The African region faces a unique challenge. Because of its double burden of infectious and non-communicable disease, the EIM Global Center (EIM-GC) decided to adopt a different strategy for this region by seeking opportunistic (rather than targeted) partnerships with African countries that judged themselves ready to be part of EIM’s focus on non-communicable diseases (NCDs). EIM’s Regional Center (RC) in Africa is located in Johannesburg, South Africa and managed through a strategic partnership with the South African Sports Medicine association. EIM currently has a presence in Ghana and Kenya. This region’s initial primary focus is on building awareness in, educating, and accrediting healthcare professionals (HCPs) and (exercise professionals (EPs), together with EIM-related public health promotion and research coordination.
The Australasian RC is located in Brisbane, Australia and managed through a strategic partnership with Exercise and Sports Science Australia. Three key areas of this region’s strategy include physical activity (PA) in healthcare related policy and advocacy, education and training of HCPs and EPs, and PA-related research. The Australasian RC has also assumed a leadership role for PA in the Australian workplace and released, Physical Activity in the Workplace: A Guide.
The Chinese RC is located in Beijing and managed through a strategic partnership with the International Life Sciences Institute Focal Point in China, based in the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. China’s initial strategy has centered on education. Physician training courses have been and continue to be conducted at major medical conferences in cooperation with the Chinese Society of Cardiology.
The RC for Europe based in Ulm, Germany has already formed the “European Initiative for Exercise in Medicine” (EIEIM) an non-profit organization of European task forces and supporting members. In an initial meeting of 18 nations in Cascais, Portugal in 2011, a founding board was determined and eight members signed the founding statues on June 27th 2013 in Barcelona. European countries involved with EIEIM include Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. EIEIM is recognized by the European College of Sports Science and HEPA Europe (Martin-Diener et al, 2014). Within Europe, public health and clinical researchers have longstanding achievements incorporating PA counseling for the prevention and sports medicine fields. Europe has in total 53 nations with a variety health care systems from public to private-based health insurances. In Europe, sports are often organized in club systems and professional sports partners have grown but have different importance in each country. EIEIM respects these country differences and autonomy but provides a continental framework for supporting its members promote PA counseling in the health care settings. EIEIM is also approaching the European Commissions’ Sports Unit in the Directorate General for Education and Culture (DG EAC) and the European Parliament to help advance these goals. EIEIM has organized two European EIM congresses, 2012 in Berlin and 2013 in Frankfurt, in conjunction and with generous support of the German Association for Sports Medicine and Prevention.
Latin America and the Caribbean
The Latin American RC is located is in Bogota, Colombia, managed through the EIMGC’s strategic partnership with the University of Los Andes. Other EIM countries within the region include Argentina, Aruba, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela. This region’s primary focus is on educating and accrediting HCPs through a training course that is offered one weekend per month in Bogota, as well as in other Latin American countries, throughout the year. Special emphasis is being given to educating both primary care and sub-specialists in a “train the trainer” model, because these physicians are key influencers within the healthcare system and are well placed to training other primary care physicians within their geographical locale. The EIMGC and Latin American RC worked with the Aruban Minister of Health and Sports in 2013 to make Aruba the first country to officially adopt the EIM Global Health Initiative as part of a national collaboration (Duperly et al, 2014).
Although there is not yet an EIM RC in the Middle East, EIM has been launched in several Middle Eastern countries, including Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. Initial efforts in these countries are focused on educating and training HCPs how to integrate PA assessment and counseling or referral into healthcare.
The RC for the Southeast Asian region is located in Singapore and managed through the EIMGC’s strategic partnership with Changi hospital. Other EIM countries within the region include Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand. Similar to the African region, this region’s primary focus is on educating and accrediting both HCPs and EPs, with alternating training courses being held for one or the other constituency every month.