Dr. Kathryn Schmitz is a Professor of Public Health Sciences at the Pennsylvania State University’s College of Medicine. She has led many exercise trials and her work has been translated into clinical practice. Dr. Schmitz has published more than 230 peer-reviewed scientific papers and has had $25 million dollars in funding for her research since 2001. She was the lead author of the first American College of Sports Medicine Roundtable on Exercise for Cancer Survivors, which published guidance for exercise testing and prescription for cancer survivors in July 2010. In June 2017, she became president-elect of that organization, assumed its presidency in June 2018, and became Immediate Past President in June 2019. While serving as chairperson in March 2018 of an International Multidisciplinary ACSM Roundtable on Exercise and Cancer Prevention and Control, participants agreed it is time for exercise oncology to go prime time. The question is how. Her professional mission is to answer that question. Her doctorate is from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
She began Part One of her presentation by indicating that only a miniscule proportion of patients who begin cardiac rehabilitation complete the entire number of sessions, even though it is clear that such rehabilitation works effectively. Patients are not being referred, they are not coming and they are not staying once referred. The first thing to do to fix the problem is to ask if there is evidence and the answer is yes. From there it is necessary to look at the referral base to see if there are clinicians who will make the referrals, whether 3rd party coverage is available for your program, and if there are acceptable co-pays. Flexibility is necessary regarding when patients can obtain services and a lot of training is required, not only for the clinicians, but also for the rehab providers. Research should be conducted on what is necessary to fix problems and the results disseminated so that more than just a single rehab facility is implementing correct procedures. Based on her research, she described an example involving breast cancer care. She discussed the risks of lymphedema for women undergoing treatment. Unfortunately, the advice patients receive places them at even greater risk of a condition they want to avoid. She described a weight training intervention.