Penn State’s Exercise is Medicine on Campus program earns gold status

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State’s Exercise is Medicine on Campus (EIMOC) program has earned gold-level status from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

Penn State is among 60 colleges and universities that will be recognized for their EIMOC programs to promote physical activity as a vital sign of health to their campus communities. The awards will be given as part of the 2017 Exercise is Medicine World Congress, held in conjunction with the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual meeting on May 31.

The acknowledgement of gold status is part of EIMOC’s recognition program, launched in 2014, which allows campuses to be recognized for their participation and engagement in EIM. Through this program, schools have the opportunity to establish themselves as a gold-, silver- or bronze-level campus, based upon their activities and level of engagement.

“We are excited to earn gold status,” said Melissa Bopp, faculty coordinator of EIMOC at Penn State and associate professor of kinesiology. “It recognizes the efforts we have put forth to evolve EIMOC over the past five years. The gold-level status really highlights our partnership efforts around campus.”

This is the third year Penn State's EIM has been recognized by the ACSM. It earned silver status in 2015 and 2016. Recognition by the ACSM provides an opportunity for a campus to highlight its position as a healthy academic environment, emphasizing a commitment to utilizing exercise as medicine to create a culture of wellness.

“Gold status represents how we comprehensively look at health here at Penn State; multiple partners, organizations and groups help to contribute to a healthier campus for students,” Bopp said. “One of the unique things about the Penn State EIMOC program is the extraordinary leadership and commitment to the cause from kinesiology students and the Kinesiology Club.”

Bopp said EIMOC will continue to evolve its campaign to reach students with the message of a healthier lifestyle.

“If the ACSM ever creates a platinum level, we'll work toward that,” Bopp said. “We continue to seek funding, build programs and expand our efforts, including providing assistance to our Commonwealth campus kinesiology programs as they grow.”

Zack Papalia, EIMOC coordinator at Penn State, said he was an undergraduate student when the department first brought the concept to the University.

“A group of Kinesiology Club undergraduate students attended the Exercise is Medicine World Congress event in the summer of 2010 and brought the EIMOC program back as an idea within the club,” Papalia said. “To see how EIMOC has evolved since then, and how the department and college have embraced it and supported the students speaks volumes, in my opinion, to the quality of our department and leadership.”

Penn State’s EIMOC initiative includes Exercise is Medicine Week in October, a partnership with the Kinesiology Club and kinesiology faculty, staff and students, to engage the campus community in exercise and general physical fitness.

Other EIMOC events and programs include the Dean’s Walk, a partnership with Penn State’s University Health Services, freshmen seminar presentations and social media campaigns. In fall 2014, a Mobile Exercise is Medicine initiative was launched to bring similar services to the local community while providing students with hands-on experience in working with diverse populations.

Bopp said the designation of gold status would not have been possible without the Department of Kinesiology’s longstanding partnership with University Health Services; Ann C. Crouter, Raymond E. and Erin Stuart Schultz Dean of the College of Health and Human Development; Nancy Williams, head of the Department of Kinesiology; the department’s advisory board; and a growing relationship with Penn State Counseling and Psychological Services.

This year the Penn State Berks campus earned silver designation.

For more information on EIMOC, visit exerciseismedicine.org. For more information on Penn State’s EIMOC, visit sites.psu.edu/psueim.

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Last Updated May 26, 2017