The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is proud to feature Robert B. Kiningham, MD, MA, FACSM, in this issue’s Clinician Profile. Dr. Kiningham is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio and completed his family practice residency at the University of Michigan (U-M) Medical School. He received a master’s degree in exercise physiology from the University of California, Davis. He was the first primary care sports medicine fellowship graduate at the U-M Medical School Department of Family Medicine and has a Certificate of Added Qualification in Sports Medicine. He is currently an associate professor of Family Medicine at U-M and practices both general family and sports medicine for the U-M Health System while also serving as a team physician for Eastern Michigan University and a physician consultant to the Michigan High School Athletic Association. Dr. Kiningham joined ACSM in 1983 and became a fellow member in 1998. He participated in ACSM’s Research Review Committee from 2002 to 2007. He has been married to his wife Vicki for 30 years and they have three children. In his free time, Dr. Kiningham enjoys exercising, reading both classical works and modern graphic novels, and playing and composing music. Not only does he write and perform a song or two for the sports medicine fellowship graduation every June, but for each of the past 10 years, he and his children also have created a Christmas music CD. Check out the link below to listen to one of the songs written by Dr. Kiningham, performed by him and his children (http://links.lww.com/CSMR/A6).
You Have Been an ACSM Member Since 1983. How Has ACSM Grown and Changed Since You Became a Member?
ACSM has become much more involved in public policy. When I started, exercise was considered a hobby for a subgroup of people. ACSM was instrumental in making physical activity a public health priority.
What Was It Like to be a Clinician a Decade Ago Compared With Today?
The electronic medical record has been both a blessing and a curse to primary care physicians. We have much easier access to information, but at times it creates information overload. There are very high expectations now for primary care physicians to respond to patients and other health care workers’ requests. Overall, I think it has improved patient care, but it certainly has not decreased our workload. I have spent my entire career in academic medicine, and the access to information has made writing and teaching much more efficient, complete, and up-to-date. I remember spending hours in the library looking up articles and copying them page by page on the copy machine. Getting up-to-date information now is so much easier! Patient care also has improved because I can now communicate so much easier and quicker with experts and subspecialists compared with when I started. An expert opinion is now just an email away!
How Has Membership in ACSM Influenced Your Career?
ACSM has had a tremendous influence on my career. My first Annual Meeting was in 1982 as a graduate student in exercise physiology. The meeting opened my eyes to the entire field of exercise science. I had no idea the extent of scholarship that existed and how many different disciplines interacted, under the big umbrella of exercise science. It was tremendously exciting. At that time, I was not sure how I was going to fit in (the decision to go into medicine came later), but I knew my professional home was going to be ACSM.
The overarching goal of my work has been to encourage and facilitate people to be physically active—to bring out the “athlete inside us all” to quote George Sheehan. That philosophy came directly from my involvement with ACSM.
How Do You Use the ACSM Network in Your Daily Work?
There is not a day that goes by that I do not consult an ACSM resource, whether it be a journal article, Position Statement, guideline, or patient information. I constantly quote ACSM recommendations for exercise to my patients.
What Is Your Best Advice to Other Sports Medicine Clinicians?
I have a few. Keep yourself intellectually stimulated by teaching, writing, presenting, and/or attending meetings. Seek collaborations in your work—it makes things much more interesting!
For sports medicine physicians, keep yourself grounded in the “medicine” part of your job title. Do not let the “sports” part subsume your primary function: to maintain and promote your athletes’ health.
Where Do You See ACSM Heading in the Future?
ACSM needs to continue to work to make exercise and physical activity a fundamental part of health advocacy. With the move toward population-based health care, ACSM needs to be part of the discussions that determine the goals and benchmarks of population-based primary care. It continues to surprise (and alarm) me how much medical students and residents underestimate the impact of physical activity (or lack thereof) on health.