Category: Outreach

Michigan Tech University Recognized by Exercise is Medicine® for Efforts to Create Culture of Wellness on Campus

Michigan Tech University is one of only 156 universities and colleges around the world to be honored by Exercise is Medicine® for its efforts to create a culture of wellness on campus. Michigan Tech’s “UP and Moving” Program housed in the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology played a large part in helping the university to earn a silver level designation from the Exercise is Medicine® On Campus (EIM-OC) program. The University also increased awareness of the health benefits of physical activity through a series of public seminars and town hall presentations. 

“We are thrilled to recognize these campuses’ commitment to make movement a part of daily campus culture and equip students with tools to cultivate lifelong physical activity habits, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Robyn Stuhr, vice president of Exercise is Medicine. “These campus programs are nurturing future leaders who will advance a key tenet of Exercise is Medicine: making physical activity assessment and promotion a standard in health care.”

For substantial health benefits, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults engage in at least 150 min of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity each week and limit the amount of time spent sitting. To facilitate physical activity on campus and in the community, the UP and Moving program offers free virtual home-based workouts to keep students, staff, faculty, and community members active. Steven Elmer, Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology, emphasized, “Engaging in regular physical activity promotes good physical and mental health, improves quality of life, and reduces risk for chronic conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Importantly, regular physical activity also lowers risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes.”

The home-based workouts do not require any specialized equipment and are easily adapted to fit a wide range of ages and ability levels. Workouts are led by a team of graduate students (Isaac Wedig, Carmen Scarfone, Isaac Lennox) at Michigan Tech and range from muscle strengthening exercise (i.e., weightlifting) to aerobic exercise (i.e., walking) to yoga and everything in between. The live workouts are also recorded and available to watch anytime on the program’s website and YouTube Channel. “Moving forward, the UP and Moving program at Michigan Tech aims to partner with local health care providers to establish physical activity as a health vital sign,” explained Isaac Lennox, a master’s student in Kinesiology.

Of the 153 campuses recognized this year, 73 received gold, 60 silver and 23 bronze. All gold, silver and bronze universities and colleges will be officially recognized on June 1 as part of the 2022 Exercise is Medicine World Congress, held in conjunction with the American College of Sports Medicine’s Annual Meeting. Professor William Cooke, ACSM Fellow and Acting Chair of the Department of Kinesiology & Integrative Physiology at Michigan Tech, said, “faculty and students in our department were instrumental in educating both university and community members about the necessity of activity during the worst of the pandemic. The positive response we received from their outreach efforts was overwhelming.”

EIM-OC calls upon universities and colleges to promote physical activity as a vital sign of health and encourages faculty, staff, and students to work together to improve the health and well-being of the campus community. EIM-OC launched its recognition program in 2014 to honor campuses for their efforts to create a culture of wellness. Schools earn gold, silver or bronze status based on their activities. Gold level campuses have created a referral system where campus health care providers assess students’ physical activity and refer students as necessary to a certified fitness professional as part of medical treatment. Silver campuses engage students, faculty and staff in education initiatives and make movement part of the daily campus culture while bronze level campuses promote and generate awareness of the health benefits of physical activity.

View a complete list of EIM-OC recognized schools at the Exercise is Medicine website and learn more about the UP and Moving program at UP and Moving’s website.

About Exercise Is Medicine

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) co-launched Exercise is Medicine® (EIM) in 2007 with the American Medical Association. ACSM continues to manage the global health initiative, which seeks to make physical activity assessment and promotion a standard in clinical care, connecting health care with evidence-based physical activity resources for people everywhere of all abilities. EIM is committed to the belief that physical activity promotes optimal health, is integral in the prevention and treatment of many medical conditions and should be regularly assessed and included as part of health care. Visit www.ExerciseisMedicine.org for additional information.

About the American College of Sports Medicine

The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 50,000 international, national and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine. More details at www.acsm.org

Summer Course Offerings are Here!

KIP 1500 Foundations of Kinesiology and KIP 3700 Lifetime Fitness are courses that will introduce you to topics and information surrounding subjects such as coaching, exercise physiology, biomechanics, lifestyle management, and more. Check out the flyers below for complete details. 

Please contact Tayler Haapapuro (tmhaapap@mtu.edu or 906.487.3169) with any questions or if you would like more information. 

