| Editor: Dr. Lonnie Lowery
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Let's Be Clear
Matthew Lehn, MA, Member, Board of Directors
Over the past several years, there have
been many statements made about the American Society of Exercise
Physiologists. Many of these comments being made are inaccurate. What
ASEP is trying to do is hard enough, but misinformation is making the
challenge even greater. This is a brief attempt to clear up some of the
most frequent comments made inaccurately about ASEP.
The Board is saturated with mostly
people in education. They dont represent those of us in the trenches.
The ASEP Board of Directors is comprised of Exercise Physiologists with
a variety of backgrounds and work settings. Half of the current board
holds a Masters or Bachelors degree. They work in areas such a
Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation, Wellness and other clinical and
non-clinical areas. ASEP believe that all students that graduate with a
degree in Exercise Physiology are Exercise Physiologists, and want a
board that reflects that. Additionally, since many of the current issue
facing Exercise Physiologists are related to those working with
patients/clients, it only makes sense to have a board representative of
its members and their struggles.
ASEP needs to work with other
ASEP has worked with other organizations and
will continue to do so. ASEP has worked with organizations such as
American Kinesiotherapy Association and the National Athletic Trainers
Association. ASEP was part of a coalition with a dozen organizations
that has opposed CMS attempt to limit reimbursement to services
provided only by Physical Therapists, Speech Therapists, and
Occupational Therapists. ASEP will continue to work with other
organizations that have a common interest in protecting our profession.
ASEP needs to stop bashing ACSM and
work with them.
ASEP is not bashing ACSM, we are simply pointing
out differences. For instance, the mission of ASEP is different than
that of ACSM. ASEPs mission is to further the profession of exercise
physiology. ACSMs is practical applications of exercise science and
sports medicine. This is done through many disciplines and professions,
not just one.
Even some of the core beliefs are different. ASEP believes a necessary
next step in furthering the profession of Exercise Physiologists is
licensure or state regulation. More than 90% of Exercise Physiologists
feel that they need state regulation in order to gain some of the
advantages their peers have in nursing, physical therapy, occupational
therapy, and others. ASEP fulfills important legal and legislative
criteria for the present and future development and growth of the
profession. ASEP is the only organization that meets this criterion.
ACSM has stated their opposition to licensure. This isnt surprising.
Their membership is mostly made up of professionals other than Exercise
Physiologists. It is those other professions that oppose licensure,
feeling they would lose some of the ground that they monopolize. Even
when the government attempts to change regulations to limit
reimbursement, organizations such as ACSM and AACVPR are not found
fighting for Exercise Physiologists. There multidiscipline membership
creates a conflict, precluding them from taking a stand on behalf of
ASEP has attempted to work with ACSM in the past. For numerous reasons,
these attempts have been unsuccessful. But to say that ASEP refuses to
work with ACSM or that ASEP does not have allies is false.
We do not need an exclusive
If history has taught us anything, it is that a
profession must have an exclusive organization to oversee the
development of a profession. Attempts for licensure have been stalled
in the past because states used a multidisciplinary organization as
their professional organization. Every organization that has
successfully obtained licensure and the infrastructure that comes with
it (code of ethics, accreditation, etc) has done so through an
exclusive professional organization. This includes every profession
that exists in ACSM and AACVPR. Any suggestion that a multidisciplinary
organization can achieve regulation for a profession goes against
history and holds no merit.
ASEP was born out a frustration
ASEP was born out of the fact that the
profession of Exercise Physiology was neglected in many areas. For
nearly 50 years, no other organization stepped up to defend and
organization the profession. Basic elements that are required for a
profession where never put in place. Many in the field were leaving due
to poor job security, low pay scales, and a multitude of other reasons.
Just as AACVPR was born out of ACSM to serve the need of those in
Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, ASEP was created to serve the
needs of Exercise Physiologists. This is how all new organizations are
born, by serving a need not currently being met.
There will always be doubters and skeptics, especially when we discuss
an issue that so many feel passionate about. The American Society of
Exercise Physiologists is working hard to unite exercise physiologists.
ASEP will continue to work hard in taking the steps needed to ensure a
positive future for our profession.
Ask the Professor
Q.) Could you explain
the difference between a Clinical Exercise Physiologist and a Physical
A.) There is much more
to this question than one would first think. From a simplistic
perspective, a somewhat knowledgeable layperson might say that an exercise
physiologist is one who tests/ evaluates fitness and designs and
conducts exercise programs to improve and/or maintain fitness. A
clinical exercise physiologist might be described similarly, with the
exception that this type of exercise physiologist would typically work
in a more clinical setting with individuals who need direct supervision
due to their medical condition (e.g. cardiac patients). A physical
therapist, on the other hand, would likely be described as one who
rehabilitates individuals with musculoskeletal injuries as well as
conducts rehabilitation programs for post-surgical patients (e.g.
reconstructive knee surgery).
From a more specific, more relevant point of view, the differentiation
between an exercise physiologist and a physical therapist in terms of
what they do is not as clear. In many instances today, you will find
both types of professionals working in both capacities described above.
What truly defines an exercise physiologist or a physical therapist is
each professions scope (or standards) of practice. Physical therapists
have a well-defined scope of practice that specifically identifies what
they can (and cannot) do. The physical therapist's professional
identity is enhanced further in that physical therapists are licensed
(within their respective states) to perform services within their scope
of practice. This system has been in place for decades. On the other
hand, exercise physiologists have, unfortunately, not had a
professional scope of practice until recently when the American Society
of Exercise Physiologists (ASEP) was founded. Recognizing the need
for a clear professional identity, ASEP founders begin work to
specifically define this, including the development of a scope of
practice. It was crucial that this happen in that the professional
opportunities for exercise physiologists in allied health care were
slowly being encroached upon by other professions as they expanded
their respective scopes of practice. Unfortunately, this continues
What is at hand now is to achieve official recognition for the exercise
physiologists scope of practice among the other allied health care
professions (e.g., physical therapists, nurses, registered dieticians).
Accreditation of exercise physiology academic programs, title
protection, and licensure for exercise physiologists are
specific objectives that will help achieve this goal. These efforts
will take time and will need to take place state by state.
The scope of practice for exercise physiologists can be viewed at www.asep.org/standards/
. Please note that I did not refer specifically to clinical exercise
physiologists because, from the ASEP perspective of professionals,
there are only exercise physiologists. Granted, there will be degrees
of professional qualifications, experience, and possibly
specializations, but we are all part of the same profession and should
be recognized by the same title.
Important Dates to Remember - Annual Meeting
& EPC Exams!
March 5, 2005 - Exercise
Physiologist Certification Exam
Fort Wayne, IN
April 7, 2005 Exercise Physiologist Certification Exam
April 8 & 9, 2005 ASEP 7th
Annual Meeting and Conference
Hilton Minneapolis /St. Paul Airport
(100 % of last years attendees stated they would recommend the
ASEP conference to a colleague.) CLICK
HERE for a Microsoft Word schedule of events (also PDF)!
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,
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