For the 5th consecutive year, the U.S. State Department will support the American Culture Center (ACC) for Sport in China administrated by the University of Minnesota. From September 2016 until August 2017, the funding will be $75,000 to Li Li Ji, Ph.D., professor and director of the School of Kinesiology, the PI of the grant.
The ACC focuses on the introduction and promotion of sport as an American heritage and value. The main activities include on-campus, year-round programs and featured lecture tours that visit various Chinese universities.
In January 2017, Ji, Zan Gao, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the Physical Activity Epidemiology Lab, and Gregory Welk, Ph.D., associate professor of health promotion and exercise at Iowa State University, will visit four universities. The goal is to introduce how mobile devices are being used to promote physical activity on U.S. campuses.
On Tuesday, December 6, the 2016-17 China Champions visited Jo Ann Buysse, PhD’s KIN 5511 course on Sport and Gender. The athletes presented an overview of their careers to students, and discussed roles of gender in sport in China. Students heard presentations from both the athletes and coaches perspectives.
The National Sports Center (NSC) in Blaine, MN, has written a blog post on the School of Kinesiology’s China Champions Program. The post, “China Champions Visit the NSC,” details the visit and activities of the Champions at the internationally renowned amateur sports facility.
The 2016-17 China Champions were introduced to former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale last evening at an event hosted by Peggy Lucas, member of the U of M Board of Regents and a supporter of the China Champions program. Mr. Mondale met each athlete individually and discussed his work in opening diplomatic doors to China and his many visits to the country.
Also attending the event were School of Kinesiology director Li Li Ji, Ph.D., and associate director Rayla Allison, J.D.
Mr. Mondale also served as a U.S. senator representing Minnesota and was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Japan by President Bill Clinton from 1993-1996.
Led by the U of M’s School of Kinesiology in collaboration with Beijing Sport University and supported by the Chinese government’s Scholarship Council, the China Champions program is a unique, global collaboration that provides mutual benefits for Chinese athletes and University faculty, staff and students.
Angela Ruggiero, M.Ed., 2011 School of Kinesiology Sport Management alumna, has been named Head of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Athletes’ Commission. In an announcement from the IOC, Ruggiero’s experience was noted saying, “[Ruggiero] is a former ice hockey player who has played more games for Team USA than any other man or woman.”
The U.S. State Department has presented the School of Kinesiology and its partner, Tianjin University of Sport (TUS) in China, with the American Center for Cultural Exchange Network’s 2016 Excellence Award.
This is the first year of the award, created to recognize members of the American Cultural Center (ACC) for outstanding work in fulfilling the mission of the organization.
The ACC has twelve centers funded by the U.S. State Department, each focused on a particular area of American culture. The School of Kinesiology and partner Tianjin University of Sport is the only ACC focused on sport. The partnership’s goal is to “foster and deepen the appreciation for American culture through sport among Chinese students and people in the Tianjin metropolitan area.” The partnership sponsored educational lectures and visits, on-site programs, and collaboration with other ACC network members. A number of School of Kinesiology faculty and staff as well as the U of M community were involved during 2012-2016 in presenting lectures, hosting visiting scholars and delegations, and providing consultation at Tianjin University and other member universities, funded through a grant from the State Department.
Li Li Ji, Ph.D., director of the School of Kinesiology, accepted the award. He says,
“We are truly honored to receive this inaugural award from the U.S. State Department. It is the result of years of dedicated and creative work done by over a dozen School of Kinesiology faculty and supporting staff, many who traveled to China to deliver the programs. TUS has shown tremendous commitment to support the ACC. We thank the U of M China Center and GPS Alliance for guidance and support and will continue to make the ACC a bridge for Sino-US cultural exchange.”
The award includes a $2500 prize to be used for ACC future programming.
Rayla Allison, J.D., sport management senior lecturer in the School of Kinesiology, was interviewed by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram after the news that Baylor football coach Art Briles had ignored and covered up reports of sexual assaults and discrimination by members of his team for years. Briles was fired and Baylor University President Ken Starr has stepped down.
“Some high-profile cases — many rape cases — have come up lately across the nation where the universities didn’t react appropriately to prevent discrimination,” Allison said. “It’s not just Baylor. It’s not just athletes. And it’s not just male athletes or students who are involved.”
Justin Geijer, Ph.D., (Ph.D., 2015) an assistant professor at Winona State University, is the lead author of an article recently published in Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology. The article, “Reproducibility of brachial vascular changes with alterations in end-tidal carbon dioxide,” examined the reproducibility of using carbon dioxide to alter diameter in the brachial artery. The results of this study suggest that carbon dioxide can alter the diameter of the brachial artery, but it is not reproducible enough to use this method to examine vascular health.
Chelsey Thul, Ph.D., lecturer in the School of Kinesiology, presented an MN-KPAH (Minnesota Knowledge to Practice in Adolescent Health; PI: Dr. Lyn Bearinger, Nursing) sponsored webinar to an interdisciplinary maternal and child health audience on May 26th. Dr. Thul’s webinar, “Co-Developing Physical Activity Opportunities with East African Adolescent Girls: Listening, Living it, and Lessons Learned,” focused on three community-based, youth engaged research projects aimed at understanding, developing, and sustaining long-term culturally relevant physical activity programming and opportunities with East African adolescent girls. Dr. Thul highlighted the value in listening, living it, and lessons learned throughout her presentation.
MN-KPAHaims to advance the knowledge/skills of practicing MCH professionals by enhancing their capacity to respond to common and emerging health needs of young people, at individual and population levels. MN-KPAH uses continuing education modalities to improve the practice capabilities of the interprofessional MCH workforce setting ranging from primary care to public health.
