When Joon Young Kim joined the Department of Exercise Science at Falk College in the fall of 2020, his main work outside of the classroom was focused on patient-centred clinical research on pediatric obesity and type 2 diabetes.
But then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and Kim couldn’t work directly with children and young people. Undeterred by this obstacle, Kim turned his attention more to volunteering with the International Organization for Health, Exercise and Kinesiology (IOHSK) and as a result of his efforts was recently recognized with a President’s Volunteer Service Award presented by President Joseph R. Biden Jr. L’ 68
“It is my greatest honor to receive the President’s Volunteer Service Award,” says Kim. “I am grateful for the recognition I have received for my previous work at IOSHK and my research in the biomedical field.”
Kim was awarded the Silver level for more than 250 hours of volunteer service to IOHSK. Kim, an assistant professor in the Department of Exercise Science, has served as the chair of IOHSK’s Leadership Development Committee, a member of the conference organizing committee, and a fundraising and donor organizer since 2019.
Kim’s primary focus as Chair of Leadership Development was to encourage international junior faculty members to share their research contributions with IOHSK and the United States. Through his series of volunteer services, Kim helps advance health, exercise, and kinesiology in the United States
Kim was awarded during the IOHSK 5th International conference in Las Vegas, Nevada in early October. He received the award, a letter of congratulations from President Biden, and a silver medal for the Volunteer Service Award. In August, IOHSK was approved as the official certifying organization for the President’s Volunteer Service Award, and this allowed IOHSK to make Kim the first member of the organization to be selected for the honor.
“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized as President. While you may not seek recognition, your example and service can send a powerful message that encourages others to take action,” wrote Jinkyung Park, Chair of the IOHSK Awards and Recognition Committee for the President’s Volunteer Service Award, in his congratulatory letter to Kim. “You have been highly nominated for the great work and dedication you have brought to IOHSK. Congratulations and we sincerely appreciate your continued services and dedication.”
Kim made his name at Falk as director of the Clinical Research Laboratory, located in the Women’s Building, which focuses on research into obesity, metabolism and type 2 diabetes. The laboratory allows students to study the pathophysiology and/or risk factors for chronic diseases (metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes) and the effects of lifestyle interventions (physical activity, exercise, diet) on biomarkers of cardiometabolic disease risk in adolescents and adults.
“Exercise Science students are incredibly fortunate to have Dr. Having Kim as a teacher and research mentor,” says Lynn Brann, who serves as chair of Falk’s exercise science and nutrition and food studies departments. “The success of his students reflects the time and energy he invests in developing new scientists in the field.”
Falk College Dean Diane Lyden Murphy says the college is very proud of Kim and the athletic department for being recognized by President Biden.
“Joon’s work is a shining example of our mission to advance the health and well-being of all people within the principles of social justice,” says Murphy. “Through the International Organization for Health, Sport and Kinesiology, Joon has made and will continue to make an impact on the health of underrepresented groups around the world.”
In his various roles at IOHSK, Kim mentored international scientists from developing countries and supported their research through his scientific feedback and evaluation of their research proposals. And after his research on pediatric obesity and type 2 diabetes was put on hold, Kim said he’s been able to maintain his academic productivity by working with Syracuse University undergraduate and graduate students to complete their work at IOHSK -Presenting the conference.
“Many of our students at Syracuse University have received awards for outstanding research presentations, and I was also fortunate to receive an honor of Distinguished Professor,” says Kim. “I am very pleased to be able to support our students, advance the field of research, and contribute to Syracuse University and ultimately to our society and the United States.”
To learn more about academic programs, career paths, and research opportunities in exercise science, visit the Department of Exercise Science website.