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Arnold School of Public Health

Catching up with John Sirard, a key member of CPARG from 1997 to 2003

Kids working out in the gym

John Sirard was a key member of CPARG from 1997 to 2003. At that time, he was a PhD student and lead for the LEAP Study data collection team. After his time with CPARG, he did a two-year post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University’s Prevention Research Center working with Tom Robinson and Abby King. From 2005 to 2010, he was on the faculty in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota. There, he worked with researchers investigating the multi-level factors related to adolescent physical activity and eating patterns. Then, from 2010 to 2013, he was on the faculty at the University of Virginia, researching positive youth development in young people. In 2013, his travels finally came full circle when he was offered a faculty position at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is now an Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology with a joint appointment in the Honors College. John says, “Moving to South Carolina from Massachusetts was some serious culture shock but I am very glad I stayed and was able to grow as a person and as a researcher during my time with CPARG. I attribute much of my career success to my very positive experience with CPARG during my early academic journey.”


John has been continuously funded by NIH, either as a co-investigator or principal investigator for the past 18 years. In addition, one of his most cited articles is a review paper of youth physical activity assessment methods that he co-authored with Dr. Pate while he was a PhD student. John says, “My extensive field experience leading the LEAP Study data collection was very valuable and taught me how to manage the logistics of a large study with multiple research assistants. I attribute much of this success to Russ Pate’s mentorship and network, working alongside brilliant faculty on LEAP and TAAG, and the incredible support of the post-docs, other grad students, and professional staff at CPARG and in the Department of Exercise Science. I hold very fond memories of this formative stage of my career and wish all at CPARG much continued success!”

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