CAATE Newsletter – Spring 2021

Message from CAATE President: Eric Sauers, Ph.D., ATC, FNATA

In February, the CAATE leadership gathered to complete our strategic planning. It is unfortunate we couldn’t meet in person, but given the multistep process over several months that was used, we were able to come together virtually and achieve excellent results.
For the first time, we included our committee chairs and some invited guests to participate throughout our strategic planning process. The result was a strategic plan that will define our focus for the next three years. The goals we established and are now working to operationalize are as follows:

Goal #1: Sustainability/ Organizational Excellence
Continually strive toward organizational excellence.

Goal #2: Quality Assurance, Improvement and Innovation
Ensure continuous quality assurance, quality improvement and innovation across accredited athletic training programs.

Goal #3: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Foster the CAATE’s commitment to equitable representation for all, including students, faculty, staff and stakeholders.

Goal #4: Residency and Fellowship Program Growth
Grow accredited residency and fellowship programs.

Goal #5: Recognition of the Profession
Aid in the promotion of athletic training as a health care profession comprised of diverse, competent and highly educated professionals

The first goal related to organizational excellence focuses more on our internal operations, so you might not see as many evident public-facing changes in that area. However, the purpose of this goal is to enhance our governance structure and build the foundation that will position us to more effectively achieve goals two through five. We will share more about all of these goals in the coming months.

In addition to the goals, I am pleased to announce that we crafted and adopted a new Mission and Vision Statement:

Mission: Serving the public and profession by establishing and ensuring compliance with accreditation standards that facilitate quality outcomes, continuous improvement, innovation and diversity to enhance athletic training education.

Vision: Advancing clinical practice and improving health care outcomes through promotion of excellence in athletic training education.

In addition to strategic planning, we finalized our CAATE Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Statement that we are excited and proud to share with our community for the first time here in this newsletter below. Our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Leadership Development Committee has done an outstanding job of articulating our commitment to DEI and advancing our efforts in this area. To that end, we also received and reviewed 149 comments on the new DEI and Social Justice Standards for professional programs and residency and fellowship programs during our recent open comment period. We have a joint workgroup finalizing the new standards along with recommended timelines for implementation and educational strategies to assist with implementation. The CAATE Board of Commissioners looks forward to receiving and implementing these recommendations within the next two months.

During this past year, like all of our accredited programs, the CAATE has had to pivot in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps our greatest challenges came in the area of conducting appropriate comprehensive programmatic reviews, which have historically included an on-site visitation. I am immensely proud of the work done by our relatively newly formed Peer Review Committee (PRC). The PRC already had its hands full in preparing to do comprehensive programmatic reviews under the 2020 Standards for professional programs for the first time. In the face of widespread travel restrictions due to the pandemic, the PRC pivoted efficiently and effectively to the use of virtual site visits, thereby allowing the CAATE to continue carrying out quality assurance efforts.

Hopefully you have seen that the CAATE has been making significant efforts to enhance our educational offerings via our Education Committee. This is a concerted effort to support program faculty at all our sponsoring institutions and organizations, as they do the hard work of educating future athletic trainers and residents in accordance with the CAATE Standards. One example of their hard work was the tremendous CAATE Accreditation Virtual Conference, held Dec. 4-5, 2020. You can expect to see increasing numbers of both synchronous and asynchronous educational programs and services from the CAATE in the coming months. To that end, please do mark your calendars for the Annual Accreditation Conference on Oct. 6-9 in Orlando, Florida. It will be very exciting to gather again, and we are doing all we can to meet in person.

We are energized and excited about our new direction and the progress made to date in the areas of organizational operations, quality assurance via peer review, stakeholder education, DEI and strategic visioning for our future.

There is much more work to do, and our board, committees and staff are ready for the challenge!

