$3.3 million R01 grant funds research on telehealth cardio program for wheelchair users

This study will examine the average treatment effects of M2M-C, a telehealth cardio-focused exercise program, on core indicators of major cardiometabolic risk factors.
Written by: Phillip Klebine
Media contact: Anna Jones

Stream WilroyJereme D. Wilroy, Ph.D.There are roughly 5.5 million wheelchair users in the United States. Most live predominantly sedentary lifestyles, which leads to substantially higher cardiometabolic risk factors when compared to the general population. Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham are hoping to minimize some of these cardiometabolic risk factors through a new study.  

“There are limited exercise options available for wheelchair users to improve their health,” said Jereme D. Wilroy, Ph.D., assistant professor for the UAB Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. “This study has the potential to improve exercise options with a sustainable and scalable solution to improving health outcomes for wheelchair users.”

Wilroy 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.”

“We are building on our previous success with Movement-to-Music, a rhythm-based exercise program that has proved effective in improving health,” Wilroy said. “We are adapting the M2M telehealth delivery method to develop a program with a cardio emphasis.”

The 24-week M2M-C program includes a remote training system with built-in videoconferencing and real-time monitoring of vital sign data such as heart rate, respiratory rate and more. 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 for Dr. Wilroy’s exercise interventions for health improvement through innovative design and telehealth technology,” said Yuying Chen, M.D., Ph.D., professor and director of Research for the department. “If successful, this project would be a game-changer for optimizing exercise dosing and prescription for wheelchair users.”

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