Clínica MEDS, established in 1992, is the leading sports medicine center in Chile with nine clinics across the country. Their commitment to promote physical activity as an integral part of an individual’s health and well-being is demonstrated through their decision to host the EIM Chile National Center. This past year, seven Clínica MEDS sites took efforts a step further and displayed messaging promoting exercise as a medicine throughout their facilities. In each clinic, the EIM-related image "ACTIVOL" is displayed on the main video wall at the entrance to the clinic, and on as many as 48 screens throughout the facility, touching the 250,000 patients that attend the clinics every year.
Sandra Mahecha, Ph.D., M.D., leads the EIM Chile National Center. Dr. Mahecha serves as director of physical activity promotion on the Clínica MEDS team and as director of sports medicine and physical activity medicine at the Universidad Mayor. Under her guidance, EIM Chile hosts annual workshops for health and exercise professionals, training them to assess patient physical activity levels, provide physical activity prescriptions and empower their patients to engage in more active lifestyles through individual behavior change strategies. In January 2020, EIM Chile will roll out an online version of the training course to expand its reach to professionals across the entire country. To our knowledge, this is one of only two examples– South Africa being the other–of EIM trainings being offered online at a national level.
Besides training current health professionals, the EIM Chile team is also working to integrate physical activity in medical school curriculums across the country. The Universidad Mayor became the first adopter of “EIM training,” dedicating classes to physical activity for students in each of the seven years of medical school. Five other universities, including the Universidad de Chile, are also working with EIM Chile to integrate the online physical activity training course as a required part of their curriculum.
The EIM National Center continues to collaborate with the Chilean Ministry of Health, specifically the director of public health and the director of allied health, to develop a Chilean obesity prevention program for school-aged children and pregnant women with the goal to prevent obesity early in life. The Ministry is considering a proposal to have the EIM Chile team teach health professionals across the country how to provide patients with exercise prescriptions. Other accomplishments of the EIM Chile National Center include: being featured on Connectados, a national television station shown throughout Chile and Latin America; partnering with Sanofi to print 3,000 boxes of Activol to distribute to health clinics throughout Chile; and assisting other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (Aruba, Mexico, Colombia) in providing training activities for their health providers and fitness professionals.
We are extremely proud of all the work undertaken by the EIM Chile National Center and are excited to see the results of their efforts in the years to come!