EIM Emerging Leaders

Meet our emerging leaders, beginning with the current cohort. We look forward to seeing great things from them. Our previous group has already stepped up to make a significant impact in their unique professional roles.

2022 Cohort

Jessica F. Butts, M.D. earned her medical degree at The George Washington University in Washington, DC.  She completed a residency in Family Medicine at Tufts University in Boston and a Sports Medicine Fellowship at Indiana University in Indianapolis. She currently works at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, where she practices both inpatient and outpatient Family Medicine as well as Sports Medicine at the Bone and Joint Institute. She has had the opportunity to provide sideline and training room care for numerous professional teams, as well as the numerous NCAA Division I, II and III. She currently serves as the head team physician for Annville-Cleona High School, and The Harrisburg Heat and as the assistant team physician for the Hershey Bears Hockey Club.  She has a special interest in the Exercise is Medicine® (EIM) initiative, specifically clinical implementation of that initiative at Penn State, where she was able to successfully implement a Physical Activity Vital Sign (PAVS) into the EMR in 2020.  She continues to work towards operationalizing use of the PAVS into standard workflow in the ambulatory care setting at Penn State while she works with colleagues to build a Physical Activity Consultation Clinic as a resource for local and regional healthcare providers to deliver individualized exercise counseling for referred patients who have interest and motivation in increasing their physical activity levels.

Melody Kramarz, M.S., C.P.T., C.E.S., is a personal trainer, corrective exercise specialist, business owner, and recently attained her master’s degree in Kinesiology from the University of Connecticut. During her master’s studies, she completed a randomized controlled trial comparing the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans to the Move Your Way Campaign suggestions in search of the most effective prescription for increasing activity among inactive college students. Melody now owns an online fitness consulting business, MAKfit, where she provides behavioral counseling and personalized exercise plans for healthy people and people with chronic health conditions. MAKfit uses an EIM solution approach where wellness centers refer their clients to Melody for personal training. Her career goals focus on creating greater adherence to exercise guidelines and providing exercise prescriptions to people with chronic diseases. Melody’s long-term professional mission is two fold: 1) to utilize telehealth exercise counseling as preventive and curative global health care; 2) to educate personal trainers on exercise for chronic disease management.

Lia Lansky, M.S., M.H.A. has her Masters in Exercise Physiology from University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and holds ACSM’s Clinical Exercise Physiologist® certification and Exercise is Medicine® Credential. She works for Baptist Healthcare and has been tasked with the mission of creating and establishing the first Wellbeing Program specifically designed by Baptist for Baptist team members. She has experience in multiple facets of fitness including hospital based, health club, corporate fitness and the spa industry. She hopes to create a framework within which medical providers can have an honest and effective conversation with their patients regarding physical activity. She hopes to mainstream important prevention tactics into each encounter. Her long-term goal is to ensure she has the education and skills needed to train and inspire the next generation of professionals in the fields of exercise science, physiology, health promotion and nutrition.

Taniya Nagpal is an Assistant Professor at The University of Alberta with the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport and Recreation. Her research program includes exploring health-related stigmas, such as weight and obesity stigma, in the reproductive years and the relationship with health outcomes and behaviors like physical activity. Additionally, her research will include designing and testing inclusive physical activity interventions in the reproductive years, applying evidence-based and person-informed behaviour change strategies to improve adherence. Taniya was actively involved with EIM Canada as a graduate student at The University of Western Ontario. She was the Chair of the EIM On Campus group, and founded the EIM Canada Student Research Conference. She established the National On Campus executive team and has also been the On Campus liaison on the Canadian EIM National Advisory Council for the past 4 years. She is taking on the role as Co-Director of EIM Canada with the goal of continuing to leverage EIM as an opportunity for student leadership, building collaborations between prospective health and exercise professionals, and advancing access to physical activity for all populations.

Amy Rantala, M.D., works at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, WI in the Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine as a Primary Care Sports Medicine physician who specializes in non-operative treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. She works with athletes to treat and prevent injury and to return these patients as quickly as possible to full function. She also serves as Team Physician for the UW- Eau Claire BluGolds; Co-Chair of WILMA (Women In Leadership, Medicine, and Academics) for 2023; site lead for Point Of Care US in the Department of Orthopedics, and Physician Lead of the Concussion Program. Over time, she has seen her practice change to be reactive to the chronic medical conditions plaguing society. She learned about EIM years ago at a Family Medicine conference.  The concept dovetailed into her personal values and priorities for health care. EIM has provided her a well-organized platform for discussion and action planning with my patients.

Amy Elizabeth Valasek, M.D., M.S., is a physician for Nationwide Children's Sports Medicine and associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. She is fellowship trained and board certified in sports medicine. Dr. Valasek attended medical school at The University of Maryland. She completed her residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the Department of Pediatrics and sports fellowship at University of Maryland Family Medicine Department in Baltimore, MD. She is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Sports Medicine, and American Medical Society for Sports Medicine. She is active in the community, teaches group fitness classes weekly, and serves as team physician for New Albany Plains Local School Football team.


2016 Cohort

  • Allison Bowersock, Ph.D.
  • Renee M. Jeffreys-Heil, Ph.D.
  • Cindy Lin, M.D.
  • Cherie D. Pettitt, Ed.D.
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