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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

UMass Amherst Faculty Awarded ACSM Grant

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recently awarded University of Massachusetts Amherst Assistant Professor of Kinesiology Dr. Katie Becofsky with the Paffenbarger-Blair Fund for Epidemiological Research on Physical Activity Award. The award will be used for experimental subjects, supplies, and small equipment needs.

[Photo: Mr. Liam Fitzgerald (left) and Dr. Katie Becofsky]

“I couldn’t believe it when I found out I would receive the grant! I thought they sent the notification email to the wrong person,” says Dr. Becofsky with a laugh. “I am especially honored since I got my PhD at the University of South Carolina, where Dr. Blair (one of the namesakes of the award) worked for decades. He is a living legend in the field of physical activity and health,” she adds.

The $10,000 award is meant to support research by scientists in the beginning of their career, and Dr. Becofsky has just finished her first year as a faculty member. She will use the award to complete a study over the Summer and Fall of 2017 titled “Strengthening the bond between owners and their dogs to increase physical activity”. Dr. Becofsky’s research examines how leveraging the human-animal bond might promote physical health, mental health and social well-being.

“I will use these funds to conduct a small project testing whether basic obedience training can increase physical activity levels among owners that do not walk their dogs regularly,” she says. Dr. Becofsky will partner with Ms. Caryl-Rose Pofcher of My Dog Training in Amherst, MA for the study, and utilize Pofcher’s knowledge as a certified behavior adjustment trainer.