Active Voice: ACSM’s New Translational Journal — A First Look from the Editor-in-Chief

By Joseph E. Donnelly, Ed.D., FACSM 

Translational and policy science is now a priority of major governmental agencies, such as The National Institutes of Health and Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PICORI). The Translational Journal of The American College of Sports Medicine (TJACSM) will place ACSM in the forefront for translational and policy science related to exercise. TJACSM is designed to close the gap between laboratory and clinical sciences and the application of research findings to the general community. The National Institutes of Health defines translational research as “the movement of discoveries in basic research to application at the clinical level.” It is the attempt to find ways to take established science into everyday practice. A common theme for translational science includes the concept “it works in the laboratory, but does it work in the real world?” In a similar fashion, translational research often seeks to determine how to make established science work effectively in the general population or community. Therefore, this type of research often includes an analysis of comparative effectiveness of approaches and cost analysis. Frequently, attempts to translate science to community involve community participatory methods; however, translational research does not rely solely on this methodology.

An example of translational research would be an investigation to determine how to install an established and effective health risk management program in the workplace by comparing a face-to-face wellness program to a similar program delivered remotely using technology. Another example would be an investigation to determine the effectiveness of translating new findings in basic science for exercise and blood pressure to effective programs for seniors with hypertension in care facilities. One more example would be an investigation to compare two or more effective strategies used to alter public school policy to establish new policies aimed at increasing physical activity in public schools. In these examples, the objective is to find ways to translate known science into effective applications in everyday practice or communities.

Many ACSM members are actively engaged in translational research, and TJACSM will provide an outlet for the best scientific findings. Likewise, members involved with direct services to clientele would benefit from an authoritative source of information to guide their approach with individuals and communities. TJACSM will publish research investigations and evidence-based systematic reviews that determine how to put science into practice. We welcome submission of research articles from scientists who investigate the translation of exercise science to practice, including the study of policy that often impacts or determines how translation takes place.

Note: Submission of papers will begin with editor-invited papers in this month. The first issue of the journal is scheduled for April 1, 2016. As TJACSM develops, articles will progress to open submission. We will alert members when open submission begins and provide specifics on submitting papers via the TJACSM website. The production of TJACSM will take a slightly different format from other ACSM journals. Content will be updated to the journal site regularly, with articles appearing as they are accepted on a biweekly basis. In addition, we plan to capitalize on the digital nature of this journal by also including ancillary digital content with each manuscript.

Viewpoints presented on the ACSM blog reflect opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM.

Joseph E. Donnelly, Ed.D., FACSM, has been an ACSM member since 1978. He is currently professor, internal medicine and director of the Energy Balance Laboratory and Center for Physical Activity and Weight Management, Cardiovascular Research Institute at The University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas. He is a past president of the Central States Chapter of ACSM, past member of the Board of Trustees, a current member of the ACSM Strategic Health Initiative for Obesity and the first Editor-In-Chief of ACSM’s new Translational Journal. His research has focused on the translation of energy balance science to community settings to impact obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in children and adults.

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