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New Center for Wellness Education and Research to Open at Springfield College

May 14, 2009

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., May 14, 2009 -- Springfield College will open a new Center for Wellness Education and Research on Sept. 1 to conduct groundbreaking research, be a national source of the latest wellness information, and design and present public wellness education programs.

“Our intention is to be a premiere national resource on wellness across the lifespan,” said Jean A. Wyld, Springfield College vice president for academic affairs.

“Interest in personal wellness has never been higher. There is great demand from the public, as well as health and wellness practitioners, for reliable data on effective strategies for achieving holistic wellness with its many components -- physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and environmental,” Wyld said.

Housed in the college’s School of Health, Physical Education & Recreation, the new center will focus on research in exercise, nutrition, health, wellness, and physical activity. Also participating in interdisciplinary research and programs will be the faculty and students of the college’s schools of social work, health sciences and rehabilitation studies, human services, and arts and sciences.

Research will include both studies funded by governmental and private grants and by Springfield College.

Faculty specialists are already examining such subjects as the effects of various diets and exercise regimens on weight loss in different populations, and on the role of exercise and nutrition in the prevention or management of certain chronic diseases.

Much of the center’s work will be completed in the college’s new exercise science and wellness facilities, which opened in fall 2008 and are equipped with state-of-the-art cardiovascular training equipment and a biochemistry laboratory.

In addition to conducting and publishing research, the center will analyze and report on wellness research from other sources. “There is a need for a central source of wellness information and a resource to interpret other research, and we’ve already begun to fill that gap,” Wyld added.

Other plans for the center include conducting an annual conference on a timely topic in wellness, developing a wellness research and education Web site, and collaborating with national and local organizations promoting wellness.

The new center will also coordinate and expand the college’s public wellness programs in Greater Springfield. “Local residents already participating in our research receive diet and exercise counseling and services, and we anticipate offering other services during future projects,” Wyld added. The college’s programs in local schools and retirement communities also include wellness education and services.

In addition, the center will expand educational activities at the college, particularly in its undergraduate and graduate programs in exercise physiology, athletic training, health education, and physical education. Students and faculty members are currently researching the effectiveness of different wellness education programs and conducting clinical studies to identify which wellness strategies are the most effective for different populations.

“This new center is a natural for Springfield College,” said Springfield College President Richard B. Flynn. “We’ve had an international reputation in physical education, sport and fitness for more than a century. Dr. Peter V. Karpovich, widely considered the father of American exercise physiology, was a longtime faculty member at the college and founder of the American College of Sports Medicine. This center continues the college’s tradition of excellence in health and wellness.”

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