The Health, Human Performance, and Recreation (HHPR) Department at Baylor University is uniquely positioned to partner with the medical community in order to help Texans improve their health and reduce chronic disease risk and - at the same time - strengthen our instruction and research efforts. Program offerings in HHPR’s Baylor Laboratories for Exercise Science and Technology (BLEST) have been designed to engage our students in advanced academic experiences through service learning and research. These academic experiences compel students to integrate and apply their Christian worldview and develop knowledge, skills, and competencies in the clinical exercise and health sciences and related medical professions. Our medical partners directly benefit by extending their community footprint in primary chronic disease prevention programming; offering unique training and exposure for medical residency programs, and; establishing a stronger platform for collaborative research and funding opportunities.
Our faculty/student/physician partnerships benefit fellow Texans by providing those who traditionally do not have health care access to individualized health information, therapeutic lifestyle programming, and resources to address chronic disease risk reduction. For example, our students and faculty work alongside resident physicians in a program we call "FitCheck". We provide health and fitness assessments that inform participants about their health and fitness needs. An assessment can help individuals develop a plan to address his/her fitness interests or to address particular health issues. An added benefit is to track health and fitness progress over time. Our FitCheck health and fitness profile is a perfect way for anyone to get an evidence-based exercise prescription that is tailored specifically to meet his/her health and fitness needs.
Our current research is aimed at examining the effectiveness of a single dose of exercise to improve vascular function. We are testing how the exercise dose, delivered in a continuous fashion at moderate intensity or in high-intensity intervals, may influence vascular response. In addition, we know that exercise does not exist alone as a lifestyle habit. So, we have studies underway examining how poor diet and inadequate sleep influence the effectiveness of exercise to maintain good vascular health. Along with our physician partners, we are also tracking physical health and fitness among new physicians as they progress through their three-year residency program.