Category: News

KIP Alum Deedra Irwin Named to US Olympic Biathlon Team

Deedra Irwin has been named to the 2022 U.S. Olympic Biathlon Team. She was at Michigan Tech from 2010 to 2015 while earning her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science with a Coaching minor.

Congratulations to Deedra and wishing her the best of luck when the Biathlon competes February 5-19 at the 2022 Beijing Olympics in the Zhangjiakou Zone!

To read more about Deedra’s accomplishments and career highlights, find the full announcement on the Michigan Tech Athletics website.


KIP Students Find Creative Ways to Move Research and Scholarly Work

KIP’s COVID-19 Graduate Student Team published a letter to the editor online in December 2021. The publication will also appear in print in the March 2022 issue of Advances in Physiology Education. The contributing students include Ashley Hawke (PhD student), Xinqian Chen (PhD student), Isaac Lennox (MS student), Carmen Scarfone (MS student), Isaac Wedig (PhD student), and Jamie Phillips (DPT student). The full publication can be read on the Advances in Physiology Education website.

KIP alum and current Central Michigan University DPT student, Jamie Phillips wrote a blog post on blood flow restriction and the Tokyo Olympics that was posted on the American Physiological Society’s I Spy Physiology Blog.


KIP Graduate Students Prescribe Ways to Stay Healthy and Safe from COVID-19 this Holiday Season

What started out as a simple class project in Professor Steven Elmer’s Advanced Exercise Physiology course, has turned into something much more impactful. Led by doctoral student Ashley Hawke, the team of graduate students (Ashley Hawke, Xinqian Chen, Isaac Lennox, Carmen Scarfone) created the video “Staying Healthy and Safe During Covid-19” to provide: 1) updates on latest COVID-19 trends, 2) recommendations on how to stay safe, 3) travel tips, and 4) strategies to maintain physical and mental health.

The video stresses the importance of relying on credible information from sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state and local health departments, educational institutions, and non-biased news sources. The two-minute YouTube video offers a COVID-19 snapshot and has been circulated on campus and in the community. It has also been featured in the Daily Mining Gazette, Keweenaw Report, and on ABC 10 TV, and posted on the Western UP Health Department, Copper Country Strong, UP COVID-19 Town Hall, and Frontline UPdates Joint Information Center social media pages.

With Michigan COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations recently reaching an all-time high, communication of health information to help keep the campus and community safe and healthy is critical. Rural communities continue to face challenges, as they typically have a limited number of medical providers, hospital services, and public health resources compared to urban communities. “These students leveraged their broad-based training in health science to contribute to the COVID-19 response in their community,” explained Elmer.

Elmer also emphasized that the students’ video was in response to the US Surgeon General’s Advisory Statement to Build a Healthy Information Environment. The Advisory Statement tasks educators, researchers, and professionals to confront misinformation and help improve the quality of health information so that community members can make informed decisions about the health of themselves, their family, and community.

Isaac Lennox, a master’s student who aims to become a physician specializing in family medicine and rural health, explained that in addition to the video, the team created a COVID-19 resource website page along with a bi-monthly COVID-19 infographic for students, staff, and faculty in the department. With the rapidly evolving nature of the pandemic and amount of misinformation circulating, it can be difficult to keep up and stay informed. The student team collaborated with Assistant Professor Kelly Kamm, an expert in infectious disease and epidemiology in the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology, to ensure accuracy of all materials created.

To stay safe during this pandemic, especially with the upcoming holiday season, the students encourage everyone to get vaccinated and get a booster shot if you are already vaccinated. They also recommend following the 4 W’s whenever possible – Wear a mask, Wash your hands, Watch your distance, and Walk to stay physically active. Looking ahead, the team of students will continue to do their part and use their expertise to help both the campus and community. As future health professionals, they want to learn as much as they can from the current pandemic, so they are better prepared to lead during the next pandemic. The COVID-19 video can be accessed here and on the MTU “Unscripted Research Blog.”


