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Community Engagement Incentive Grant: Eugene Fitzhugh

Physical Activity Assessment in the Real World:  A Safe Routes to School Learning Experience for Kinesiology Students

Knox County partnered with UT to evaluate the effectiveness of a “Walking School Bus” program intervention designed to increase walking to schools at six area elementary schools.

Knox County’s program was named this summer by First Lady Michelle Obama as a exemplar of the national Let’s Move program.

Eugene Fitzhugh

Dr. Eugene Fitzhugh, an associate professor in Kinesiology, designed this  curricular service-learning project to enhance a growing, collaborative relationship with between UT and Knox County’s Safe Route to Schools (SRTS) Partnership.

Fitzhugh worked closely with the Knox County Health Department to select participating schools and establish the direct observation evaluation methods Fitzhugh and his students would use. Fitzhugh also developed a working relationship with six elementary and middle school principals as the methods were implemented.

The SRTS coalition was active in all stages of designing and implementing the program, while Fitzhugh and his students provided the technical assistance and expertise in designing the direct observations specific to each individual elementary school.

Both community and university benefited from this project. SRTS partners received a baseline evaluation report that will help the coalition justify expansion of the Walking School Bus program to other Knox County schools.

UT undergraduate students in kinesiology learned how to apply physical activity assessment skills in realistic settings. Students also learned directly from community practitioners how best to apply interventions to promote physical activity at the community level.