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Featured BOC Approved Provider: National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)

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The BOC regularly features BOC Approved Providers for notable efforts to enhance its continuing education programs for Athletic Trainers (ATs). Featured organizations follow the guidelines set forth by the BOC. Tony Ambler-Wright MS, LMT, CES, PES, CSCS is a product manager and master instructor for the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and shares his organization’s experience.

Taw Headshot In ArticleWhy does your organization choose to participate in the BOC Approved Provider Program?

While we’re most widely known as an organization that provides education, resources and tools to aid fitness professionals in their growth and development, we very much value the pivotal role ATs play in the continuum of patient, client and athlete health care. As multi-skilled professionals, ATs’ abilities to provide primary care, injury and illness prevention, wellness promotion and education, emergent care, examination and clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, and rehabilitation services make them uniquely qualified and positioned to work in a variety of settings and with multiple populations. Our credentials and specializations offer ATs opportunities to complement and/or expand their multi-faceted skillset and address many relevant domains such as, but not limited to, corrective exercise and injury prevention, athletic performance enhancement, nutrition/sports nutrition coaching, wellness coaching and business/professional development—supporting them in any environment they choose to work. Additionally, we have a long history of working and collaborating with outstanding ATs (and the athletic training community-at-large) in multiple capacities and at many levels.

For example, ATs serve on our scientific advisory board, contribute as subject matter experts in the development of our programs, coordinate and conduct research on our behalf, and represent our organization in the media, at conferences and industry events. Also, based on our partnerships with and support from professional organizations like the NBATA, PHATS, and PSATS, numerous academic programs, as well as the fact that ‘Sports Medicine’ is in our name and company DNA so-to-speak, we felt it extremely important—necessary, even—to support the profession and affirm our approved provider status with the BOC.

How have the “Standards for BOC Approved Providers” impacted your program development and administrative processes to offer continuing education programs for ATs?

If anything, the BOC standards and guidelines validated our program development process, which was encouraging, because the requirements to become a BOC Approved Provider are so extensive. As an organization we’ve always prided ourselves on promoting the importance of evidence-based practice to our professionals; it is the foundation for every program we develop and informs every decision we make when designing and building them. Having said that, pursuing BOC Approved Provider status, while at times challenging, highlighted opportunities for us to update and refine certain administrative processes which benefit not only the ATs we want to support, but our entire network of professionals, which is very exciting!

How do you design your curriculum to help participants improve outcomes for the patients they serve?

As mentioned previously, we’ve been very fortunate to have been able to work and collaborate with outstanding ATs in many different capacities which has directly (and positively) impacted how we design our curriculum and program offerings. We have an innovative product development team that employs both established best-practices and cutting-edge concepts to instructional design; importantly, the ability of our participants to apply what they learn to improve patient and client outcomes influences every aspect of course development. Understanding few things operate in isolation, our evidence-based programs promote a holistic, systematic and reproducible approach to achieving improved health, fitness, performance and wellness. Using the latest research, expertise from leading academics and practitioners, and best-practices informed through client expectations, preferences and outcomes, we strive to provide principles-focused education, resources and solutions to allow professionals to treat the total person.

What advice do you have for organizations looking to be on the cutting edge and maintain compliance, as they develop education programs?

First and foremost, stick to the standards and guidelines! Kidding aside, if I can offer any advice to other organizations looking to be on the cutting edge and maintain compliance as they develop education programs is to remain open-minded, evaluate emerging trends and make the effort to solicit and receive feedback from the athletic training community to identify common pain points and practice gaps. These are areas of opportunity for us, as BOC Approved Providers, to develop programs that could at best elevate, grow and expand the profession; or at the least, attempt to minimize burden on, in many cases, over-leveraged ATs so they may have an even greater impact on patients and clients—and therefore be more effective and successful in their respective environments. Additionally, it’s important to solicit and analyze feedback from existing customers to ensure programs are meeting or exceeding expectations (theirs and yours), and if they aren’t, it provides an opportunity to improve and deliver what participants want and need. Lastly, if it makes sense, look for complementary organizations to collaborate with on program development in which what they offer fills a particular need for you, and vice versa. This not only ensures a mutually beneficial relationship for both groups, but also that ATs are being exposed to and provided with the most comprehensive education, resources and tools to serve their patients and clients.

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