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Kin@50 Conference 2018: Looking Back, Moving Forward

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Looking back at 50 years of Kinesiology in Canada and looking forward to the next 50 years as the profession of Kinesiology becomes more established.

Kin@50 Conference Overview

Last weekend I attended the Kin@50 Conference at the University of Waterloo. KIN@50 celebrated 50 years of leadership and education in the science of human movement, highlighted current research and technology, and challenged leaders in the field to visualize the impact of Kinesiology for the next 50 years. Throughout the conference different leaders in their respective fields presented research and reasoning behind different topics. These included Kin at Work, Fundamental Discoveries, Recovery and Rehab, Exercise, Nutrition, and Health, and a panel discussion about the future of Kinesiology. Some of the topics were based on current literature and lots of systematic reviews and meta-analyses looking at common topics like back pain, skeletal muscle, and nutrition for muscle growth. Other topics examined the use of Kinesiology as a profession and the application of knowledge into the community.

Looking Back:

It is the intersection of different fields of study that you find innovative solutions.

One of the main themes was looking back at the study of Kinesiology. We were very fortunate to have Dr. Howie Green who was part of the very first faculty for Kinesiology in 1965 at the University of Waterloo. It’s cool to see how Kinesiology started and how it has progressed today.

If you have read my previous article about the History of Kinesiology in Canada you will understand how Kinesiology began because Norm Ashton recognized gaps in scientific knowledge with physical education literature. Ashton, a professor of exercise physiology, recruited some young scientists that shared this vision. These scientists studied biochemistry, biomechanics, motor learning, sport psychology, and anatomy. These subjects have now become the fundamental basis of a traditional Kinesiology program.

This combination of different fields is what makes Kinesiology unique. Graduates of the program gain a very different perspective that is very good to continue and specialize into one area like Physio or Med School but with previous knowledge of how other systems work. During one of the discussions looking back at the past 50 years of Kinesiology, a comment was made about how it is the intersection of areas of study that you find solutions. That you need different perspectives to help solve complex problems because complex problems require a multi-faceted approach. Similar to how the body works, it is the synergy of different areas that help make a system work properly.

Going Forward:

Exercise and fitness as a vital sign for health

Looking forward at the next 50 years of Kinesiology, there was talk about the continuation of research in each of the areas of Kinesiology, again looking at the intersection of the different studies to help evolve and advance the study of human movement. A more prevalent theme throughout the conference was the profession of Kinesiology.

It was alluded to a few times throughout different presentations especially Robert Ross’ discussion about using cardio-respiratory fitness as a vital sign: a role for Kinesiologists in the healthcare setting. This conversation went in depth about creating validity for a Kinesiologist to work as part of the allied healthcare community rather than a supporting role. It presented challenges fitness/physical activity faces as an integral part of the healthcare system. It is known that exercise is good for you but in order for this to be used in the healthcare system, more evidence of direct correlation needs to be shown and repeated with effect.

Before that talk, Marina Mourtzakis took a different spin from research intensive talks and looked at the application of exercise in clinical populations in the community to improve health outcomes and clinical outcomes. She explored the immense need and demand for programs that promote health through nutrition and exercise. The use of a Kinesiologist to help develop and implement these programs was a key topic of discussion.

The very last talk of the day was a panel discussion about the future of Kinesiology. Two very different perspectives were taken into account. The one side was the older researchers and professors advocating for the continuation of Kinesiology as a study while the other side was a group of Registered Kinesiologists and newer researchers looking at the future of Kinesiology as a profession. As the different Kinesiologists around Ontario spoke, you could see the confusion with the profession. At the same time, the other side was confused and explained that Kinesiology is a field of study not a profession. There is no specific definition of what a Kinesiologist does but there is a specific definition of what is Kinesiology.

My Thoughts:

My thoughts are the same as my previous article about the Future of Kinesiology as a profession. After talking with some of speakers and fellow R.Kin’s I have expanded my thoughts and added a few points that need to be addressed:

  • R.Kin’s need more proven experience (No IPE experience required to practice)
  • R.Kin’s need a more defined scope of practice (hard when the field of study is so broad)
  • Needs a direct referral source (When X happens, you send them to Kin- has to do with scope of practice)
  • Kinesiology as a profession needs strong research to show cost-effectiveness of adding Kin to the healthcare system (Evidence that it works- but again what is it?)

As different Kin’s around Ontario spoke, you could see the frustration they had with the profession. Yes, we are a Regulated Health Profession but anyone coming out of undergrad with no experience or skills can become an R.Kin. Yes, I understand you have to write a regulatory exam to shown you have the knowledge but without an application component it is hard to show if the skills you studied can be transferred into real life situations. Even with the experienced Kin’s who work in rehab, disease management, ergonomics or personal training, there is no scope of practice that shows Kin’s are needed as most of these services can also be provided by another regulated health profession or another service provider. Kinesiology as a profession needs clarity in who their target or niche market of health and wellness is so then when X happens, you know to refer to a Kinesiologist. Until then Kinesiologist’s will have to find their own way in what they want to do.

The profession of Kinesiology is wide open for interpretation

People will see this as a negative. In fact, everyone I talked too saw this as a negative. However, I see it differently…Coming out of school and having a passion for entrepreneurship, this situation presents itself very nicely for someone like me. I now have the chance to help define what Kinesiologist’s do and help mold and decide what Kinesiologist’s are known for. The profession of Kinesiology is wide open for interpretation which allows innovative and creative thinkers to put their stamp on this young profession. I hope I can help advocate for the field and help progress the progression of Kinesiology into something that is a standard in Healthcare. This makes me excited and nervous all at the same time. Time to get to work..

Spencer at Kinformation

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