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Akron General, Kent State Form Health and Wellness Collaborative

Posted Sept. 30, 2013

New collaborative to focus on wellness and disease prevention

enter photo description
Akron General Health System and Kent State University
have formed a new collaborative for the study and
promotion of wellness programs. Pictured are (left to right)
Doug Ribley, senior vice president of health and wellness
services at Akron General Health System; Sonia Alemagno,
dean of Kent State’s College of Public Health; Thomas L. “Tim”
Stover, president and CEO of Akron General Health System;
and Todd Diacon, senior vice president for academic affairs
and provost of Kent State.

Akron General Health System, a national leader in promoting wellness and disease prevention, and Kent State University, one of the nation’s leading public research universities, have formed a new collaborative for the study and promotion of wellness programs. The goal is to improve health and reduce the impact of chronic lifestyle-related disease 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. Teams of wellness investigators will work on innovative 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,” says Thomas L. “Tim” Stover, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of Akron General Health System. “Akron General has embraced a model of care that represents a dramatic departure from traditional healthcare (sick 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.”

“This research collaboration will allow our students and researchers tremendous access to health and wellness data and create opportunities for many significant prevention breakthroughs,” says Todd Diacon, Ph.D., Kent State University 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.”

The centerpiece of the Akron General commitment to wellness is its three Health and Wellness Centers, large outpatient community-based facilities that bring together a range of clinical outpatient services with exercise and retail-oriented health services, all in an effort to improve the health of the community. In a comprehensive health and wellness center, there is a complete outpatient continuum of care, including diagnostic testing, treatment and rehabilitative services. Services include outpatient surgery, emergency medicine, physical therapy, sports medicine, sports performance, cardiopulmonary rehab occupational therapy, neurology and speech therapy.

“The focal point of each of Akron General’s Health and 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,” says Doug Ribley, senior vice president of health and wellness services at Akron General Health System. “Our focus is squarely on prevention.”

“This truly is a groundbreaking partnership that promotes and advances public health innovations through education, research and service,” says Sonia Alemagno, Ph.D., dean of Kent State’s College of Public Health.

“Our partnership with Akron General highlights our commitment to healthcare research in the College of Public Health and across the university, research that is focused specifically on improved health outcomes in our region and across the nation,” says Grant McGimpsey, vice president of research and sponsored programs at Kent State.

The collaborative will be funded by Akron General Health System, the Division of Research and Sponsored Programs at Kent State and the university’s College of Public Health.