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Arnold School of Public Health

Ruth Saunders, longstanding CPARG investigator, continues contributions in retirement

Ruth SaundersRuth P. (Ruthie) Saunders, who retired from the university after nearly 30 years in the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior is a long-term participant in CPARG. She began working with Russ Pate in 1992 as the Project Coordinator for the Promoting Physical Activity Project, which involved developing the “National Guidelines for Promoting Physical Activity and Reducing Sedentary Lifestyle among School-age Youth” and then served as Project Coordinator for the Adolescent Health Promotion Project , also known as the “Active Winners” project. During Active Winners, she switched to an investigator role and participated as a co-investigator over the years in LEAP, TAAG, SHAPES, and TRACK.

Ruthie is staying busy with several projects during this phase of her life. She continues to be involved in manuscript writing with TRACK and is a co-investigator in the Prevention Research Center’s national FAN dissemination and implementation project. She is also working with Russ Pate on a book for Human Kinetics which is focused on promoting physical activity in kindergarten and elementary schools. This handbook for classroom and physical education teachers provides practical strategies and physical activity ideas for teachers to use to promote physical activity in children. 

The rest of her time is spent volunteering, being physically active and being creative. She volunteers at Friendship Center, one of many MIRCI (Mental Illness Recovery Center, Inc.) programs. Friendship Center serves adults with chronic and severe mental illness. She has volunteered at Friendship Center since 1980 and facilitates educational sessions on mental and physical health topics, as well as leading other activities. Recently she has taught a series of lessons about the brain, how it works, and how it relates to mental illness and has also recently led adapted yoga classes and helped plant flowers and start a vegetable garden. 

She does her own physical activity each week which includes walking, swimming, weight training and yoga. Ruthie also finds time to be creative. She has self-published a book called Lowcountry Born which includes stories about her childhood in Walterboro and uses illustrations of her own artwork. Ruthie said that the book helped her deal with the death of her mother and father and was inspired by a book that her mother had written called Low Country Children. In addition to writing, Ruth is a painter using anything from oil pastels to oil paints. She wanted to explore new outlets after retiring, and she has certainly done that.     

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