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College of Sport and Exercise Medicine

Posted: 2022-07-21 13:23

College of Sport and Exercise Medicine of South Africa
becomes the 29th Constituent College of the CMSA

It is with great pride and excitement that the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa (CMSA) announces the inclusion to its ranks of a 29th Constituent College, the College of Sport and Exercise Medicine of South Africa (CSEM). “We are so delighted to welcome the CSEM to the broader family of the CMSA´ says Immediate Past President of the CMSA, Prof Flavia Senkubuge. “Congratulations to our colleagues who have worked tirelessly over many years ensuring that the CSEM is a reality. The CSEM moves the needle on the human resource capacity of specialist professionals in our health system and certainly will contribute greatly in advancing our national health agenda.”

“The establishment of the Sport and Exercise Medicine profession as a specialist clinical discipline was a life-long dream”, says Professor Louis Holtzhausen, former head of the Division Sport and Exercise Medicine at the University of the Free State. “The formation of the CSEM was the product of decades of work and persistence from stalwarts in the profession.”

The discipline evolved out of a part-time postgraduate Sport Medicine program for medically qualified persons introduced at the University of Cape Town in 1990 followed by similar programs at the Universities of Pretoria, Free State, Stellenbosch and Wits. Graduates from these programs formed the core group who identified the need to create a specialist discipline and established a steering committee for this purpose in 1997 with Professor Martin Schwellnus as its Chairperson. Engagements continued with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), the National Department of Health, South African university medical schools and the CMSA. This led to a formal application to the CMSA by the steering committee to establish the CSEM. Following approval in 2011, the CMSA initiated the process for the registration of the speciality in Sport and Exercise Medicine by the HPCSA with approval received in 2016, culminating in the amendments to the Health Professions Act to promulgate Sport and Exercise Medicine as a Specialty on 27 March 2020. This led to the inclusion of the CSEM in the Memorandum of Incorporation of the CMSA at its AGM on 29 October 2021, a significant milestone. Associate Membership of the CMSA was subsequently awarded to academic leaders in the discipline by stringent peer review These associate members formed the first interim council of the CSEM. The Interim Council elected Professor Martin Schwellnus as its College President, Professor Jon Patricios as its Senator and Dr Phatho Zondi as its Secretary.

Prof Schwellnus is Director of the Sport, Exercise Medicine and Lifestyle Research Institute (SEMLI) at the University of Pretoria, Director of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Research Centre in South Africa and a longstanding member of the IOC Medical and Science Group. Prof Schwellnus says: “As the newly established CSEM of South Africa we have a responsibility to lead this new specialty so that it plays its rightful role in the CMSA by sustaining and improving SEM postgraduate medical education and training in Southern Africa, while also acting as the independent examining body for the new specialty. We will strive for greater national and international recognition in our field and actively promote and maintaining the highest ethical and professional standards. The CSEM will provide guidance on issues affecting medical standards in the field of sport and exercise medicine and will work to fully integrate the specialty within the structure and function of health care services in South Africa”.

The interim council members will draft the constitution of the CSEM, set up task groups in key areas and institute a number of processes, including the inclusive nomination of other members of the sport and exercise medicine fraternity to Associate membership of the CSEM. The interim council will define these criteria and processes, enable new CSEM members registration as specialists with the HPCSA, support the establishment of registrar training programmes and oversee examination procedures consistent with CMSA and international standards.

The Interim SEM Council members are:

  • Prof Martin Schwellnus (President)
  • Dr Phathokuhle Zondi (Secretary)
  • Prof Jon Patricios (Senator)
  • Prof Demitri Constantinou
  • Prof Wayne Derman
  • Dr Louis Holtzhausen
  • Prof Christa Janse van Rensburg
  • Dr Mamosilo Lichaba
  • Dr Dimakatso (Maki) Ramagole
  • Prof Jeroen Swart
  • Dr Craig Thompson

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