Researchers Receive FEMA Grant
Researchers from Georgia Southern University’s Waters College of Health Professions and the University of Kentucky’s College of Health Sciences have been awarded a $1.1 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist with a study aimed to promote injury mitigation, better work outcomes and a reduction in financial burdens for firefighters.
Bridget Melton, Ed.D., professor in the Department of Health Sciences and Kinesiology, is
collaborating with researchers at the University of Kentucky for a three-year study. This
study will build on the foundational work established over the past 10 years by Melton and the Tactical Athlete Initiative team.
“Our tactical research team has collaborated with our local fire department, Statesboro Fire Department, to create an industry-leading integrated health approach to firefighter wellness,” stated Melton. “In this model, the firefighter’s health and wellness is prioritized in a cost-effective approach.”
The integrative approach brings the best human performance practices to first responders,
infusing strength and conditioning coaches, athletic trainers, nutrition specialists, and mental
A handful of agencies nationwide are beginning to embrace this integrated approach. Even with the model’s success, Melton noted, “there is still limited research on benefits to the firefighter, health care costs and the organization with this new model.”
“The goal of the (FEMA) study is to provide agencies and government officials with evidence supporting the model. We want to be able to demonstrate to these individuals that their return on investment will be worth it as firefighters using the model will sustain fewer injuries; therefore, the agency’s financial burden will be reduced.”