Kinesiology and Athletics Combine for Rebranded Centre for Human Performance and Health
by: Shaun Smith
The Department of Kinesiology, in both its sport management and movement science streams, has long worked with the Athletics and Recreation Services in research and a new on-campus initiative seeks to build on that history. In a project lead by Chad Sutherland, the Centre for Human Performance and Health (CHPH), seeks to formalize many prior informal and individual efforts to the benefit of both units.
“This Centre is really Kinesiology’s focus on creating a healthier community,” says Sutherland.
According to the Centre’s webpage, the CHPH offers a framework for multidisciplinary research, bringing together experts from a variety of related fields to conduct meaningful evidence-based interventions that will improve the lives of the global community.
This may sound familiar to some students involved in either Human Kinetics or the University’s recreational sports initiatives. That’s because the idea itself is not new, but the implementation is.
“What the CHPH does is bring together different groups,” explains Sutherland. “In HK we have a nutrition lab and a PACR lab and drummer lab and a spark lab. But getting more multidisciplinary projects that we can write together is valuable.”
“One project was with Drs. Hortons, Bing, and van Wyk.” (Each of these three professors has a separate field of study). “So three different disciplines tackling a Parkinson’s issue.”
Dr. Jess Dixon, the current acting Dean of Human Kinetics, notes that the concept of what is now the CHPH has been in place dating back a decade. He sees it as a great way to give back to the community that directly paid for the research in the first place.
“Within research circles, there is a lot of pressure on those who receive federal funds because we’re using taxpayer dollars to fund the research,” Dixon says. “There is an obligation to give back to the taxpayers the knowledge that we’re gaining from publishing, but we’re obligated to publish findings in peer-reviewed journals.”
“But these journals are often behind paywalls that the general public doesn’t have access to. So translating that knowledge so that the general public can make use of it is becoming much more of a priority,” said Dixon.
“One of the priorities of the CHPH is to try to help close that gap a little bit.”
The CHPH will be accomplishing this task by delivering community programs covering three priority areas: active and healthy living, sports performance, and workplace training and safety.
While the community participants will undoubtedly benefit from the expertise provided by the CHPH, there are advantages for the university as well. Students studying a degree in Human Kinetics will gain both research training and hands-on practical experience through the CHPH’s programs.
The community, professors, and students are not the only beneficiaries. Varsity coaches see the value too. Lucas Hodgson is the head coach of the Lancer Women’s Volleyball team and a big supporter of the CHPH.
“The CHPH is an awesome resource. It does all our physiological testing and keeps that data to detect trends and potential trouble areas we need to work on to avoid injury.”
Hodgson sees the positives beyond science as well.
“We are hoping that teaming with the center will benefit our ability to attract top students to work with our teams in sport psychology or sports management to help with game-day operations, fundraising, and recruitment of not only great athletes but a place where HK students want to go and have a chance to work closely with high-performance athletes throughout their academic careers here at Windsor.”
If Sutherland, Dixon, and Hodgson are accurate in their assessments, the CHPH will have both the community of Windsor and the students of Human Kinetics well placed to take advantage of the latest developments in Kinesiology for years to come.