Yawen Yu, Kinesiology Ph.D. (2011), recently was awarded a 2-year fellowship by Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia to study “Vestibular function and contribution in children with cerebral palsy.” Dr. Yu’s advisor was Thomas Stoffregen, Ph.D., professor and director of the School of Kinesiology’s Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory.
Zachary Pope, Ph.D. student in the School of Kinesiology and graduate assistant within the Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory, recently had his ongoing grant-funded research highlighted by the University of Minnesota Graduate School with his research featured as the main story within The Graduate School’s Synthesist on May 3rd. The article talks not only of Pope’s ongoing research, but also addresses what research means to him and what drives him to make an impact through the work he is doing.
Thul won for her work in creating a unique partnership with the local Somali community that resulted in Girls’ Initiative in Recreation and Leisurely Sports (GIRLS), a program designed to provide opportunities for East African adolescent girls in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis to engage in sports and physical activity. Through this program, she and her partners designed culturally relevant uniforms for girls that allowed freedom of movement while remaining covered, the first-ever sports uniform for Muslim girls. In addition, Thul and her partners worked with Somali leaders to ensure the girls had equal time and access to community spaces for sports.
Thul’s nomination letter stated, “the community engagement and participatory research design Dr. Thul employed is second to none….Clearly, Dr. Thul is an individual always striving to do the right thing for the right reason, which stems from a genuine and authentic personal moral code.”
In addition to evaluating the two sports programs, Drs. Lundstrom, Biltz and Dengel presented to the staff and members of both the Guatemalan Sports Confederation and the Guatemalan Olympic Committee. Dr. Lundstrom presented on “Exercise Testing and Assessment” and “Development of Training Programs Theory” on April 13th. On April 14th, Dr. Dengel gave two presentations: “Sports Nutrition: Fueling Athletes to the Olympics” and “Body Composition Assessment for Sport.” Dr. Biltz gave two presentations on April 15th. The first being “Physiological Variability Analysis – Potential Applications” and the second being “Pediatric Sports Injuries – A Functional Approach.”
The representatives from the School of Kinesiology also engaged in discussions regarding future collaborations with the Guatemalan Sports Confederation and the Guatemalan Olympic Committee, as well as study abroad opportunities for School of Kinesiology students.
Tianou Zhang, Kinesiology Ph.D. candidate advised by Li Li Ji, Ph.D., professor and director in the School of Kinesiology, presented his research study on “Oat Avenanthramides (AVA) Are Bioavailable in Humans after Acute Consumption of Oat Cookies”at a poster session at the 80th American Society for Nutrition Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting in conjunction with Experimental Biology 2016 held April 2-6 in San Diego.
Avenanthramide (AVA), a bioactive compound found only in oats, has been shown to exert antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Mr. Zhang examined the metabolic fate of orally ingested oat AVA by measuring plasma AVA concentrations and their pharmacological characteristics. His research findings showed that AVA found naturally in oats can be absorbed in humans after consuming natural oat cookies. The abstract is available here.
On March 22, 2016, School of Kinesiology doctoral candidates, Jessica Holst-Wolf (biomechanics emphasis) and Tianou Zhang (exercise physiology emphasis), along with six other CEHD PhD students had three minutes to concisely and effectively explain their research project in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience in CEHD’s new Research Day competition, Three Minute Thesis (3MT). Presentations were evaluated by a panel of judges on criteria related to comprehension, engagement, and communication style.
Judges for the event were: Dr. Keith Mayes, CLA Professor; R.T. Rybak, former Minneapolis mayor and current Executive Director of Generation Next; and Margie Soran, Executive Director of the Soran Foundation. Michelle Brown (ICD) was the first-place winner.
Kinesiology alumnus Aaron Kelly, Ph.D. (2004), associate professor of pediatrics and medicine in the U of M Department of Pediatrics, and a colleague, Dr. Jennifer Abuzzahab, received a pilot grant in 2010 from the Clinical and Translational Science Institute to study severe obesity in children. That pilot grant paved the way for a multi-million NIH grant and resulted in the creation of a pediatric obesity research consortium among four major health organizations in Minnesota.
The CTSI-funded pilot project explored the potential of using a drug originally designed for adults with type 2 diabetes to help treat severe obesity in teenagers. Adolescent participants who took the drug achieved clinically significant weight loss and demonstrated improvements in risk factors for diabetes and heart disease.
Connie Magnuson, Ph.D., director of the School of Kinesiology’s Recreation, Park and Leisure Studies program, and Brandi Hoffman, director of Kinesiology’s Physical Activity Program, spent spring break trying to catch the perfect wave while surfing the stunning, blue-green Caribbean ocean in Panama.
This was one of many activities they scouted for a new learning abroad course in Bocasdel Toro, a unique and richly diverse archipelago on the northern coast. They also visited the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, School of Field Studies, and the Sea Turtle Conservancy, and held discussions with local community organizations and advocates Give and Surf and La Loma Jungle Lodge and Chocolate Farm. The course, REC 4191 Adventure Recreation, Tourism and Eco-tourism: Surf Panama!, examines the rapidly growing tourism industry in Panama and the impact that providing adventure recreation and other tourist attractions can have on the economy, the environment, and the indigenous communities. This program is part of a larger initiative the University of Minnesota is undertaking with interests in Panama for education and research through the U of M’s Global Programs and Strategy Alliance.
Surf Panama! will be offered during spring break 2017 and includes a variety of adventures along with surfing, including ziplining, jungle hikes, anfibia boarding, paddling in Cayuga (dugout) canoes, cave exploring and snorkeling. Registration opens this summer.