The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is proud to feature Aurelia Nattiv, MD, FACSM, in this issue’s Clinician Profile. Dr. Nattiv is a professor in the Department of Family Medicine, Division of Sports Medicine, and the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and a team physician for the UCLA Department of Athletics. She serves as the director of the UCLA Metabolic Bone and Osteoporosis Center and codirector of the UCLA Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship Program. She has been working and teaching at UCLA since 1994. Dr. Nattiv has served on the Board of Directors of ACSM and the American Medical Society of Sports Medicine (AMSSM) (two terms) and has worked as a team physician and medical consultant for the United States Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics, and USA Track and Field National Governing Bodies. Dr. Nattiv is recognized internationally for her work in the area of the female athlete triad, stress fractures, and bone health concerns in active and athletic young and older women. She has served as the invited chair of the ACSM Position Stand on the Female Athlete Triad, which was published in 2007. She is a Fellow of ACSM and has been very active in ACSM for the last two decades. Dr. Nattiv is working currently on an updated publication of management and treatment of the female athlete triad with members of ACSM, the Female Athlete Triad Coalition, and the International Olympic Committee. On these topics and others, she is an invited speaker nationally and internationally, has written numerous articles, and has published a book for health care professionals on the female athlete.
You Have Been an ACSM Member Since 1989. How Has ACSM Grown and Changed Since You Became a Member?
I would like to start by saying that ACSM has been a wonderful society, which I have embraced since I joined during my sports medicine fellowship more than two decades ago. The colleagues I have met during these early years through ACSM involvement, and those I continue to meet through ACSM networking, have had an important impact on my career and research.
It has been a great joy to observe the changes in ACSM during this time and to see how the organization has grown in membership, international prestige, and influence of policy during these decades! One of the biggest welcome changes I have noticed is more involvement of team physicians in ACSM, in addition to sport scientists and other health professionals. In order to meet the needs of physicians, ACSM has expanded the clinical sessions and symposia at the meetings to address more clinical issues and help with translational bench-to-bedside-type research. Another example of this influence is the Exercise is Medicine® campaign, which has had a great impact in public health nationally and internationally.
What Was It Like to Be a Clinician a Decade or Two Ago Compared to Today?
Well, I do remember early in my career as a physician learning about e-mail and getting my e-mail account for the first time! With the advent of the internet and e-mail, communication has become much easier with colleagues, as well as with patient care. Access to journal articles is much quicker and easier, too. I recall many days in the medical library hunting down articles and copying them. Although I do miss being fascinated with the journals and spending hours reading related (or unrelated) articles to my original search, it is certainly much more efficient now! We are in the era of electronic medical records, with less and less actual paper charts.
How Has Membership in ACSM Influenced Your Career?
ACSM membership and fellowship has given me the opportunity to interact and collaborate with sport science colleagues doing similar research, and with related interests, that I may not have the chance to interact with through my physician society memberships. I credit ACSM for providing me with the forum and opportunities to meet some of my mentors, such as Barbara L. Drinkwater, PhD, FACSM, who gave me great encouragement to continue my field of study.
When I first joined ACSM in 1989, the AMSSM was not in existence yet, so ACSM was the society that introduced me to other team physicians in whom I collaborated with in my area of clinical research. This collaboration ultimately led to a better understanding of the interrelationships of disordered eating, amenorrhea, and osteoporosis, which we later termed the female athlete triad. I also met colleagues through ACSM that sparked my interest in stress fractures and bone stress injury in athletes. Both of these areas of interest, the female athlete triad and bone stress injury, continue to be my primary areas of research over the last two decades. I continue to collaborate with sport scientists from ACSM and cannot imagine doing what I do without this group of colleagues who have given me the tools to treat athletes better. These collaborations give me great satisfaction in my work.
How Do You Use the ACSM Network in Your Daily Work?
I very frequently e-mail or call sports medicine physicians and sport science colleagues from ACSM to run a case or two by them, or to better understand the mechanisms involved in treatment of an athlete. I often pull articles that my colleagues have written to help me manage difficult or unusual patient and athlete health care issues.
What Is Your Best Advice to Other Sports Medicine Clinicians?
My best advice to my sports medicine colleagues is to be active in ACSM as well as AMSSM. Become a Fellow of ACSM and express interest in committees and whatever area of interest you have in sports medicine. It will be a very rewarding experience and will last hopefully for a lifetime.
Where Do You See ACSM Heading in the Future?
My involvement as a Board Member of ACSM has made me even more aware of the depth and breadth of ACSM worldwide. I see ACSM continuing to be at the forefront nationally and internationally with policy change, research, and development.
Would You Like to Share Anything Else With the Readers of Current Sports Medicine Reports ?
I would encourage sports medicine fellows and members of AMSSM to join and become active in ACSM. The multidisciplinary nature of ACSM enhances learning and makes us better primary care sports medicine physicians and teachers. I hope you receive as much enjoyment from your membership and fellowship as I have.