Commissioner Elections



The CAATE is excited to commence with the election of two new Commissioners to fulfill the seats of departing Commissioners Ray Castle, PhD, ATC (professional program) and Chad Starkey, PhD, ATC, FNATA (post-professional program). There are two separate elections on this year’s ballot:   One for a Commissioner representing Post-Professional Programs and Residencies and one for a Commissioner representing Professional Programs.  There are two candidates for each available position.  Each CAATE Accredited Athletic Training Program is given one (1) vote to cast in the election of each new Commissioner. All programs are strongly encouraged to participate in the election process.

The electronic ballot will remain open until December 1, 2016. Review the candidate’s qualifications below. The commissioner ballots can be accessed here.

Qualifications and Initial Nomination

Applicants for the vacant Commissioner position are self-nominated during an open call period. All applicants must be in good standing holding current BOC Certification with no negative practice sanctions, and have maintained Certification for a minimum of five (5) years. Applicants must have demonstrated leadership abilities, and have current or past CAATE program experience at one or more of the three possible levels of accreditation. The Commission also encourages applicants with the following experiences to apply, although these criteria are not required; demonstrated knowledge, experience, and expertise in accreditation of athletic training education or institution accreditation/assessment experience, or international experience related to AT education or healthcare delivery. Additionally the Commission seeks applicants with a wide range of diversity with regard to race and ethnicity, age, education level, and geographic location, and supports the self-nomination of those applicants with complimentary professional experience to existing Commissioners in promotion of a diverse composition of the Commission to accurately reflect the constituents it represents.

Nominating Committee and Nomination Process

The Nominating Committee reviews all applicants to ensure that requisite criteria have been met and to determine which of the preferred qualifications, if any, the applicants fulfill. The Nominating Committee is appointed independently for each Commission election process, and its members are selected by the current President of the Commission. Per CAATE bylaws the Nominating Committee must be composed of two (2) current Commissioners, two (2) former members of the CAATE, JRC-AT, or PEC, and one (1) current Program Director. After reviewing the many applications received, the Nominating Committee has brought forward a slate of candidates for vote.


Each CAATE accredited Athletic Training program is given one (1) vote towards each Commissioner vacancy. While access to the ballot is available only through the Program Director, the Commission strongly encourages institutions/programs to solicit input from all of their stakeholders in considering candidates for selection. When voting, program directors will be directed to input their program school code which can be accessed in the program’s profile within eAccreditation.

The electronic ballot will remain open until December 1, 2016. The commissioner ballots can be accessed here.


Meet Candidates Button

Professional Program Commissioner Candidates


Barbara Long, EdD, ATC, LAT

Institutional Affiliation/Place of Employment:
Bridgewater College

Athletic Training Job Title:
Division Head of Professional Studies

Academic Rank:
Associate Professor


History with Accreditation and Athletic Training Application:

Over the years, I have worked in a variety of settings (hospital, high school, college, outpatient clinic, clinical outreach, etc.) and completed degrees in an assortment of disciplines. In 1988, I graduated from Bridgewater College with a degree in Biology; in 1989, I graduated from the United States Sports Academy with master’s degrees in Sports Medicine and Fitness Management; finally, in 2012, I completed a Doctor of Education degree in Organizational Leadership from Shenandoah University. I was certified by the Board of Certification (BOC) in 1989 and licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia Board of Medicine as an athletic trainer in 2002 (first year available). Seventeen years ago (1999) I was hired to transition the internship athletic training program to an accredited athletic training program at Bridgewater College. Since that time, I successfully devised a curriculum and lead the program through candidacy for accreditation and two site-visits resulting in the maximum accreditation length offered by Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and then Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). Obviously, those visits resulted from a submission of multiple candidacy documents and two self-studies to which I acted as the primary author. During the summer of 2015, I was promoted to a division head at Bridgewater College and charged with leading the College to transition its 136 year history as an undergraduate school to one capable of offering master’s degrees that fit the mission of the College. Through that work, I completed regional accreditation documents and have worked closely with the new athletic training program director to devise a program that attends to the future of athletic training education. Our program is now accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and we are currently navigating the substantive change process with CAATE.