KIP Faculty and Graduate Student Featured in “Kinesiology Today” to Highlight COVID Community Outreach

Faculty members Dr. Kelly Kamm and Dr. Steve Elmer, along with PhD student Isaac Wedig, were featured in the latest edition of Kinesiology Today, which is a quarterly publication of the American Kinesiology Association.

The article discusses how the KIP department has become a resource for Michigan Tech and the Upper Peninsula during the pandemic for factual, evidence-based information. Also noted is the three-step initiative that the students and faculty have executed to achieve success in broadcasting their message.

To read the full article, follow the link to the 2022 Winter Edition of Kinesiology Today.

KIP February Seminar: Student Focused Research, Education, and Outreach in Kinesiology & Integrative Physiology

Please join us on Friday, February 4, from 3 to 4 pm through Zoom for a special student-led presentation.

KIP graduate students will be presenting their research to a virtual audience. Everyone is welcome to attend, and all attendees are encouraged to participate as the students field questions during their presentations.

Please see the flyer below for more details and for the Zoom meeting information.

Kelly Kamm is Recipient of Outstanding Faculty Award at 16th Annual Fraternity and Sorority Life Awards Ceremony

Dr. Kelly Kamm was recognized at the 16th annual Fraternity and Sorority Life Awards Ceremony on January 23 at the Rozsa Center. Order of Omega, the Greek Life Honor Society, coordinates the event to honor exceptional faculty and staff, who are nominated by individual students and supported by entire sororities and fraternities.

All of the nominees and winners can be found in Tech Today’s announcement of the ceremony.

Congratulations to Dr. Kamm on this well-deserved award!

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.

Ben Cockfield, a KIP Alum, Gives Pre-PT Advice

My name is Ben Cockfield, and I am currently a second-year student in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Central Michigan University.

I received a BS in Exercise Science and an MS in Kinesiology through Michigan Tech. I began my academic journey in the biomedical engineering department with aspirations to design technology that would interface directly with the human body in some way to improve performance or quality of life. I quickly found out that the engineering-based curriculum was not holding my interest – but the anatomy and human applications of the information was. This was hugely important for me and ultimately led to my switching into the department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology and is my first piece of advice: explore often, and if you can, early. Change your mind, change your major! You do not need to have a decision made about what you want to do right away but trying to open as many doors as possible early on – and keeping them open – is relevant for anyone, regardless of major or interests.

I didn’t know I was going to apply to a DPT program until I was starting my MS – although PT school had been on my radar, this felt like a bit of a late decision. Looking back, I am glad I took my time, and in the end, it cemented my certainty to pursue my DPT. This would not have been possible had it not been for the support and connections I made at Tech, specifically, my thesis advisor Dr. Steve Elmer, and the other graduate students in the department. Having a mentor that guided and pushed me was essential during my time at Tech and finding someone like this is critical for growth as both a person and as a professional. Moreover, interacting and networking with graduate students across departments was invaluable to me and highlights another important lesson – surround yourself with people who genuinely care about what they are doing. Passion is contagious, and when you are surrounded by people who are invested and willing to work hard because they care more about just getting a good grade, it encourages you to do the same.

One important note was that I didn’t wait until I was a grad student myself to initiate these interactions, and I would encourage other undecided students anywhere to do the same. The easiest way is to volunteer to be a research participant (affectionally referred to as a lab rat), this allows you to observe the type of research that gets done across a variety of departments while simultaneously learning more about the topic from the students and faculty directly – no one loves to talk more about the most up-to-date research, techniques, and projects than those directly involved with the process, so be careful how many questions you ask, you may end up being there all day!

The last bit of advice I would give anyone interested in pursuing PT is to involve yourself with your local community to some capacity – whether that is through a volunteer organization, church, job, etc. I have been a member of the Mont Ripley Ski Patrol for 5 years and believe that extending yourself outside of purely the academic community/college “bubble” is incredibly important for personal growth and getting in touch with the world outside of your own niche. Get out and learn about the people who make the community that you are a part of. This will extend to your future as a health care professional as well – you can’t expect to spend your whole life in the clinic or hospital!

To boil it all down, my advice for applying to PT school (or any graduate program for that matter!) would be to keep doors open (but don’t be afraid to change your mind!), surround yourself with passionate people, explore new avenues, and get involved with the community – Good Luck!