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Over the past two years, several individuals in the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation have been making teaching inroads into the medical school curriculum to include the American College of Sports Medicine Exercise is Medicine (ACSM EIM) principles.

Per Dr. Heather Vincent, the group has been able to:

A) Develop and insert into the first-year pre-preceptorship an introductory lecture on the importance of discussing exercise with patients and using ACSM EIM materials such as the exercise prescription pads, benefits sheets, and information on exercise as a vital sign.

B) Provide second-year medical students an intensive lecture series entitled “Exercise is Medicine” where we discuss the benefits of exercise for low back pain, knee pain, neck and shoulder pain, and what specific exercise programs and modifications can be used to manage these common complaints. We have also included exercise programs for healthy aging, “Normal Musculoskeletal Aging”.

C) Create an exercise testing hands-on session in the Clinical Elective “Advanced Physical Diagnosis and Clinical Reasoning” for fourth-year students. In this session, students perform an exercise gait study and a gait mat, and together we access patient history, movement patterns, and determine exercise therapies that can be used to correct problems and imbalances.

In addition, Dr. Vincent serves as a Faculty Mentor for a developing Special Interest Group in Exercise Medicine. To date two lecture series have been held and in the future an afternoon journal paper review will be conducted. The goal is to “keep building momentum and encouraging people to join!” The group will soon be hosting an ACSM certification to help develop a network of trained fitness professionals so that providers have access to resources and a referral system.

“I have been so grateful for the opportunity to talk with Dr. Jennifer Trilk, LMEd co-director, on the phone about activities and some “tricks of the trade” in getting a medical school thinking about incorporating exercise science into medical care. I also want to thank the EIM team for providing the fantastic resource tool box of articles, presentations and other supportive materials that any institution can use to teach, learn and grow! Without this, the process would have been so much more arduous and time consuming!”, says Dr. Vincent. She continues, “I am energized by the excitement that is out there for exercise as medicine–many young people believe in this, and I hope that if we keep spreading the word and provide our doctors-in-training the evidence they need, we can start making a difference in national health outcomes.”


Heather K. Vincent, PhD, FACSM
University of Florida (UF)
Faculty, UF, Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation
Director, UF Sports Performance Center
Director, UF Human Performance Laboratory


Dr. Heather Vincent is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and completed her BS and MS degrees at the University of Massachusetts in Exercise Physiology and Biochemistry. She completed her doctorate at the University of Florida, where she served as the Director of the UF Lifestyle Appraisal Program. She completed her NIH NCCAM Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Virginia. She has 15 years of experience with resistance and aerobic exercise adaptations, body composition in health and disease, nutrition and weight management for individuals of all ages. She is currently a research faculty member in the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, and has published numerous articles on exercise, nutrition and body composition.



The Lifestyle Medicine Education Collaborative (LMEd) is proud to showcase lifestyle medicine education programs in medical schools. The schools highlighted are at various stages of program development and implementation. School leaders have shared information regarding courses, electives, activities, and programs to assist other schools as they develop their own programs. Read and learn.
Do you want to showcase your medical school and residency program in an upcoming newsletter?

Contact Cary H. Wing, EdD, FACSM, for more information.

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