Janet W. Rankin of Blacksburg, Va., professor of human nutrition, foods and exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and associate dean of the university’s Graduate School, has been elected the next president of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). With a member base of 45,000, ACSM is the largest organization of its kind in the world.

Rankin joined the university community in 1982 as an assistant professor of health, physical education, and recreation.  Over the next 30 years, she held various positions, including acting department head and interim director of the university’s Institute for Biomedical and Public Health Sciences. In 2008, the institute merged with the Fralin Biotechnology Center to become the Fralin Life Science Institute.  Rankin was made full professor in 1998 and accepted additional responsibilities in the graduate school in 2009.

Rankin received a Certificate of Teaching Excellence in 1993 and a service award from the Southeast American College of Sports Medicine in 2001. She has served as an expert member on national panels such as NASA and the National Institutes of Health and has served as a participant or core faculty member for dozens of grants in the last 15 years. Her current research area is focused on optimal nutritional strategies to reduce inflammation and other health complications related to athletic training and obesity. Rankin has authored numerous publications, articles, and book chapters and has presented at more than 20 professional meetings, including international meetings in China and Argentina.

As ACSM president, Rankin’s area of special focus is the ActivEarth initiative that will focus on enhancing global infrastructure, access, and use of active transportation such as walking and cycling.

“This strategy provides environmental and economic benefits from physical activity in addition to health benefits,” she said. “That’s why I selected it as my presidential legacy in ACSM.

Rankin earned her bachelor’s degree from Duke University and her Ph.D. from the University of California at Davis.

Founded in 1954, the ACSM promotes scientific research, education, and practical applications of sports medicine and exercise science to maintain and enhance physical performance, fitness, health, and quality of life.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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