Research in the Health and Human Performance Department

by roanokecollege on December 10, 2012

At the Family Weekend Showcase of Research & Creativity this past September, four different research topics from the Health and Human Performance department were showcased. Dr. Elizabeth Holbrook is the faculty mentor who is currently working on these research projects. Besides presenting at the Family Weekend Showcase, two students from the HHP department will be presenting in Greenville, SC in February and two students will be presenting in Indianapolis, IN in June.

One of the topics was “The Roanoke Valley Community Healthy Living Index” which is focused on “changing health policy in the Roanoke Community”, explains Dr. Holbrook. “Since this is an exercise science it is easier for real world application, testing people in live settings”. With community-based collaborative research, they are assisting in the renewal efforts of the Hunt Park and West End neighborhoods in Roanoke. Through research methods that include using census data, Geographic Information Systems, and the implementation of a resource developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control, Dr. Holbrook and her students are helping to identify “environmental and sociocultural barriers and facilitators to healthy living” within these neighborhoods.

Dr. Holbrook also states that working one on one with students is “fantastic…it helps me see my own research from a different perspective. When you’ve been staring at a research question for awhile, that perspective is very helpful.” Not all of Dr. Holbrook’s research assistants are HHP majors. Currently one of her URAP students is a business major and as Dr. Holbrook explains, “the skills she brings are invaluable”.

Presentors at the VAHPERD convention


Just last month, a total of five HHP faculty members and eight HHP majors attended the 75th annual Virginia Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (VAHPERD) convention held at the Hotel Roanoke. A total of six presentations were made at the convention and in addition, Rebekah Adams and Brayden Gerrie were recognized as “outstanding majors” at the convention. Dr. Michael Maina & Dr. Julie Maina were among the faculty members who attended and really enjoyed the experience. They were “both so proud to see the level of enthusiasm and professionalism displayed before and during their presentations…It was also very gratifying to do something with the students outside of regular courses at Roanoke College.”

As for students considering research opportunities, Dr. Holbrook advises that they “definitely need to get involved, the skills students learn in research are applicable for the rest of their lives whether directly or indirectly.” Dr. Michael Maina also encourages students to “pursue any research or topic that they find interesting.  Research occurs in so many various forms.  Students should talk with their professors, staff, friends, and other members around the campus community.  Personally, many exciting research opportunities have developed simply through collaborating with others and sharing ideas within and outside of my specific discipline.”

For more information on faculty research interests, and to see where your interests might match, go to:

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