UCEM Member James Rimmer Awarded R01 to Study Home-Based Physical Activity Intervention for Adults with Physical Disability

UCEM member James Rimmer, PhD, Professor in the UAB School of Health Professions and Director of the Lakeshore Foundation/UAB Research Collaborative was recently awarded a new R01 grant (R01HD085186) to address the growing need to provide opportunities for people with physical disability to achieve higher levels of regular physical activity. “Rates of physical inactivity among the physically disabled are significantly higher than in the general population, and disability-associated health care expenditures continue to rise,” said Rimmer. The new study entitled “Scale up evaluation of a physical activity program for adults with physical disability” aims to help address these problems by using telehealth as a mechanism for reaching this underserved population.

The study on which UCEM member Amie B. McLain, MD, Professor and Chair in the UAB Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is also a co-investigator, uses a theory-driven eHealth platform and innovative physical activity program referred to as movement-to-music (M2M) to deliver a customized, home-based intervention. Participants will be recruited through a large physical medicine and rehabilitation network of clinics. Clinicians and their patients will be randomized to one of three groups: one using the M2M program; one using M2M plus social networking; and an attention control (AC) group. Participants will be followed for 48 weeks and be measured on physical activity, fitness and self-reported measures on health. Participant physicians will receive information on their patients’ progress (i.e., adherence and outcomes) across the 48-week study period.

The study will compare the effectiveness of the two intervention groups compared to the AC group, estimate the improvements in health compared to the AC group, and examine the mediators and moderators of the hypothesized treatment effect to understand for whom and how the intervention is effective. “This multi-level, scalability study will help strengthen the understanding of potential benefits of eHealth to help eliminate barriers to physical activity participation among people with physical/mobility disability,” Rimmer said.

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