other such agencies) has understood the way healthcare
works well enough to position EPs as a reimbursable area for healthcare
Does that mean that EPs can't get their services reimbursed? Looking at
other agencies, such as Health Care Dimensions
(www.silversneakers.com) they have made a significant business in the
senior wellness market, and recently, the HCD business was sold to a
larger health care agency for over 80 million dollars!! This is due in
part to the ability of HCD to acquire health care contracts from
private HMOs and Medicare Plus Choice in many markets.
I have preached to those who will listen for many years that
going after health care contracts is THE way for EPs to become a solid
member of the healthcare community. Trying to replicate the
decade-long efforts of counselors and dietitians is NOT the way to
ensure reimbursement. Having a solid CONTRACT for a particular wellness
service IS! Consider Personal Health Approach in Rochester, NY. This
personal training/exercise therapy studio received a contract with
Empire Blue Cross in 2001, and has been doing close to $1 million per
year since that date. It has certainly changed the way the community
looks at this "provider" of worker's compensation post rehab services.
Is the director an EP? No - but he hires them when needed. He fills a
niche because he knew how to obtain HMO contracts (he is not eligible
In my opinion, I think that a critical step for ASEP is to have
information on dealing with HMOs with regards to local and regional
health plans, national networks, and through hospital and even health
club administrators (who may not equate the value of EP services with a
new HMO contract). Companies such as American Specialty Health Plans
(San Diego, CA), and Wellness Health Plans (Reston, VA) are network
agencies that already do business with health clubs and other wellness
companies. There is no reason I see that EPs could not negotiate to
have their hospital, wellness center, OR health club become a network
provider member - pending they agree and are willing to work within the
tenets of the existing contracts. Otherwise, they are free to provide
their own contracts with other HMOs.
#3 Should I Pursue Self-Employment or the Golden Job?
No one has the perfect job. Many in health care complain about working
conditions or pay raises. In most of the reports I have read through
ASEP, the plight of the EP usually stems from trying to seek a job that
will pay them according to their education, experience, and abilities.
In very few instances do I hear about EPs who are involved with
some level of self-employment, whether as a full time endeavor, or as a
side job in addition to their employment capacities.
There are many other professions where persons working full-time devote
some additional time to an internet site, product development,
consulting, etc. to earn extra income, and push the envelope within
their profession. A recent discussion with a Connecticut-based EP found
that (after working on the clinical side for years), he developed a web
site after three years of research and investigation into his area of
fitness and the market. He now projects over $300,000 per year off this
web site - because he took the time to develop a business and a
marketing niche that very few were involved in, and now markets
full-time for this business, which will be very profitable for him in
the coming years.
In my estimation, many [traditional] jobs will have no golden
parachute. In the profession of EP, there never really was. With the
exception of tenured professors, most who work in the area of exercise
physiology hopefully have a good retirement plan from their work,
because their base pay is not among the highest of wage earners. Have
some type of self-employment mentality (research consultant, product
development, writing and editing, sales and marketing); it may be
essential to increase income and provide an opportunity for EPs to
become involved in other areas of health promotion, and increase
awareness about the profession (and its versatility).
#4 What about Relationships - Now and in the Future?
Lastly - I believe that EPs MUST engage in developing relationships
with persons that may enhance the image and marketability with our
profession. Here are my thoughts on a few of these prospects.
a. Hospital CEOs
and administration. When possible attend meetings or present at
meetings that administration also attends. It should be a done deal
when they can see the quality of the work that EPs can provide as part
of a healthcare system.
providers. I think that many more EPs should be involved with internet
technology and product sales. Three years ago I consulted and wrote
copy for a wellness technology web site, and was earning over $50 per
hour for brief health tips for this site. These opportunities will
continue to present themselves, and both ASEP board members and
organization members should be forging these relationships.
representatives. At the onset - this may seem like an odd
relationship. Don't we stand for the opposite of what drug companies
are all about? In many cases, yes. With the current troubles by many
drug manufacturers, an insider tells me that many of these
companies are looking for wellness "brands" to differentiate their
business from the many others in the market place. Drug companies
are mostly market driven (doesn't say much for their take on the
quality of their products), but dealing with high quality wellness
products, services, or brands is something they are looking for. They
need to see that there is a financial as well as clinical reason to
develop the relationship. Until now - most EPs have not been able to
give a clear definition of why are are the ones to develop this
d. Other health
care professionals and organizations. As I mentioned in my lecture
at the ASEP conference in MN, a bariatrics company CEO is excited about
the prospect of working with EPs to deliver exercise as part of
bariatrics contracts in the future. I am now working with two
professionals (one fitness, and the other marketing) to develop a
wellness program for bariatrics patients. It is an opportunity that I
feel will mark a turning point in providing clinical exercise services
in healthcare settings.
