Five Questions with Katherine Dec, M.D. — outgoing president of AMSSM

A ‘pride’ of AMSSM presidents, past, present and future; (L to R): Chad Carlson, Matt Gammons, Katherine Dec, Chad Asplund

“I’m going to Disney!”

If you are a member of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM), you have already arrived in Orlando, FL or are heading there, to “the happiest place on Earth”: the annual meeting of AMSSM is taking place at Disney’s Swan & Dolphin Resort April 24 – 29.

I am a member of AMSSM as well as your humble CJSM narrator on this blog, and so I’ll be going as will many other members of the journal. We are all looking forward to it.

In preparation for the meeting, CJSM decided to catch up with Katherine Dec, M.D., the outgoing president of the organization.  Dr. Dec is a sports medicine specialist and Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Virginia Commonwealth University.   I can only imagine how busy she must be preparing for this upcoming week; we at CJSM are grateful she could find the time to be our guest on “Five Questions with CJSM.”


1. CJSM: We have to begin by asking you about your year as President of the AMSSM. Your term ends during the annual meeting, which takes place in Orlando FL later this month. What were your major challenges this year?  What were your high points?

KD: Challenges and high points were similar for the organization; it was fun, energizing and busy all year on our Board. Social media adds a challenging but high point dimension also. Major Steps this year:  3 year strategic plan drafted; beginning the branding and marketing initiative for AMSSM with the help of a strong task force and collaboration with marketing/strategic organization; bringing W.i.L.L. initiative (Women in Leadership Lead) to AMSSM.

2. CJSM: How long have you worked with Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, and what do you enjoy most about that role?

KD: After greater than 20 years in different private practice settings, I joined academia in 2015.  Never at a loss for teaching, research collaboration, or innovative and interdepartmental programming initiatives at this University! I enjoyed assisting in the building and opening of our 5 floor multi-clinic/multi-specialty center and now a grant for further clinical innovation regarding concussion and TBI.  The chance to teach is unsurpassed.  My challenge has been juggling the ever-changing opportunities, with the rest of life and family.

3. CJSM: We follow you [@decsport] on Twitter and enjoy your posts. If you were to compose a 140 character tweet to tell the world about AMSSM, what would you say about the direction the society will be taking in the future?

KD: AMSSM has not achieved its full potential; our membership is more than our next game coverage. We are comprehensive in care & vision.”

4. CJSM: You are a sports medicine physician whose training is as a physiatrist. The influence of physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) within the specialty of primary-care sports medicine (PCSM) is growing (e.g. physiatrist Mederic Hall, M.D., is the program chair for the 2018 AMSSM meeting, and you are the outgoing president).  What do you see as the particular strengths of PM&R which that discipline brings to PCSM?

KD: Physiatry along with Emergency Medicine, Peds, Internal Med and Family practice have always been the core of our start as an organization and I consider physicians of all these to be physicians of sports medicine.  The scope of PM&R residency is all types of functional recovery, rehabilitation and physical aspects of impairment and injury; with core competencies in brain injury, physically impaired athlete and the comprehensive neuromusculoskeletal care with our team approach in treatment it is a great supplement to sports medicine. PM&R has a diverse breadth (like AMSSM) of subspecialties and the breadth is what adds to the strong team care that our future care delivery needs for best patient outcomes.

5. CJSM: You are the 24th President of AMSSM, but only the fifth woman to have served in that position. What do you see as the future opportunities AMSSM can seek to enhance the leadership of women in AMSSM specifically, and in PCSM more broadly?

KD: I am very excited about the inaugural W.i.L.L.; it is modeled to current leaders to learn, ‘manage up’, lead in career and our organization; to sponsor younger colleagues and to collaborate internationally.  I would enjoy reaching across borders and oceans to grow the strength of sports medicine in the team of general healthcare.  There are more similarities than differences in women and men leaders; it is perception or culture that can limit contributions from women – sometimes we (women) limit our own reach!  If we as men and women leaders, start with understanding our own beliefs and have a culture of collaboration, I think the exponential growth in success that comes from this engagement will be a positive outcome that we would never have anticipated….being the change we hope to see in the world.  Hopefully I have served as well as the 23 presidents before me, and as you noted, the unique women leaders that preceded me.  You note ‘only the fifth’ but I see it as the 24th leader with a chance to share my gifts with AMSSM.


Will you have your ‘mouse ears’ on at AMSSM?

Thank you, Madame President!!!!

We will see you and all the AMSSM membership soon. Follow #AMSSM18 on social media, and tune into us as well (@cjsmonline — Twitter).

About sportingjim
I work at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio USA, where I am a specialist in pediatric sports medicine. My academic appointment as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics is through Ohio State University. I am a public health advocate for kids' health and safety. I am also the Deputy Editor for the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.

One Response to Five Questions with Katherine Dec, M.D. — outgoing president of AMSSM

  1. Pierre Viviers says:

    Enjoy a meeting which looked to be World Class!

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