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 SRU Plans 'Center for Disability and Health' Funded by $161,000 Federal Grant 



 Jan. 30, 2004

CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine (724) 738-4854; e-mail:


           SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Building on its national reputation for adapted physical activity, Slippery Rock University will use a $161,000 federal grant to open the “Center on Disability and Health.” The resource center will help people with disabilities develop healthy lifestyles through education and daily workouts.

           “A hot topic today is obesity, and people with disabilities are even more vulnerable, leadingto secondary conditions such as diabetes and heart disease,” Dr. Robert Arnhold, professor of exercise and rehabilitative science and center coordinator, says. “If we get people healthy and active now, we’ll reduce a lot of secondary health conditions, and we’ll save on healthcare costs in the long run.”

           The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided the grant working with U.S. Rep.Phil English, of Erie. The on-campus outreach center will open later this year, complementing SRU’s plans for an equestrian center for special populations and several existing programs.

           The Center on Disability and Health targets those with disabilities and their families. It willprovide parent and teacher training, printed materials, professional contacts and exercise programs six days a week.

           Arnhold says he intends to open the center in a campus building. Community participantswill use the swimming pool, weight room and indoor track, among other facilities.

           The center will employ a full-time faculty member, work-study students and secretary, Arnhold says.

           “Providing services to people with disabilities has been a professional and personal interestif mine for years,” says Dr. Jane Fulton, dean of the College of Health, Environment and Science.“This federal support enables us to open a resource center that will benefit students and residents.I firmly believe Slippery Rock University is becoming a hub for this important education.”

            SRU offers many programs aimed at improving the lives of people with disabilities:

First university in Pennsylvania to launch a minor in adapted physical activity. Students learn to develop workout regiments for children and adults with disabilities.

One of few universities offering equine facilitated therapy, which teaches students how to

      incorporate horses in workouts for people with disabilities.

Launched plans for a 20-acre equestrian center on campus.

Exercise and rehabilitative science students and faculty are studying wheelchair propulsion to

     devise safe and healthy workouts for those in wheelchairs.

 ##PN, PgN

Post-Gazette Health Editor

Trib Health Editor



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