Human Performance Center at Gannon University Receives $150,000 in Grants

Posted: November 13, 2013

The new Human Performance Center at Gannon University got one step closer to the state of the art thanks to a pair of grants received recently.

The grants, $100,000 from the Alden Trust and $50,000 from the Dr. and Mrs. Arthur William Phillips Charitable Trust, will be used to equip the Center with sophisticated measurement and analysis equipment.

The grant from the Alden Trust will fund the purchase of a ParvoMedics metabolic measurement system and portable metabolic unit that will measure the cardiovascular performance of test subjects on a Computrainer stationary bicycle specifically designed to interface with the ParvoMedics unit, or a massive high-speed treadmill, the surface of which measures 40 square feet.

The bicycles (there will be three) and the treadmill will be purchased using funds from the grant. The size of the treadmill will allow for greater freedom of movement and will also allow more than one person to be tested at a time.

The cardiovascular testing equipment will be used to support programs in physical therapy, sport and exercise science and biomedical engineering.

The grant from the Phillips Trust will fund the acquisition of sophisticated motion capture equipment and its associated telemetry equipment that use a series of cameras to record the movements of test subjects from a variety of angles that can then be analyzed to determine muscle strength, the presence of medical abnormalities and the biomechanics of movement.

Students in Gannon's graduate and undergraduate programs in physical and occupational therapy, and sport and exercise science will use the motion capture equipment in educational programs not heretofore offered in the region.

This equipment will make possible a range of advanced research projects that will involve 10-20 students and faculty annually. Educational community outreach projects centered on rehabilitation from strokes and sports injuries, as well as clinics and screenings will also benefit from the deployment of this technology.

"Gannon University is delighted to receive these grants, which will enable an unprecedented range of educational, research and community service efforts," said Steven Mauro, Ph.D., dean of Gannon's Morosky College of Health Professions and Sciences. "Our ability to comprehensively train experts and create cross-disciplinary synergies directed at a patient's optimal well-being is something the university and the region has never seen before.

The programs of the Morosky College of Health Professions and Sciences, which represents more than a third of the University's enrollment, have been a regional leader in the adoption of classroom technology that defines the way that health care is delivered. This effort has been immeasurably aided by the support of philanthropic organizations, including the Phillips Charitable Trust.

In 2008, a generous grant from the Trust helped to equip the pediatric care room in Gannon's Patient Simulation Center. With 14 mannikins, the Center is the largest and best equipped in the region, and provides training for students, regional health care professionals and emergency medical personnel.