FAMU – Auburn collaboration promises big reward

TALLAHASSEE—Auburn University and Florida A&M University (FAMU) began the first in a series of collaborative efforts that will positively impact athletic performance, health disparities among African-American women and physical development.

Participants from both universities shared important kinesiology findings and fielded questions from coaches, physical education professors and Ph.D. candidates who discussed their research.

FAMU Quarterback Coach Marty Spieler was interested in presentations on ways to improve the performance of players and wanted to learn more.  The science also uses new analytical methods that improve recruiting. These techniques often used by professional scouts will help smaller universities such as FAMU search for athletic talent.

The importance of the foot to the human body and its mobility, evolution and development was discussed, as was the arch. The group appeared to be interested in designing an “intervention” that will create shoes that stimulate and assist in proper foot development at various stages.

That idea was pitched by Auburn Biomechanics Ph.D. candidates Christopher Wilburn, who studied at Morehouse College, and Portia Williams, who was an undergraduate at FAMU. According to Auburn liaison Mary Rudisill, Ph.D., this joint effort provides “diversity by connecting students and faculty through shared collaboration, allowing the opportunity to advance the science of kinesiology.”

The group hopes the Ph.D. candidates return to FAMU classrooms to teach.

“Auburn has some experiences we don’t have and FAMU certainly has distinctions also. Kinesiology impacts us in so many ways; we need to expose and expand it, especially in minority communities,” according to FAMU liaison Sarah Price, Ph.D.

The next step in the Auburn-FAMU collaboration is to move quickly to decide the subject of a research project.

Kinesiology graduates are accounting for increasing numbers of medical school applicants, as well as other professional programs such as physical and occupational therapy.

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