SHARP Center Announces Two Joan Schafer Research Faculty Awards in Sport, Fitness, and Disability

2020 Joan Schafer Research Faculty Award in Sport, Fitness, and Disability
2020 Joan Schafer Research Faculty Award in Sport, Fitness, and Disability

The Sport, Health and Activity Research and Policy Center (SHARP) and the Institute for Research on Women and Gender have awarded two Joan Schafer Research Faculty Awards in Sport, Fitness, and Disability. Established in 2015, this award supports faculty projects investigating how living with a physical challenge influences access to and participation in sport and physical activity. Each project was awarded a $6,000 grant. 

Professor Philippa Clarke (Institute for Social Research, Public Health) was awarded funding for her project, “Adapted Yoga for People Aging with Spinal Cord Injury.” People living with spinal cord injury (SCI) experience premature aging and have among the lowest physical activity levels compared to other populations. Yoga is a low impact form of physical activity that has demonstrated many health benefits. With collaborator Michelle Meade (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation), this study will examine and adapt yoga postures to benefit people aging with spinal cord injuries so they can create a practice manual that is disseminated to yoga teachers and students with SCI. This study constitutes the foundation of their next-phase research that will investigate the health and well-being benefits of this adapted yoga practice for people with SCI.

Professor Melissa J. Tinney (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation), was awarded funding for her project, “Experiences of Female Veterans in Adaptive Sports.” With collaborators Kimberly Casten, M.D., M.Phil., and Claire Kalpakjian, Ph.D., M.S., the project will utilize in-depth interviews to explore the experiences of female veterans and their participation in adaptive sports. Adaptive sports, characterized by modification or adaptation related to physical or sensory disabilities, can increase physical activity and function, mood, quality of life, and community engagement. Adaptive sports programs are available for veterans, however little is known about the female veteran experience. This study will enable building a conceptual framework encompassing motivations, barriers, and facilitating factors as a foundation for the future research that will help increase participation in Adaptive Sports among female Veterans.

Michelle Segar, The SHARP Center director, said “I am so excited about these two projects. They reflect the true spirit of the Joan Schafer Research Faculty Awards in Sport, Fitness, and Disability to advance research that has real world applications for overcoming the barriers and facilitators of physical activity and sports participation among people living with physical challenges. This award was established by loved ones to honor Joan’s resilience to stay active in spite of her physical challenges and her advocacy to help others who live with physical challenges.”

For more information about the Joan Schafer Research Faculty Awards in Sport, Fitness, and Disability, visit sharp.research.umich.edu/research/funding-opportunities.

Detailed project descriptions are below:

Photos of Philippa Clark and Lora Rosenbaum, project title "Adapted Yoga for People Aging with Spinal Cord Injuries"

“Adapted Yoga for People Aging with Spinal Cord Injury”

Philippa Clarke, Research Professor, Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research and Professor, Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, and Michelle Meade, Associate Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

People living with spinal cord injury (SCI) experience premature aging. While physical activity can improve health and longevity, people with SCI have among the lowest physical activity levels compared to other populations. Yoga is a low impact form of physical activity that has demonstrated benefits for reducing blood pressure, decreasing inflammation, improving digestion and reducing obesity. Yet, no research has systematically examined how to adapt yoga for people aging with SCI. The goal of this study is to systematically adapt each of the 26 postures in the 26+2 yoga series to benefit people aging with paraplegic SCI.

 

photo of Melissa Tinney; project title: Experiences of Female Veterans in Adaptive Sports"

“Experiences of Female Veterans in Adaptive Sports”

Melissa J. Tinney, M.D., Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor VA Healthcare System; Kimberly Casten, M.D., M.Phil., Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Claire Kalpakjian, Ph.D.,M.S., Associate Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Women continue to break down barriers to participation in sports. Women with disabilities are also using adaptive sports more widely. Adaptive sports, characterized by modification or adaptation related to physical or sensory disabilities, can increase physical activity and function, mood, quality of life, and community engagement. Adaptive sports programs are available for veterans, however little is known about the female veteran experience. We will utilize in-depth interviews to explore the experiences of female veterans and their participation in adaptive sports. This will enable building a conceptual framework encompassing motivations, barriers, and facilitating factors as a foundation for future research.


The Joan Schafer Research Faculty Award in Sport, Fitness, and Disability, established in 2015, supports projects investigating how living with a physical challenge influences access to and participation in sport and physical activity. Learn more.

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