In summary, there are opportunities for EPs in emerging markets of
healthcare and technology. Part of the ASEP strategic plan should be to
survey members on what they think about working with one or more of the
above-listed entities, and where ASEP should focus its attention on
within the coming year. It could make for a year of growth and ground
breaking avenues that other organizations never succeeded at. I will
personally be happy to lend any amount of information possible to
assist in moving this agenda forward with ASEP. I hope to have the
support of other ASEP members as they receive information in their own
regions regarding opportunities and relationships that will further the
cause and profession of exercise physiology.
Mr. Durak is
President, Medical Health and Fitness and Wellness Specialist,
Department of Facilities Management, University of California, Santa
References/ Further Reading:
1. Criffield, A. There is a Need, and the Need is Great. ASEP
Newsletter. 9(6), June, 2005.
2. Daugherty, S. Entrepreneuring as an Exercise Physiologist. PEP
Journal Online. 8(4), April, 2005.
3. Durak, EP. How Exercise Physiologists can Maneuver into a Solid
Healthcare Niche with Bariatrics Patients. PEP Journal Online.. 7(7),
4. Boone, T. The Giving Away of Exercise Physiology. PEP Journal
Online. 7(4), April, 2004.
5. Boone, T. The Entrepreneurship of Exercise Physiology. PEP Journal
Online. 6(3), June, 2003.
6. Durak, EP. The Exercise Physiologist as an Entrepreneur. PEP Journal
Online.. 3(2), July, 2000.
Ask the Professor: Your Inside Scoop on
Don Diboll (August guest is again Dr. Lonnie Lowery)
Note: Ask the Professor is intended for informational
purposes only. It is not to be taken as healthcare advice. Please do
not submit questions of a personal nature (e.g. fitness programs,
nutrition advice solicitation, etc.) Thanks.
Q.) Are very-low
carbohydrate diets appropriate for athletes?.
-A frequent question
A.) The short
answer is no - at least compared to non-athletes. Dietary
carbohydrate and subsequent glycogen replenishment are
imperative to support performance and reduce fatigue. Since
skeletal muscle gets the majority of its fuel for intense activity from
"in house" (locally stored) carbohydrate, athletes need to put it back.
The peri-exercise period (pre-, mid-, post-) is an
opportune time to do this, for hormonal and enzymatic reasons.
In the uncommon case of
an over-fat athlete with a family history of glucose intolerance or
diabetes (or known lab values indicative of poor carbohydrate
metabolism), lower carbohydrate intake (and/ or low glycemic index
carbohydrates) may be called for outside of the "peri-workout window".
Due to individual differences, it's important to discuss such questions
and exercise-diet interactions with a physician.
ASEP offers a downloadable PowerPoint presentation you
should see: "Why Join ASEP?" (just click the link!)
Please use this web page (click above) and new email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
ASEP is a member of
the Health Profession Network
Check out the HPN Links!
And keep in mind: For
more information on professional scope of practice, professional
standards and code of ethics for exercise physiologists, accreditation
of academic programs, board certification examination, and other
important tasks already completed by ASEP in establishing a profession,
for more see the ASEP web pages and publications www.asep.org
Polytechnic University, Pomona
3801 West Temple Avenue
Pomona, CA 91768
Assistant Professor in Exercise Physiology,
Kinesiology & Health Promotion Department
Applications are invited for the position of Assistant Professor of
Exercise Physiology. Duties and Responsibilities: Teach undergraduate
and graduate courses in exercise physiology/laboratory and related
areas in exercise science, participate in academic advisement,
supervise masters theses and serve on thesis committees, engage in
research/scholarship and grant writing, and represent the discipline
through departmental, college, university, and community service.
Required Qualifications: Earned doctorate in kinesiology or exercise
science with an emphasis in exercise physiology (PhD required by July
1, 2006). Strong background in exercise physiology required. Additional
preparation in exercise metabolism, muscle physiology, exercise
biochemistry, and research methods/statistics desired. Evidence of
research and grant writing desired. ACSM certification desired. Strong
interpersonal and communication skills required. Date of Appointment:
Appointment begins Fall 2006. To be considered for the position, submit
(1) letter of application, (2) statement of teaching philosophy
including teaching within a multicultural environment, (3) completed
application form, (4) curriculum vitae, (5) official transcripts
showing all graduate course work, (6) a minimum of three recent letters
of reference, and (7) names and contact information for at least two
additional references. Materials must be postmarked by October 15,
2005. If a candidate is ABD, registrars verification is required if the
status is not indicated on the transcript. Inquiries may be directed to
Ms. Charlene Saunders (email@example.com,
909-869-2768, or FAX 909-869-4797). Please request an application form
from and send application materials to:
The Search Committee
Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
3801 West Temple Avenue
Pomona, California 91768
The University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.
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