By Kate Jacobson | November 25, 2019
Ash Walker, DHSc., MA, ACSM-RCEP, FAACVPR, is an assistant professor of sports performance and a health and fitness program coordinator at St. Andrews University in North Carolina. He is also one of the new AACVPR board members and serves as treasurer. News&Views sat down with Walker to get to know more about him, what drives his passion for this field and what he looks forward to doing as AACVPR's newest treasurer.
AACPVR: How did you become involved in AACPVR?
Ash Walker: I joined AACVPR many years ago when I began my career as an exercise physiologist in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation. As time passed, I was able to meet wonderful people who also worked in the field and who were involved in various leadership roles with AACVPR. My first appointment was with the Membership and Affiliate Relations Committee where I had the opportunity to work with some great cardiopulmonary rehab people.
Serving as the AACVPR Treasurer is a role in which I am familiar. I served in this role previously in 2016 but had to step down prior to completing my term because of professional circumstances. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve as the AACVPR Treasurer again and work with other passionate cardiopulmonary rehab professionals.
AACVPR: Why are you passionate about the field of pulmonary and/or cardiac rehabilitation?
AW: I am a promoter and educator at heart. Cardiopulmonary rehab is a Class IA recommendation in the science, yet less than 20%--30% of eligible patients are referred to these programs. Cardiopulmonary rehab is relatively inexpensive therapy compared to other medical services, and these programs save lives. As a professional and organization, we must continue to educate our colleagues and eligible patients about the value of cardiopulmonary rehabilitation in today’s tumultuous healthcare landscape.
AACVPR: What’s an interesting fact about you most people don’t know?
AW: I have developed a reputation for providing dynamic and relevant presentations related to cardiopulmonary rehab and chronic disease management at various conferences. However, this skill is a derivative of my time spent as an over the top character in the world of professional wrestling. You read that correctly. I used to spend my weekends as a professional wrestler talking trash and slamming opponents in the ring all in the name of entertainment for audiences. I have since retired from in-ring action, but the dynamic and energetic presentation skills remain. 😊
AACVPR: What do you hope to accomplish during your tenure on the Board of Directors?
AW: I have a lot I hope I can help accomplish with the help of my fellow board members. I hope to be a good steward for AACVPR and continue to bring awareness about the value of cardiopulmonary rehabilitation. I hope to be inspired by our growing membership and in turn reciprocate that inspiration to keep our passions ignited. I hope to help continue to grow the AACVPR organization so that AACVPR can continue to advocate for cardiopulmonary rehabilitation services around the country. Most of all, I look forward to continued collaboration with our passionate members on how we can improve our organization and the cardiopulmonary rehabilitation profession.