CAATE Statement on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) is committed to equitable representation for all, including students, faculty, staff and key stakeholders. The CAATE creates the future of our profession and thus has an immediate impact and responsibility for engraining the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion into the educational process for students. As crucial as it is for us as health care professionals to enforce patient-centered care, it is just as important for the CAATE to enforce this core value into student-centered education.

As an organization, the CAATE is responsible for setting the standards for educating athletic trainers; therefore, the core values of the governing body need to match the needs of the profession. It is imperative the CAATE includes, celebrates and incorporates the concepts and voices of our changing world in our current and future narrative.

As athletic trainers, the population we serve is very diverse, and the clinical population needs to match the patient population. Representation matters. We cannot be an effective or successful community until all voices, especially those often marginalized in our field, are not only included but validated, amplified and celebrated.

The CAATE defines an inclusive environment as one that recognizes the contributions and supports of all, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, race, religion, age, sex, marital status, socioeconomic status, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation or ability. An inclusive environment has been shown to improve the quality of health care in athletic training community relations and positively affect the health and wellness of our communities. CAATE leadership strives to create an inclusive environment in our endeavors so that all patients are welcomed and valued.

It is critical for the CAATE to be committed to equitable representation for all, including students, faculty, staff and key stakeholders to enact educational reform, student-centered education, leadership opportunities and effective multicultural experiences in athletic training.

Background, Development and Requested Commitments for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

In February 2020, the Commission on Accreditation for Athletic Training Education launched a new committee for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Leadership Development (DEI & LD). The purpose of the committee is to focus on recruiting and developing volunteers and leaders of the Commission with a deliberate emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion and to intentionally promote and ensure a culturally proficient environment throughout the organization and our stakeholders’ programs.

The DEI & LD Committee has identified diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice as a framework for the plan. The committee will focus on the critical work of advancing the CAATE’s efforts to develop strategies, initiatives and best practices to cultivate a diverse and culturally prepared workforce, embrace diversity, assure equity, promote a culture of inclusion throughout the organization, and identify issues of injustice in society throughout the organization, our stakeholders and the communities we serve.

We are disheartened from our history of systemic racism that underlies societal inequities furthered powered by institutional policies, practices and services. The latest acts of violence and explicit systemic racism have given rise to a desire to become active and to take part in the solution against marginalizing minority groups. We aspire to be a community that embraces diversity and intersectionality in all its dimensions.

Definitions for the CAATE:

Diversity: creating an optimal learning environment for all, where people with different ideas, cultures, opinions, and experiences feel comfortable amongst each other and part of a larger dialogue to come together to improve patient-centered care. Diversity includes but is not limited to race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age, marital status, abilities, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and expression, and socioeconomic status.

Equity: Equity is providing everyone the opportunity to attain their full potential while no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of their social position or other socially determined circumstance.

Inclusion: Inclusion is a core component for effectively achieving diversity. Inclusion is achieved by cultivating the climate of the institution/organization through professional development, education, policy, and practice. This creates a climate that promotes a sense of belonging, respect, and value for all and encourages engagement and connection throughout the institution/organization and community we serve.

Social justice: Social Justice begins by recognizing that health care is a fundamental right. Social justice in medicine is equality in access to and quality of health care and right to health of everyone. Inequities in health care are unacceptable.

CAATE DEI Commitments:

  • Diversity: We commit to increasing diversity, which refers to the variety of personal experiences, values and worldviews that arise from differences of culture and circumstance. Such differences include but are not limited to race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age, marital status, abilities, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and expression, and socioeconomic status.
  • Equity: We commit to ensuring access to opportunities within the CAATE and to working actively to challenge and respond to bias, harassment and discrimination.
  • Inclusion: We commit to pursuing deliberate efforts to ensure the CAATE is an organization where people are welcomed, different perspectives are respectfully heard, and where every individual feels a sense of belonging, respected, supported and valued.

