Champlin Foundations boost hands-on study at URI

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Funding for bone density scanner among five grants received by University

KINGSTON, R.I. – February 3, 2009 – Osteoporosis is a major health threat for 44 million Americans – or 55 percent of the people 50 years or older, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

Thanks to funding from the Champlin Foundations, University of Rhode Island students in kinesiology and nutrition and food science will be better trained in how to assess and treat patients at risk for Osteoporosis, a disease that causes low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue.

The $97,750 grant to purchase a dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) unit was among five grants totaling $578,510 received by the University of Rhode Island from the Champlin Foundations.

The University was awarded four grants to upgrade laboratories in kinesiology, nursing, pharmacy, engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences. A fifth grant will be used for renovations on the W. Alton Jones Campus.

Matthew Delmonico, assistant professor of kinesiology, and Ingrid Lofgren, assistant professor of nutrition and food science, were the principal investigators for a grant that will enable the University to purchase a DXA unit. The machine uses enhanced X-ray technology to measure bone density.

The machine will help students in kinesiology and nutrition and food science to conduct osteoporosis evaluations and assessments.

“Whether the student works in a clinical setting or a research setting, at some point they will come across a machine like this,” Delmonico said. “They will have to know how – if not to run the machine or perform a DXA scan – to at least be able to understand the concept behind it and how to interpret the results.”

The DXA unit will enable students to receive advanced training in assessment techniques, application of bone health assessment to overall health status, and communication of lifestyle modifications designed to improve quality of life for clients.

“We will train our students on the theory behind bone density screening, the public health importance behind it, and how to understand the data that comes from DXA scans,” Delmonico said. “We will be able to better teach students how the data can be used in the context of exercise prescription or dietary modification.”

The University received four other Champlin Foundations grants:

Joint Health Care Simulation Program, $200,000 – An award to be shared by the Colleges of Nursing and Pharmacy, this grant will provide additional simulation and emergency care equipment to enhance the functionality and reality of the existing advanced human patient simulation facilities in both colleges. Nursing and pharmacy students will have the opportunity to develop familiarity with intense, rapidly changing patient emergencies without harm to the patients. The grant includes funding for intensive-care unit room equipment, training equipment and digital recording equipment.

Mobile Bridge Testing Laboratory $95,500 – With this grant, the College of Engineering will establish a self-contained, semi-mobile instructional laboratory containing the instrumentation and processing power necessary to measure and analyze structural bridge activity under external and natural loads. With the mobile laboratory, students will be able to visit Rhode Island bridges to gain a better understanding of structural testing practices while getting experience in measurements and structural monitoring.

High-Definition Editing Laboratories, $123,438 – The College of Arts and Sciences will develop three high-end editing suites, including one on the Feinstein Providence Campus. The software will aid students in communication studies, film media, journalism, art and other disciplines who need to create moving images for broadcasting, film, Web design, presentations or research dissemination.

W. Alton Jones Campus, $63,860 – The Environmental Education Center on the W. Alton Jones Campus received funding for various facility repairs. The repairs include replacing waterlines, re-shingling cabin roofs and replacing bathroom partitions.