The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is proud to feature Mark R. Hutchinson, M.D., FACSM, in this issue's Clinician Profile. Dr. Hutchinson is the director of sports medicine service and a professor of orthopedics at the University of Illinois in Chicago. He completed his undergraduate work and earned his M.D. from the University of Illinois. He currently serves on ACSM's Ethics and Professional Conduct Committee and has been an ACSM member since 1993.
YOU HAVE BEEN AN ACSM MEMBER SINCE 1993. HOW HAS ACSM GROWN AND CHANGED SINCE YOU BECAME A MEMBER?
I first got involved in ACSM at the encouragement of my mentor and teacher, Mary Lloyd Ireland, M.D., FACSM. She told me that ACSM was a very open organization for a young sports medicine clinician with lots of opportunities to get involved, become a leader, and advance the field of sports medicine. So many of our specialty organizations become steadfastly loyal to the established heroes in the field with limited opportunity to advance. ACSM has been and is still different in this regard. I strongly believe that all sports medicine clinicians, especially those just starting in the field, should be involved actively in ACSM.
Over the past 17 years, ACSM has seen wonderful changes, including a more fluid and efficient organization. ACSM always has been focused on education as a key tenet. While this has not changed since 1993, the quality and prestige of the educational product has blossomed over the past two decades. Perhaps the biggest, and arguably the most important, area of growth has been in advocacy. ACSM has become a preeminent organization in which the news media and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seek council regarding exercise medicine and key issues of controversy in sports medicine.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO BE A CLINICIAN IN THE 1990s COMPARED WITH TODAY?
Two decades of change has seen new challenges in the economics of health care that actually began two decades before that. This is true for all of us, including those in sports medicine. We still face unique challenges of ethics regarding the business of sports medicine that have yet to be reconciled. Should the best doctor available or the one who can come up with the most sponsorship dollars be taking care of our elite athletes? I am not sure of the right answer, but I am sure that the latter will challenge the provider with potential issues of conflict of interest.
In terms of sports medicine and athlete care, the most significant change has been the growth and leadership of primary care sports medicine as a unique subspecialty. Since the early 1990s, primary care sports medicine has seen an exponential growth of sports medicine fellowships, the establishment of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, and a well-earned status and appreciation of their skills from patients, sports teams, and their orthopedic colleagues. I hope that the future continues to see us working side-by-side on the sidelines, optimizing each of our skill sets to the betterment of the athlete.
HOW HAS MEMBERSHIP IN ACSM INFLUENCED YOUR CAREER?
ACSM let a young, naïve, hard-working orthopedic surgeon interested in sports medicine get involved with a national organization, provided an outlet for research and case presentations, and introduced me to a great number of colleagues, nationally and internationally, that I will have as lifelong friends. From an academic perspective, ACSM has opened my eyes to the broad spectrum of sports science and exercise science. It clearly has made me a more holistic health care provider - I hope to the benefit of my athletes and patients.
HOW DO YOU USE THE ACSM NETWORK IN YOUR DAILY WORK?
The ACSM network extends beyond the group of colleagues and friends that I can turn to at any time for any clinical question or challenge. It includes the ACSM administration and national office that advocates on our behalf on a myriad of issues related to sports science and sports medicine. It includes access to an impressive group of ACSM publications, guidelines, and Position Stands that I can turn to for guidance in my clinical practice.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST ADVICE TO OTHER SPORTS MEDICINE CLINICIANS?
Very simply, the best advice is to get involved. Start by becoming a member, and then try presenting a case or two. Volunteer to serve on a committee. Gather a group of like-minded people and submit a session for a regional chapter or national meeting. If you stay focused on becoming involved, your opportunities will continue to grow. I have had the privilege of working on numerous committees and educational sessions that have helped me develop a core group of colleagues in the field. Over time, this has grown into service on the ACSM Board and a number of national and international Team Physician Courses that will always be highlights of my career.
WHERE DO YOU SEE ACSM HEADING IN THE FUTURE?
ACSM has a bright future as the key international leader for policy and education in sports medicine, sports science, and exercise science. The administration has made a concerted effort to improve all aspects of diversity across the organizations. I believe the future will see a continued growth and impact of our international colleagues. ACSM has taken the torch in advocacy and will be looked to by national and international organizations to respond to key issues.