My recent professional service has included work with the CAATE. In 2007, I became an approved sitevisitor and have currently completed eleven site visits (8 as a chair and 3 as a team member). From 2010-2016, I have served the CAATE on the Review Committee (2 years as a member, 1 year as a team coordinator and 3 years as the Review Committee Chair leading all professional and post-professional review teams). I have been selected to act as an ad hoc and ex officio member to a number of CAATE committees including the Site Visit, Substantive Change and Standards Committees. Over the years, my work with the CAATE has involved me presenting at the CAATE Accreditation Conferences and both site visitor and review committee training seminars. Finally, I was recently accepted to be included in the registry for site visitors with our regional accreditor SACSCOC and look forward to working in that fashion in the future.

Read Dr. Longs’s Personal Philosophy



Institutional Affiliation/Place of Employment:
Azusa Pacific University

Athletic Training Job Title:
Program Director, Master of Science in Athletic Training program

Additional Institution Job Title:
Associate Chair for the Department of Exercise and Sport Science

Academic Rank:
Associate Professor

Dr. Christopher Schmidt is an associate professor and program director of the Master of Science in Athletic Training program at Azusa Pacific University (APU) in Azusa, CA. Additionally, Dr. Schmidt serves the university as Associate Chair for the Department of Exercise and Sport Science within the School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences.

Dr. Schmidt’s post-secondary academic preparation includes a Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education and Recreation with an emphasis in Athletic Training from Whittier College in 1994, a Master of Science in Exercise and Sports Science with an emphasis in Athletic Training from the University of Arizona in 1996, and a PhD in Human Performance with an emphasis in Administration and Teaching from The University of Southern Mississippi in 2005. He has held national certification as an Athletic Trainer from the Board of Certification since 1994.

In 2016, Dr. Schmidt begins his 20th year as an athletic training educator having begun his career in 1996 at Whittier College as an Instructor in the undergraduate athletic training internship program within the Department of Physical Education and Recreation. While at Whittier College, he also served as the Assistant, then later, Head Athletic Trainer for the Department of Athletics. For the last 17 years, Dr. Schmidt has been on the faculty of Azusa Pacific University. During this time, he has served in a number of roles and capacities. From 2000 to 2007, he served as a faculty member and Approved Clinical Instructor for the Athletic Training Program (ATP), while also serving as a staff athletic trainer for the Department of Athletics. In 2002, the ATP was awarded initial accreditation for the maximum allowable five years by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Dr. Schmidt was active in the completion of the self-study document and contributed to the successful site visit. From 2003-2005, Dr. Schmidt held the position of Assistant Program Director with the tasks of serving as faculty advisor to the athletic training student organization, coordinating program contacts with prospective students, representing and promoting the program at university and communitywide events, developing alumni relations, and assisting the ATP program director as needed. In 2005, the role and responsibility of the Program Director position was divided between two faculty into the Curriculum Director and Clinical Director positions. Dr. Schmidt served as Curriculum Director until 2007 when he assumed the sole duty of Program Director. During the 2006-2007 academic year, the ATP completed a comprehensive review and was awarded continuing accreditation for the maximum allowable seven years by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). In 2013, the accreditation status of the program was extended by the CAATE for two additional years. In 2015-2016, the ATP completed a substantive change request to transition to the post-baccalaureate degree level along with a concurrent comprehensive program review for continuing accreditation. In 2016, the ATP was granted the substantive change request and the new Master of Science in Athletic Training. program was awarded continuing accreditation for the maximum allowable 10 years through 2025-2026.

In addition to his teaching and administrative duties at APU, Dr. Schmidt serves the athletic training profession as a site visitor and member of the Site Visit Committee for the CAATE. He received initial training as site visitor in 2008 and has served on six comprehensive review teams as a member (2008, 2010) and as chair (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016). He has also served as chair for one substantive change review team (2014-2015). As a member of the CAATE Site Visit Committee, Dr. Schmidt assists with annual revisions to the Site Visitor Handbook and with the selection and training of new and existing site visitors and site visit chairs.

