Lakeshore Foundation Establishes Chair in School of Health Professions
Funded by a $2 million investment from Lakeshore Foundation, the Lakeshore Foundation Endowed Chair in the UAB School of Health Professions (SHP) will be used to recruit an internationally renowned researcher to UAB whose focus will be on rehabilitative science. This faculty member will be key to the development of a world-class program of research into the role that sport, activity, and nutrition play in improving the quality of life for those with physically disabling conditions through the Lakeshore Foundation/UAB Research Collaborative, which links Lakeshore’s extraordinary programs for those individuals to the SHP.
Rehabilitative science encompasses basic and applied aspects of health services, social sciences, and engineering as they relate to restoring human functional capacity and improving a person’s interaction with the surrounding environment. “As we looked at various models of how to build our research program, it made perfect sense to us to sit down with UAB, one of the leading research institutions in this country,” says Jeff Underwood, president of Lakeshore Foundation. “A good working relationship with the School of Health Professions was already in place through several collaborative projects.”
The research collaborative is thought to be the first of its kind between a major academic research university and an organization that serves individuals with physical disabilities by providing physical activity, sport, and education. The project will identify, develop, validate, and apply new programs and technologies having a positive impact on the lives of people with physically disabling conditions.
“Lakeshore is world-renowned for its fitness, recreation, and sports programs, as is UAB for research expertise and infrastructure,” says Harold Jones, Ph.D., dean of the UAB School of Health Professions. “The collaborative creates an environment in which together we can validate successful therapies, develop promising therapeutic strategies, and disseminate the results to the world rehabilitation community.”
Lakeshore Foundation provides fitness, recreation, athletic, and educational programs for people with conditions such as spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, amputation, and visual impairment, as well as those with arthritis, diabetes, chronic pain, cardiac conditions, and many other related disorders. Lakeshore is also an official U.S. Olympic and Paralympic training site and provides fitness, recreation, and sports activities to severely injured military personnel through its Lima Foxtrot programs.
The School of Health Professions houses several disciplines key to the research collaborative, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, nutrition sciences, and health administration. In addition, the UAB School of Engineering partners with the SHP to develop more effective prosthetic devices and environmental designs that better the lives of individuals with chronic conditions and enable them to live as independently as possible.
“UAB has the academic strength and research organization to blend seamlessly with Lakeshore’s innovative approaches to rehabilitation,” Jones says. “Together, we can do things that we could not otherwise achieve by working alone.”
“This is a partnership that builds on the strengths of our two organizations,” Underwood says. “UAB and Lakeshore working together can truly impact the world with regard to better outcomes for people with a disability so that people in our community and in the world will say, ‘Because of this research, my life is better.’”
Maintaining the Momentum / Summer 2010