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USM Exercise Science Program First in MS to Earn CAAHEP Accreditation

Wed, 06/12/2024 - 09:18am | By: Karelia Pitts

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is the first and only college in the state of Mississippi to earn accreditation for an exercise science program from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

USM’s Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology with emphasis in exercise science prepares students for successful careers in the multifaceted health and exercise science industry. Graduates help individuals pursue healthy lives as they apply principles of human physiology, biomechanics, psychology and nutrition to improve performance and well-being.

“A four-year degree in exercise science is terrifically impactful, not only because it provides students with a direct pathway to career options, but because it also serves as a leading degree for students looking to extend their education into highly competitive graduate programming like physical therapy, athletic training, occupational therapy, sport science and medical school,” said Dr. Scott Piland, director of the School of Kinesiology and Nutrition at USM. “Being the very first program in our state to receive this accreditation assures that our students receive the best possible educational experience, making them ready for life.”

CAAHEP standards are established by the Committee on Accreditation for the Exercise Sciences, which is sponsored by the American College of Sports Medicine, American Council on Exercise, American Kinesiotherapy Association, American Red Cross, National Academy of Sports Medicine, and National Council on Strength and Fitness.

In a letter from CAAHEP, President Donald Balasa wrote, “The commission recognizes your organization’s commitment to continuous quality improvement in health professions education, as demonstrated by your participation in CAAHEP programmatic accreditation.”

“Our faculty, students and advisory board members worked diligently to secure this recognition. We wanted to be the first in our state because our Golden Eagles deserve to be on the leading edge of exercise science education,” said Dr. Riley Galloway, assistant professor and program coordinator for USM’s exercise science program. “This effectively prepares them for the quickly changing sports medicine environment which is expanding in regard to specialized certifications and job opportunities.”

Complimenting the strong curriculum, which uniquely integrates cadaver anatomy, are the program’s state-of-the-art facilities in Joseph Greene Hall. Highlights include high-tech physiology and biomechanics labs, a teaching kitchen and anthropometrics lab, all of which expose students to cutting-edge clinical practices. Faculty expertise combined with exceptional facilities make for the perfect setting to learn and explore this area of study.

“Our school is fortunate to have one of the best equipped learning and research facilities in Mississippi, which assists our faculty in not only being incredibly productive in research, but also helps them afford students meaningful opportunities to actively contribute to a variety of ongoing research studies,” said Dr. Piland. “Their collective efforts set us at the forefront of where sports medicine and sport science are headed in the future.”

Learn more about the USM School of Kinesiology and Nutrition.