Nivet, Marc A. EdD, MBA; chief diversity officer; Castillo-Page, Laura PhD; senior director; Schoolcraft Conrad, Sarah MS; director A Diversity and Inclusion Framework for Medical Education, Academic Medicine: July 2016 – Volume 91 – Issue 7 – p 1031 doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000001120

2022 Call for Commissioners Opens This Month

This month, the CAATE will begin seeking applicants for the 2022 Board of Commissioners. These positions have been approved by the CAATE Board with the explicit goal of enhancing the diversity of the board. Interested candidates should:

  • Be individuals of the highest integrity and have an inquiring mind, a willingness to ask hard questions and the ability to work well with others.
  • Be free of any conflict of interest that would violate any applicable ethics of the CAATE.
  • Have the capacity and desire to represent the best interest of the CAATE stakeholders as a whole.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to supporting diversity, equity and inclusion.

Keep an eye on your email for the official call for Commissioners email.

Changes and Enhancements to ATCAS for the 2021-22 Application Cycle

Liaison is working hard in coordination with the CAATE to continue making enhancements to the Athletic Training Centralized Application Service (ATCAS). Over the past year, we’ve seen significant growth with 28 new programs signing on and to date 158 of our 348 professional programs are using ATCAS. That represents 22% growth in the adoption of ATCAS over the past year, which has been a strategic goal for the Commission. We strongly encourage all programs to consider migrating your applications progress to ATCAS to ease the application burden on students and to promote the collection and analysis of applicant and matriculant data for the benefit of all stakeholders. Below are two new features:

Analytics by Liaison

Analytics is a new feature that is now available to all ATCAS programs.  This tool will allow you to use data from your previous and current cycles to provide a bigger and more in-depth picture of each program’s applicant pool. 

Kira Talent Assessments Integration

ATCAS programs will have the option to integrate asynchronous video interviews into their ATCAS application process.  Programs using the ATCAS integration with Kira Talent will be able to take advantage of this new feature whether they opt to include the assessment at the time of application as a part of the application process, or for selected applicants only, after initial review. Some questions regarding the Kira integration are addressed below:

Programs will have the option to have the applicant pay for the assessment or to cover the cost on behalf of their applicants.  Each program has the option to determine their fees and have a signed contract directly with Kira Talent (not with ATCAS).

Assessment Content Highlights:

  • Each participating program will provide its own set of questions.
  • Each program will determine the number of questions asked and the time limit for responses to each question.
  • To maintain authenticity and prevent applicants from rehearsing their responses, ATCAS will not share questions to applicants in advance.
  • Applicants will have only one chance to record their response to each question, with no ability to review their recording or rerecord their responses.
  • Questions will be posed to the applicant as a video recording from the program.
  • Programs will be able to record a video greeting and welcome message that will appear ahead of the assessment.

Assessment Review:

  • Programs using Kira assessments will see a link to each applicant’s individual assessment within WebAdMIT.
  • Programs can use the “Interview” feature of WebAdMIT to score Kira assessments in the same way interviews are scored now, by completing the existing interview process in WebAdMIT while viewing the applicant’s completed assessment.

Assessment Process:

  • Programs putting all applicants through the assessment process as a part of the ATCAS application will have their assessment imbedded in the fourth quadrant of the ATCAS application as part of their program-specific requirements.
  • Programs putting only selected applicants through the assessment process will be provided a link to their Kira assessment that can be shared at any time with the selected applicants via email.
  • The Kira assessment is separate from the ATCAS personal statement, which will remain a written statement required of all applicants through ATCAS.

There’s never been a better time to register with ATCAS. For those wanting more information or who have questions, please contact Ann Donnelly at or David Trowers at The CAATE and Liaison will be offering a webinar on June 3, 2021 to demonstrate these new exciting features. Registration for the webinar with open this month; stay tuned for more information.

Upcoming Dates

June 1 – Annual Report Opens
June 3 – ATCAS Webinar
June 8 – CAATE Board of Commissioners Meeting
Oct. 6-10 – CAATE Annual Accreditation Conference