Georgia Southern will receive a .5 million U.S. Army Medical Research and Development grant to improve Soldier performance and readiness

Home > Press Releases > Georgia Southern Receives $1.5 Million U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Grant to Improve Soldier Performance and Readiness

Georgia Southern University’s Soldier Performance and Readiness (SPAR) program received a two-year, $1.5 million grant from the Department of Defense’s U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC). The grant will expand Georgia’s research and programming capabilities in the South for injury prevention techniques that ensure Army readiness.

“Through this large-scale research study, Georgia Southern graduate students have the opportunity to be involved in the research process and work directly with Soldiers,” said Nancy Henderson, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. “In addition, the grant will be used to finance positions for research assistants in the doctoral program in physiotherapy.”

USAMRDC’s mission is to provide solutions to medical problems for American service members at home and abroad, as well as the general public. The scope of these efforts and the priorities associated with specific projects are influenced by changes in military and civilian medical science and technology, operational requirements, military threat assessment, and national defense strategies. Extracurricular research and development programs play a crucial role in fulfilling the goals set by the organization.

The research and development supported in this way is intended to benefit both military and civilian medical practice.

“The grant will examine various physical training programs to determine the practices that best prevent non-combat injuries,” Henderson said. “The research team faculty will seek to advance the literature by identifying the best educational models to educate Soldiers on injury prevention topics.”

This is the first time Georgia Southern has served as principal investigator on a joint research project with an Army research institute. However, SPAR has long been involved in several areas of research with community impact.

“Georgia Southern is implementing several initiatives to improve the health, fitness and performance of military personnel, law enforcement personnel, and fire and rescue personnel,” said Joseph Kardouni, Ph.D., director of the Tactical Performance Group. “The Tactical Athlete Certificate (TAC) program is one such initiative that provides military personnel with exercise fundamentals to mitigate training-related injuries. Funding provided by the Medical Research and Development Command will improve evidence-based teaching methods and support similar efforts to train military personnel in this area. Health and performance program leaders within the Army understand the importance of leveraging partnerships with academic institutions to work toward improving Soldiers’ quality of life, health and professional performance.”

Faculty and students in the DPT program have been training Soldiers on injury prevention topics since 2016. This scholarship also provides students the opportunity to assess effectiveness while learning how to improve educational practices among military personnel.

“This research is an important next step in fulfilling the promise of the SPAR program and Georgia Southern’s close collaboration with Army research partners,” said Christopher Curtis, Ph.D., interim vice president for research and economic development.

Curtis also noted that the funding was made possible through the advocacy of U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter and the strong support of Georgia’s legislative delegation in Washington DC