Dr. Rose Helping Lead Pilot Study on Physical Activity in ELO

The Kent State East Liverpool Campus is taking an active role in a pilot study that will, in part, measure physical activity of local residents and could lead to more extensive research related to physical activity in the city. 

Heading up the research project are Dr. Lydia Rose, associate professor of sociology at Kent East Liverpool, and Dr. Kele Ding, associate professor of health education and promotion at Kent State University.

Rose and Ding received a grant from the Grace Lutheran Endowment Fund to conduct the study. Assisting them are senior students Rebekah Davis and Jamiae Sunderland who each are associated with the Kent State East Liverpool Social Science Research Lab.

The researchers are now recruiting adult volunteers from East Liverpool to participate in the study. Each participant must be 18 years old and complete a screening survey.

The volunteers will each receive a physical activity monitoring watch to wear as they walk, jog or cycle at least three times each week. The watch is connected to a social networking app that will map out locations people find enjoyable and safe for physical activities. The app will also give participants opportunities to share their experiences and to support each other to remain physically active. 

The online tools can be used with smart phones, tablets or computers.

Additionally, participants in the study will provide feedback to the researchers through online focus groups to be conducted through a Zoom video conference session. The researchers will use the date to test the feasibility of data collection as well as data analysis.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, participants will be asked to maintain social distances and to wear masks when around others. Rose and Ding adjusted the study to include measures to keep participants safe and to help prevent anyone from contracting or spreading the virus.

Those interested in participating in the study can email Rose at Lrose17@kent.edu, and use “Pilot Study” in the subject line. 

This pilot study will provide preliminary data for a much larger research project proposal to be submitted to the National Institute of Health (NIH). 

The Kent State researchers are partnering with Carol Cowan and the East Liverpool Health District for the NIH grant to develop an intervention to increase physical activity. The larger NIH grant involves using multiple levels of a socio-economic model: the personal level, the social level, the economic level and the structural level. 

For the personal level, individuals will use monitoring devices to track their own physical activities. The social level will involve participating in an online social network to provide motivation and inspiration to meet healthy levels of physical activity. 

The researchers will focus on cycling and community involvement to develop cycling activities and routes through downtown, which is conducive to cycling because it is one of the more level areas for new cyclists. 

On a structural level, the research team will work with city officials to make sure the environment is safe for cycling and community level activities and will seek funding for city bikes. 

All community level activities will meet the safety standards for both cycling and mitigating the spread of COVID-19. If the NIH study is funded, the researchers will reach out to local businesses to develop ways to participate in the study.

Rose is a tenured associate professor in the Department of Sociology at Kent State University. She earned a doctorate degree in sociology from Purdue University where she developed expertise in understanding and addressing social inequality. 

Ding is a tenured associate professor in the School of Health Sciences at Kent State University with expertise in behavior theory, measurement and evaluation, survey research and data analysis. In the last six years, he has been involved in developing and testing a community intervention trial for mental and psychological recovery among the homeless population by applying creative arts therapy, earth medicine and therapeutic community model in practice.

Rebekah Davis
Jamiae Sunderland


Davis is a senior at Kent State, studying psychology/sociology. She volunteers as an activities director and camp counselor for Camp E.A.R.T.H., was president of the Environmental Club at Kent East Liverpool and, since 2018, has served as a student research leader in the Social Science Research Lab. 

Sunderland is a senior student and recently joined the Social Science Research Lab. 


Lydia Rose PhD
Dr. Lydia Rose, PhD
Associate Professor of Sociology
Director, Social Science Research Lab
Interdisciplinary Research Leader, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Fellow
Kent State University East Liverpool


Kele Ding, PhD, MD

Dr. Kele Ding, PhD, MD
Associate Professor, Health Education and Promotion
Kent State University
E-mail: kding@kent.edu


POSTED: Monday, July 6, 2020 01:54 PM
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2022 12:09 PM