January 25, 2024

Irfan M. Asif appointed to Heersink Endowed Professorship in Sports and Exercise Medicine

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Irfan Asif, M.D.The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees has appointed Irfan M. Asif, M.D., chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine and associate dean of primary care and rural health, as the inaugural recipient of the Heersink Endowed Professorship in Sports and Exercise Medicine.

“It is an honor that the Board of Trustees chose me to hold the first Heersink Endowed Professorship in Sports and Exercise Medicine,” said Asif. “In our roles as sport and exercise medicine physicians, researchers, and educators, we have an opportunity every day to address critical health disparities and promote the under-utilized power of exercise and physical activity as medicine. I look forward to continuing this work in our own community and beyond.”

The board voted to approve Asif during its November 2023 meeting.

Asif is internationally renowned in sports cardiology research with an emphasis on combating physical inactivity for the prevention of cardiometabolic disease. His most recent work, partnered with the National College Athletic Association (NCAA), evaluates the incidence, causes, and trends of sudden cardiac death (SCD) among young competitive athletes, identifying preventative policies for public use.

Other recent research focuses on health equity and shifting the emphasis of injury and illness prevention from elite athletes to underserved and marginalized groups, such as para athletes.

He has earned a number of honors, including the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine Best Overall Research Award, the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Best Overall Research Paper, and the David T. Sisk Award for Best Review Paper in the journal, Sports Health. Asif regularly speaks and participates at national and international venues, including the upcoming 7th International Olympic Committee Conference on the Prevention of Injury and Illness in Sport, where he will deliver the opening keynote. He also spoke at the American College of Cardiology Sports and Exercise Cardiology Think Tank, and the Spanish Olympic Committee Medical Commission of Spain XIV Conference of Medicine and High-Level Sport.

Asif—along with other Heersink School of Medicine faculty receiving new endowed chairs and professorships—will be honored at a reception this Spring.