TWU program assesses firefighters' health, wellness

TWU student takes blood pressure of Denton firefighter during wellness testing
Texas Woman's graduate students perform many of the tests on Denton firefighters during their health and wellness testing, through an agreement between TWU and the Denton Fire Department. Students get real-world experience running and then examining the exam results.

June 13, 2018—DENTON—For more than 20 years, Texas Woman’s University’s Institute for Women’s Health has offered wellness programs and performed health research. This year, a group of first responders— firefighters in the Denton Fire Department (DFD)—is taking advantage of the services available in the clinic.

Denton firefighters can earn bonus pay for maintaining or improving specified wellness levels. To help them monitor these levels, the DFD signed a three-year agreement with TWU’s Institute for Women’s Health to assess the health and fitness of the department’s 170 firefighters annually.

Wellness testing includes cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility, in addition to body composition, bone density, vision and hearing.

“TWU has a long-standing focus to serve the community, and offering these health services to the fire department is just one way of doing so,” said K. Shane Broughton, Ph.D., TWU nutrition and food sciences department chair, who currently leads the institute. “Providing this testing on our Denton campus is convenient for the firefighters, who have been great to work with. Plus, what we offer is discounted compared to similar services offered through privately-owned operators, so it is a benefit for the city, too.”

TWU graduate and doctoral students and faculty perform the tests, under physician supervision. All procedures follow standards set by the National Fire Protection Association and the American College of Sports Medicine.

“I’m pleased we’ve been able to partner with TWU to complete these assessments,” Denton Fire Safety & Wellness Battalion Chief David Boots said. “Having a permanent, local facility to test our firefighters is an asset we’ve never had before.”

Results of the testing are shared with the fire department. TWU is using the data collected to support a research project managed by doctoral students.

“It’s a win-win for all,” Broughton said. “Our students are getting hands-on, real-world experience that will support their careers. And, the firefighters are getting feedback that will guide their plans to maintain or improve their health. We hope to expand this program and provide services to other first responders.”

For more information about the services offered by the Institute for Women’s Health, call 940-898-2785.

Denton firefighters get full-body skeletal scans as part of their wellness checkups at TWU
Denton firefighters will get full-body bone health scans as part of their annual wellness checkups at Texas Woman's University.

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Deanna W. Titzler
Director of Public Relations

Page last updated 5:09 PM, June 13, 2019