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Health & Fitness

Akron General, KSU to collaborate on wellness programs

10/10/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

STOW — Akron General Health System and Kent State University officials recently announced a new collaboration that will see the two institutions focus on reducing the impact of chronic lifestyle-related diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, multiple sclerosis and arthritis on the U.S. population.

The Akron General-Kent State University Health and Wellness Research Collaborative seeks to promote physical activity and healthy lifestyles by integrating public health, basic science and clinical and behavioral research and by developing and promoting evidence-based wellness practices, officials said. Teams of wellness investigators will work on pilot research projects to develop new models of prevention and new technologies that support wellness and the management of chronic disease. 

“Since 1996, Akron General has been a recognized national leader in promoting wellness and disease prevention,” said Dr. Thomas Stover, president and CEO of Akron General Health System at the Sept. 24 launch. “Akron General has embraced a model of care that represents a dramatic departure from traditional health care and redirects focus and resources toward prevention, wellness, physical exercise and a continuity of care that is unique in America today.

“The Health and Wellness Collaborative with Kent State University takes our model of well care to the next level, providing outcomes research leading to a deeper understanding of the endemic behaviors and pathologies of chronic disease, and outlining effective strategies for better health,” Stover added.

A big part of the collaboration will be Akron General’s three LifeStyles Health and Wellness Centers, including the one in Bath on Medina Road. The community-based facilities bring together clinical outpatient services with exercise and retail-oriented health services. Services include outpatient surgery, emergency medicine, physical therapy, sports medicine, sports performance, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, occupational therapy, neurology and speech therapy.

“The focal point of each of Akron General’s Health & Wellness Centers is its LifeStyles medical fitness facility, a state-of-the-art fitness center where exercise programs are directed by physicians and focus on the prevention and treatment of lifestyle-related disease, illness and injury through regular participation in medically supervised physical activity, nutrition and health education,” said Doug Ribley, senior vice president of health and wellness services at Akron General Health System. “Our focus is squarely on prevention.”

The project will begin with research projects to develop wellness models that can be shared nationally.

“This research collaboration will allow our students and researchers tremendous access to health and wellness data and create opportunities for many significant prevention breakthroughs,” said Todd Diacon, KSU’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “This is a win-win opportunity for both organizations that can only lead to new and better insights into the prevention and management of chronic, lifestyle-related disease and good health for generations.”

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