Victor Convertino, Ph.D, the tactical combat casualty care research task area program manager was awarded the 2014 TACSM Honor Award for his outstanding contributions to exercise and sports medicine in Texas. Photo by Steven Galvan
By Steven Galvan, Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research
2 APRIL 2014
The highest recognition that can be awarded by the Texas Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine (TACSM) was given to Victor A. Convertino, Ph.D., a physiologist/researcher and the tactical combat casualty care research (TCCCR) task area program manager at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research (USAISR) at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The 2014 TACSM Honor Award for his “Outstanding Contributions to Exercise and Sports Medicine in the State of Texas” was presented Feb. 28 during the TACSM Annual Conference held at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.
As part of the recognition, Convertino was invited to be the speaker at the Raven Lecture, a keynote address given each year during the Texas Chapter annual meeting and named in honor of one of the chapter’s founders Dr. Peter Raven. His lecture, which was presented to more than 400 researchers and students from academic and government institutions, was entitled “Career Paths with Training in Exercise Science: 40 Years of Lessons Learned,” which focused on research from when he was a graduate student to his current studies at the USAISR.
“The primary focus of my lecture was to present to the audience, which were mostly graduate students, a perspective that their training in exercise science, particularly physiology, lays a firm foundation for a career path with unique opportunities for developing solutions that can translate to real-world operational problems,” said Convertino. “I described that the approach for developing technologies for diagnostic and therapeutic applications in the care of prehospital patients with life-threatening hemorrhage could be used to assess and manage healthy individuals during the stress of exercise or as life-saving interventions in athletes who are severely dehydrated or develop shock due to heat exposure or heat exhaustion.”
Convertino was also invited to serve as a judge during the “Student Bowl,” the conference kick-off event which had 30 teams from 18 universities from Texas as competitors.
“During my lecture, I told the students that I was impressed with their mastery of knowledge displayed during the ‘Student Bowl.’ But I reminded them that Albert Einstein challenged us with the notion that ‘imagination is more important than knowledge’,” he said. “It is our imagination that allows us to take our knowledge and develop new concepts and technologies that can be used to improve human quality of life. So I challenged the audience to imagine the use of new computer-based technologies that can measure the ability of the body to compensate for the demands of physical work or exercise and ultimately predict or enhance physical performance.”
It is that imagination that Convertino has relied on while conducting his studies during the last four decades which has earned him recognition from within the combat casualty care arena.
“Perhaps the most gratifying aspect of this award is that it was presented by a professional organization that is outside of combat casualty care,” Convertino said. “This award recognizes the impact of the research being conducted by the TCCCR task area which has broad implications for advancing the understanding of mechanisms and relationships fundamental to physiology.”
Convertino also stated that such implications were evident by two new collaborations that evolved from investigators who attended the lecture and are interested in the applications of diagnostic algorithms developed by the TCCCR task area, one for management of exercise performance and the other for monitoring women who undergo epidurals and hemorrhage during childbirth.
“I believe we will change the physiology textbooks” Convertino said.