Colleges and universities increasingly face pressure to take the lead in solving complex problems. Developing and sustaining interdisciplinary research centers that collaborate with community partners can be an effective method of approaching complex challenges. We use the example of interdisciplinary research centers designed to specifically work with tactical athlete organizations (e.g., military, police, fire) as one example of how research centers can be developed and produce important outcomes. A 10-step process is outlined for finding partners, executing projects, and growing research centers which are mutually beneficial to the partner organization and the academic institution. With vision, commitment, and persistence, interdisciplinary research centers can solve complex problems and have meaningful impacts in the community.
Interdisciplinary Research Centers: A Pathway for Solving Complex Problems
JoEllen M. Sefton and Kenneth A. Games
Perceived Barriers to Reporting Mental and Behavioral Illness in the Fire Service
Kami N. Thews, Zachary K. Winkelmann, Lindsey E. Eberman, Kirsten A. Potts, and Kenneth E. Games
Firefighters are exposed to psychological stress while on duty that could lead to mental and behavioral illnesses that may go unreported. We surveyed firefighters to identify their perceived barriers encountered when attempting to report a mental and behavioral illness with a follow-up question related to how difficult the selected barrier was in the reporting process. A total of 314 firefighters completed the instrument, with most indicating they experienced cultural barriers such as social norms from administration and peers. The findings demonstrate an overall demand for a cultural change within the fire service for a supportive environment that encourages reporting.
Sequential Pulse Compression’s Effect on Blood Flow in the Lower-Extremity
Kelly A. Brock, Lindsey E. Eberman, Richard H. Laird IV, David J. Elmer, and Kenneth E. Games
Context: Several interventions are available to reduce the intensity and duration of the unwanted effects (eg, muscle soreness) associated with physical activity, such as massage, compression garments, and sequential pulse compression (SPC). Such interventions aim to increase blood flow to alleviate symptoms. However, there is a lack of evidence to support the use of SPC to alter total hemoglobin concentration (THb) in active individuals. Objective: To examine the acute effects of a single session of SPC on hemoglobin concentration compared with a control condition. Design: Single cohort, crossover design. Participants: Thirty-four physically active and healthy participants (females = 12 and males = 22) completed the study. Interventions: The authors randomly assigned participants to first receive the experimental (SPC) or control condition. Measures were recorded precondition and postcondition. Participants returned to the laboratory to complete the second condition ≥24 hours after the first condition. Main Outcome Measures: Relative changes in THb, deoxygenated hemoglobin, and oxygenated hemoglobin measures were recorded using near-infrared spectroscopy placed on the muscle belly of the medial gastrocnemius of the dominant limb. Results: SPC significantly increased THb (P < .001, d = 0.505) and oxygenated hemoglobin (P < .001, d = 0.745) change scores compared with the control condition. No statistical difference in deoxygenated hemoglobin change scores was found between the SPC and control conditions, but a medium effect size suggests potential biological significance (P = .06, d = 0.339). Conclusions: Overall, SPC increases THb to the lower-extremity and may be a viable option in the management of muscle soreness related to physical activity.