Since the beginning operations in 2012, the EIM Argentina National Center has been working to expand their reach to all corners of this vast country – the 8th largest in the world. How are they working to achieve this goal?
It all started with the idea of developing a team of EIM leaders in all regions of Argentina. To find and recruit passionate individuals, Dr. Jorge Franchella (the EIM Argentina National Center Director and ACSM International Trustee Board Member) and members of the EIM Argentina advisory board continuously traveled throughout the country, giving presentations at national meetings, hosting an annual conference in Buenas Aires and meeting with key stakeholders in each region. As a result of these efforts, there is now at least one EIM ‘Task Force’ member in each of the 23 provinces of Argentina from Salta in the northern borders to Tierra del Fuego in the very southern parts of the Patagonia. The purpose of this network is to find passionate leaders to engage health systems and leaders in promoting physical activity for the physical and mental health of their patients. Selected task force leaders tend to be younger, up-and-coming professionals, who are well-positioned in the fields of sports medicine and the promotion of active living. Task force members merge their knowledge and training in EIM (provided by the National Center) into their daily work, roles and responsibilities.
One example of an EIM task force leader is Dr. Sebastián Wolff, a cardiologist at the Hospital Italiano Mendoza, who is leading efforts in the province of Mendoza. Under Dr. Wolf’s guidance, EIM is adding physical activity training to the health professional training programs at the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, starting an EIM On Campus program and working with the local government to expand the reach of EIM throughout the province. Another EIM task force leader is Dr. Pablo Swinnen, a sports medicine physician, who is leading efforts to provide EIM training workshops to current health care providers throughout the province of La Pampa.
The EIM Argentina advisory board coordinates this national network of task force members through virtual meetings each quarter. They provide guidelines and propose work to task force members, while also encouraging them to set their own goals related to their positions, organizations and local context in each province. Because of this, each region has different goals and ongoing projects, leading to a regional implementation of EIM in Argentina. As a whole, the network develops materials for medical societies and tools for the public, such as brief home workout videos during the coronavirus pandemic, works with nursing groups and health professional training programs, integrates EIM into university academic programs and is in the early stages of starting a network of EIM On Campus programs.
The true beauty of the EIM Global Network is how it is implemented in each country differently. In some countries, the National Center coordinates a centrally developed plan. In other countries, the plan is to fully establish EIM in one region before expanding outwards. Argentina has decided to combine these two plans into their own unique strategy – nationally coordinating a network of regional programs all with the common good of moving EIM forwards as a national movement. We await with great interest to see the success and accomplishments that come from all of the hard work in developing this vast network!