Dr. Steven Elmer, PhD Student Isaac Wedig, and UP & Moving Featured in “Unscripted Research Blog”

Isaac Wedig, KIP PhD Student
Dr. Steven Elmer, KIP

Isaac Wedig and Dr. Elmer wrote a guest blog for the series on how physical activity is a vital component to combating COVID-19. They go on to write about their development of UP and Moving, the exercise program created to keep the community healthy, as a response to the pandemic.

With over 200 free virtual workouts and counting, they are furthering their message that “exercise is medicine.”

Read the full blog post on the Unscripted Research Blog.


Steve Elmer Named AKA Leadership Institute Fellow

Steve Elmer has been named an American Kinesiology Association (AKA) Leadership Institute Fellow for the 2023 cohort.

The AKA Leadership Institute utilizes a mentoring model to provide exceptional training and networking for emerging faculty leaders. Fellows are limited to around 10 per year, and the AKA maintains a fellows-to-mentors ratio of no more than 2:1.

Elmer will begin the 12-month leadership program in January 2022.


KIP Student Rachel Clayton Spent Her Summer Creating a 3D Vestibular Model

Read more about how Rachel’s internship inspired her to create a vestibular model that demonstrates what happens in the inner ear with Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo.

This summer I had the opportunity to intern with Josh Hill, DPT at UPHS-Portage Rehab Center. My special project for the internship was the creation of a vestibular model. This model can be used in the clinic to demonstrate to the patient what occurs in the inner ear with the condition Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). BPPV occurs when a crystal from the otolith organs becomes dislodged and falls into the semicircular canals of the vestibular labyrinth. The crystals that fall into the semicircular canals respond to changes in head positions that they would not normally respond to causing the patient to feel dizzy. 

The idea for my project arose in an appointment when Josh was trying to explain what causes vertigo in the case of BPPV. He shared, with me, instructions to create the model that would benefit patients’ understanding in these cases. I began the project by working with the 3D printing lab at Michigan Tech to print the base of the model. Mineral oil, clear plastic tubing, and crushed stone inlay were used to create the semicircular canals. The clear plastic tubing was increased in scale to represent the actual dimensions of the semicircular canals. The tubing was filled with mineral oil and a little crushed stone inlay. The small size of the stones in the mineral oil fall at the approximate speed at which the stones would move in the semicircular canals. 

Follow the link here to watch a video of Rachel’s model in action.


COVID-19 Town Hall Thursday, August 26: Dealing with the Delta Variant

Join us Thursday from 7:00-8:00pm ET for the COVID-19 Community Town Hall. Organized by the Health Research Institute at Michigan Technological University, the 60-minute Town Hall broadcast can be heard live at 7:00pm ET on 97.7 The Wolf (WOLV-FM) and 99.1 (WIKB-FM) and viewed through a Zoom Webinar and Facebook Live. The Town Hall can also be viewed on ABC 10 Sunday at 12:00pm EST. Town Hall moderators Steve Elmer and Kelly Kamm (KIP/HRI) will discuss a range of pandemic-related issues (vaccines, community transmission, mental health and well-being, and more). More information along with the Zoom link for the Town Hall can be found on the Health Research Institute’s COVID-19 Town Hall Series webpage.


COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics at MTU

With the beginning of the Fall semester around the corner, Michigan Tech in partnership with the Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center will be holding walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinics on campus. These clinics are open to all students, faculty, and staff.

The dates are August 24 during Orientation Week, and then September 1 and September 2 at the Rozsa Center Lobby from 3 to 5 pm. No appointment is required.

Please visit MTU Flex’s website for more information about the upcoming clinics and for additional information on quarantine guidelines and COVID-19 vaccination.


Gain Experience through the Athletic Training Student Aid Program

For those interested in Athletic Training, there is a great opportunity to gain some experience at Michigan Tech!

The Athletic Training Student Aid Program gives students the opportunity to work under an athletic trainer to acquire knowledge and skills related to the domains of athletic training, which can be valuable to all healthcare professions. Areas of opportunity in the ATSA Program include assisting in practice and game coverage, observing orthopedic injury assessments, and potential travel to MTU away games.

Please find the ATSA Program’s flyer and visit the program’s website for more information.