Local Club Owner Phil Wendel
The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) recently presented Phil Wendel, owner of ACAC Fitness & Wellness Centers, the John McCarthy Industry Visionary of the Year Award for pioneering the development of medical fitness and wellness programs that address the needs of people with chronic disease or special health concerns.
ACAC’s physician referral program, also known as PREP, is widely regarded as an unprecedented partnership between medical providers and the fitness and wellness community. The PREP program allows any patient with a physician referral to begin a personalized exercise program based on the physician’s recommendations under the supervision of ACAC’s team of medical fitness experts, which includes nurses, physical therapists and exercise physiologists.
Wendel and Dr. Edward Phillips, founder and director of Harvard Medical School’s Institute of Lifestyle Medicine in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, recently presented a seminar together that highlighted ACAC’s PREP program as an innovative medical fitness initiative. “Medical professionals and fitness professionals know how powerful exercise can be in preventing and treating an array of medical conditions,” says Wendel. “If we can collaborate to create a new continuum of care, from prevention to treatment, we can positively impact countless lives.”
ACAC’s physician referral program has been very well received in its clubs’ communities, which include West Chester, Pennsylvania, and Charlottesville and Richmond, Virginia. To date, more than 9,000 community members have participated in ACAC’s physician referral program. In Charlottesville, 65% of area physicians have referred patients to the PREP program.
Wendel indicates that his ACAC clubs will continue to benchmark programs and services against standards and guidelines widely recognized by health professionals. He mentions that ACAC clubs are either certified or are working towards becoming certified by the Medical Fitness Association, an affiliate of the American Hospital Association. ACAC is one of eleven clubs nationwide to have achieved this certification.
“It is important for clubs to demonstrate that they are qualified partners in providing active and regular medicaloversight for members who desire these services,” says Wendel. “We want medical professionals and their patients to feel comfortable and confident that ACAC’s members receive the attention and guidance they need to successfully manage or prevent disease.”
March 2010, Charlottesville VA.