Jim Whitehead Joins ACL as the Director of NIDILRR

April 1, 2019

ACL is pleased to announce that Jim Whitehead has been appointed to serve as the director of the National Institute of Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR).

Jim comes to ACL from Indianapolis, Indiana. Since 1990, he has led the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) as its CEO/Executive Vice President. ACSM’s mission is very similar to NIDILRR’s – it is a professional society that accelerates scientific discovery in sports medicine and the exercise sciences and translates it into a large portfolio of effective practice, education, and programs.

Jim also is the co-founder of the Inclusive Fitness Coalition (IFC), which promotes equitable access to, and safe use of, fitness and recreational equipment, facilities, and programs, to help reduce debilitating secondary conditions associated with disability and a sedentary lifestyle. Today, the IFC includes more than 200 organizations and individuals representing a cross-section of the disability rights, sports, health/fitness and civil rights communities. In addition, the IFC’s Commit to Inclusion campaign and its Partnership for Inclusive Health have united organizations around the world in advancing the implementation of guidelines and programming to empower people with disabilities to lead healthy, active lifestyles.

Jim also has played a leadership role in a number of organizations, including the Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention, the Joint Commission on Sports Medicine and Science, and several others. In addition, he has served as a consultant and advisor to more than 100 organizations in government, academia and the private sector, applying his expertise in systematic approaches to excellence innovation and replicable and sustainable best practices to support strategic planning.

Jim graduated from the University of Alabama in Birmingham with degrees in political science and history.


Last modified on 05/27/2020


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