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Dr. WilroyJereme D. Wilroy, Ph.D., assistant professor for the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, was awarded a $3.3 million R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health for his study, “Examining the effects of live telehealth exercise training on cardiometabolic outcomes in wheelchair users." 

There are roughly 5.5 million wheelchair users in the United States, and most live predominantly sedentary lifestyles, which leads to substantially higher cardiometabolic risk factors when compared to the general population.

“We are building on our previous success with a Movement-to-Music (M2M) program that is proven effective in improving health,” explains Wilroy. “We are adapting the M2M telehealth delivery method to develop a program with a cardio emphasis (M2M-C).”

The 24-week M2M-C program includes a remote training system with built-in videoconferencing and real-time monitoring of vital sign data (e.g., heart rate, respiratory rate). The primary aim is to examine the average treatment effects of the M2M-C program on core indicators of major cardiometabolic risk factors.

“We are thrilled that NIH has recognized the need funded Dr. Wilroy’s exercise interventions for health improvement through innovative design and telehealth technology,” states Yuying Chen, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Director of Research for the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. “If successful, this project would be a game changer for optimizing exercise dosing and prescription for wheelchair users,” states Chen.

Dr. Wilroy is excited to discover the project’s potential. ”There are limited exercise options available for wheelchair users to improve their health,” he says. “This project has the potential to improve exercise options with a sustainable and scalable solution to improving health outcomes for wheelchair users.”

This grant will provide $660,000 per year for the next five years.