Features Spring 2017

Advances in Health Education

OBU announces launch of Health and Human Performance degrees with cutting edge applications and cancer research.

The Division of Kinesiology and Leisure Studies will re-launch as the Division of Health and Human Performance (HHP) this fall giving students a competitive edge for graduate school and career pursuits, according to Dr. Tom Darling, division chair and associate professor.

Program restructuring will allow students to choose between a health track leading to clinical careers and a performance track leading to non-clinical careers. The advanced curriculum will add new clinical and lab courses for the health track providing key education required for careers in a clinical setting. A new physiology laboratory houses new exercise equipment and provides crucial learning experiences students need for success in their future careers.

“Division and programming changes were specifically designed to provide advanced education, training and experience for our students,” Darling said.

The health track will prepare students for graduate school and clinical careers in areas such as clinical exercise physiology, physical and occupational therapy, physician assistant and cancer research, among others. Students will use the new exercise physiology lab for advanced testing, new clinical labs, the OBU Cancer Rehabilitation Program and the Cancer Research Program.

The division plans to purchase a TrueOne Metabolic System, which provides integrated metabolic measurement for cardiopulmonary stress testing, indirect calorimetry and maximal O2 consumption. The system is used by the National Institutes of Health, NASA, Olympic Training Centers and various research and medical universities.

The human performance track is designed for students pursuing non-clinical careers in areas such as personal training/strength and conditioning, coaching, sports and recreation, teacher education and sports ministry. Current leisure studies programs including sports and recreation, camp administration and sports ministry will fall under this track.

New exercise testing and prescription lab courses will also utilize the exercise physiology lab providing students with hands-on training and guided experience working directly with clients. The next phase of lab development includes purchasing advanced fitness testing equipment for this track.

Students currently in the program may graduate with their present degree plan or may choose to take advantage of the new programs and curriculum.

“As we make these transitions, we hope to build on the division’s history of success and soon become the leading Christian exercise science program in the region,” Darling said.

Cancer Rehab Center

Under the direction of Darling, OBU will open its cancer rehab center on campus this summer on a limited basis, with plans to open to the OBU community beginning fall 2017 and to the public in 2018. Students will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience learning from Darling and working with cancer patients.

“I appreciate the support and encouragement I’ve received from the OBU family, specifically administration. Without their support, our goals and plans cannot become a reality. I want to highly encourage OBU affiliates to support the new HHP through gifts, donations, and/or scholarships. Outside support will greatly enhance and accelerate the development process,” he said.

Student Perspectives

Senior Hannah Dowell, a pre-allied health and rehabilitation science major, is excited for the growth and believes the change will bring great opportunities for students. Dowell is one of four students working with Darling in the cancer research program, which provides students with specialized education, training and research experience. Students must apply for the three-semester program and are selected based on an interview, GPA and previous experience.

Dowell, a second-year participant in the cancer research program, encourages other students to join.

“Through our projects, I have had the opportunity to further my knowledge in research by becoming a regional and national American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) chapter member as well as having the opportunity to attend the Rocky Mountain ACSM conference,” Dowell said.

Megan Bowlin, a senior pre-allied health and rehabilitation science major, is the team lead for the group’s research project, titled, “Exercise and Prayer Effects on Cancer Survivor HRQOL (Health Related Quality of Life).” As team lead, Bowlin will be the chief presenter at the Rocky Mountain ACSM conference in Colorado this spring.

“We are creating an intervention to determine how much exercise and prayer affects the quality of life for those who have survived cancer,” Bowlin said. “We will be doing this through an eight-week walking and prayer program.

“We hope we are truly making a difference in people’s lives with this research intervention,” Bowlin said.