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News from November 2014

Dr. Patricia Doyle-Baker, 2014 Bako award recipient

November 20, 2014

A conversation with Dr. Tish Doyle Baker, 2014 BAKO award recipient

Dr. Tish Doyle-Baker is the 2014 recipient of the Erwin E. Bako award for outstanding achievement and leadership in exercise science and practice. The award was presented by the Provincial Fitness Unit of Alberta at the 2014 Perspectives in Exercise Health and Fitness Conference in Kananaskis on November 8. Awarded biennially, the Bako award recognizes Alberta’s most outstanding leaders in the exercise and fitness industry. Past recipients include University of Calgary Provost, Dru Marshall; Adviser Office of the Provost, University of Alberta Faculty of Physical Activity & Recreation Dr. Art Quinney; Professor and Director of the Sport and Health Assessment Centre (University of Alberta), Dr. Gordon Bell.

What distinguishes Bako recipients is their commitment to research and evidence in the practice of exercise consultation combined with active engagement at the community and policy level. They are game-changers in the Alberta exercise industry.

As a Doctor of Public Health in the University of Calgary Faculty of Kinesiology, with expertise in clinical exercise physiology and epidemiology Doyle-Baker’s work spans family medical education, inflammatory diseases, environmental design and population health promotion.

Here are Doyle-Baker’s thoughts on the industry, and on receiving the award.

Provincial Fitness Unit of Alberta: What would you say to exercise practitioners about the direction of the profession? What would you encourage them to do to become leaders?.


“Positive direction. We need to keep doing what we are really good at which includes practitioner-client relationships. There is a growing body of scientific literature that confirms that the quality of the human encounter is a key component of exercise-health service delivery. For the most part exercise practitioners develop well-rounded primary prevention and therapeutic relationships with their clients, and this results in clients changing more than one behaviour. We need, therefore to sing the praises of what we do more.

Secondly, exercise practitioners should be aware of what other professions have done to raise their status. I say this because we are doing so many things right but still lack credibility and adequate compensation.

From a public health perspective we need to utilize campaigns to reinforce evidence base exercise-health messaging by promoting to health consumers to request opportunities to work with exercise practitioners. Why do we need to do this? Because, people who believe that the benefits of health promotion activities outweigh the costs are likely to engage in these activities. Hmmm, I think there are a few more people out there who need convincing. We also need to continue to push for collaborative relationships between other health care professionals.”

Provincial Fitness Unit of Alberta: How do you feel about being recognized at Perspectives among your peers? You are in good company, Dr. Dru Marshall, Dr. Gordon Bell and Dr. Art Quinney among others.


“My peers have all revolutionized the way people think about health and wellness. They have accomplished this within the domains that they work in, be it PE, sport, coaching etc. I am very honoured to continue along the same path and I was really thrilled to heard the words public health and epidemiology spoken so many times at this years’ Perspectives conference.”

Currently Doyle-Baker is undertaking a large prospective study called RECESS (recreational exercise, caloric expenditure, sitting and sleep study) in first year university students. “The study is a collaboration with our Active Living Unit [at U of C]. It is in the pilot phase where we are tracking student behaviour patterns through a wrist monitor (vivofit) and sitting, sleep and health (SF-36) questionnaires.”

The full study will be rolled out next September in conjunction with University of Calgary’s 50th Anniversary. It is a five-year study and the long-term goal is to put in place a motivation system for students to receive academic credit for health and wellness. One of the best aspects of the study according to Dr. Doyle-Baker: “So far it is being run by undergrad students!”

Throughout her career, Doyle-Baker has received recognition for excellence in teaching and scholarship and also for working at the grass roots with organizations such as the National Fitness Leadership Alliance. As a student, she was a C.I.A.U. Academic all Canadian, and recognized by the University of Calgary as a “woman who makes a difference.”