Newswise — The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the University of Limerick (UL) announce the launch of the Exercise is Medicine® (EIM) Ireland National Center. The center aims to make physical activity a standard part of Ireland’s disease prevention and treatment health care system. Ireland joins 37 other countries that have established an Exercise is Medicine National Center to combat physical inactivity and improve the health of citizens.

“We are delighted to partner with Exercise is Medicine and ACSM to establish the EIM Ireland National Center, a multi-sectoral collaborative effort that will facilitate growth and expansion in the education and training of health care providers and exercise professionals in the assessment, prescription and implementation of physical activity,” said Matthew Herring, Ph.D., FACSM, from the University of Limerick. “This is an important step forward in galvanising Exercise is Medicine across Ireland and a critical opportunity for enhanced EIM collaborative activities in the European region.”

Herring is serving as director of the EIM Ireland National Centre alongside deputy/co-director Brian Carson, Ph.D., also from UL.  

As host institution, UL oversaw the formation of the EIM Ireland National Centre. UL partnered with several other national organizations and academic partners to create the center, including the Health Service Executive, University College Dublin, Dublin City University, Waterford Institute of Technology, Athlone Institute of Technology, Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine, Sport Ireland, exercise and sport medicine physicians and allied health professionals. A representative from each organization will serve on the center's advisory board and provide strategic guidance on annual goals and activities.

ACSM launched its global Exercise is Medicine health initiative in 2007 to encourage health care providers to include physical activity when designing treatment plans and to refer patients to evidence-based exercise programs and qualified exercise professionals. EIM ultimately seeks to make physical activity assessment and promotion a standard in clinical care, connecting health care with evidence-based resources for people everywhere and of all abilities. EIM partners with multi-sector institutions around the world to advance this mission.

“Exercise is Medicine and the American College of Sports Medicine are thrilled to partner with the University of Limerick to launch a national center in Ireland,” said Robyn Stuhr, M.A., ACSM-CEP, RCEP, vice president of Exercise is Medicine. “Promoting physical activity through the health care sector and connecting patients with appropriate and accessible physical activity programs, places and professionals is an extremely important initiative that can make a significant impact on the future health and wellness of the citizens of Ireland.”

Initial goals for the EIM Ireland National Center encompass the following:

  • Promote physical activity as an integral part of disease prevention, care and cure
  • Educate health care providers and allied health professionals on assessing physical activity as a vital sign of health, provide brief advice or counsel and refer patients to qualified health or fitness professionals 
  • Increase the number of individuals meeting national physical activity guidelines
  • Increase the number of referrals to community-based exercise programs
  • Establish EIM On Campus at all major higher education institutions

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