Dr. Schmidt has presented at regional and national athletic training symposia, including the Athletic Training Educator’s Conference and the CAATE Accreditation Conference, on topics pertaining to athletic training education and accreditation. His current research and scholarly interests include examining the youth sport experiences of collegiate athletes, investigating the use of direct patient contacts rather than clock hours to determine quality clinical education, and discovering the best practices for graduate-level professional education in athletic training.

Read Dr. Schmidt’s Personal Philosophy  


Post-Professional Program Commissioner Candidates

Forrest Pecha, MS, ATC, LAT, CSCS, OTC

Institutional Affiliation/Place of Employment:
St. Luke’s Sports Medicine

Athletic Training Job Title:
Director of Clinical Residency and Outreach


Forrest Pecha, MS, ATC, LAT, OTC, CSCS serves as Director of Clinical Residency and Outreach at St. Luke’s Sports Medicine. He developed St. Luke’s post-professional, CAATE accredited, athletic training residency program and started the athletic training residency program at Emory Sports Medicine in Atlanta GA.  Forrest was part of the CAATE post professional education transition team, residency E-accreditation review team and continues his work with CAATE as a site visitor, review team member, and CAATE accreditation conference planning committee. He participated on the practice analysis workgroup for Board of Certification and is the NATA Liaison to American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM). He received the NATA Athletic Training Service Award in 2011. Forrest has been invited to speak nationally and internationally on the clinical roles, improving physician practice efficiencies, and the value of athletic trainers. He has been published multiple times through both peer-reviewed journals and professional articles on the value of athletic trainers. He serves as athletic training liaison between St. Luke’s and the U.S. Soccer Federation and U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, national teams. He was head athletic trainer for the U.S. Men’s Alpine Ski Team, participating in the 2002 Olympic winter games, and athletic trainer for the U.S. Men’s U-20 World Cup tournament and qualifying tournaments. Forrest earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, and his master’s degree from Illinois State University.

Read Mr. Pecha’s Personal Philosophy


Bonnie Van Lunen, PhD, ATC, FNATA

Institutional Affiliation/Place of Employment:
Old Dominion University

Athletic Training Job Title:
Program Director, Graduate Athletic Training Program

Additional Institution Job Title:
Chair, School of Physical Therapy & Athletic Training

Academic Rank:

Name and credentials: Bonnie L. Van Lunen, PhD, ATC, FNATA
Current Employment:
  • Professor and Chair, School of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training,
  • Director, Post-Professional Athletic Training Program, Old Dominion University Director, Health Services Research Doctoral Program, Old Dominion University
History with accreditation and Athletic Training Education:
  • Site Visitor (Chair and Team Member roles) since 1994
  • Conducted professional and post-professional (degree and residency) visits
  • Subject Matter Expert for the 5th Edition of the Competencies (Evidence-Based Practice)
  • Post-Professional Athletic Training Program Director for 18 years
  • Chair of Post-Professional Education Review Committee (2006-2012) (Program Review, Formulated Post-Professional Residency Standards)
  • Member of Post-Professional Education Committee (2010-2013) (2016-present)
  • At Large Member for Executive Council on Education in Athletic Training (2010-2013)
  • CAATE Post-Professional Transition Team Leader (2012-2014) (Transitioning all Post-Professional processes to the CAATE, Leading Team in Standards Revision for Post-Professional Degree Programs)
  • CAATE Review Team (July 2013 – present)
  • Taught coursework with professional (Canisius College for 3 years) and post-professional programs (UT-Chattanooga for 1 year, ODU for 18 years)
  • Grant reviewer and writer
  • Manuscript reviewer, Editorial Board Member – JAT, ATEJ, JSR, JAT
  • Teach spring course to graduate students which encompasses the CAATE professional and post-professional standards and the issues within accreditation

Read Dr. Van Lunen’s Personal Philosophy