John J. Durocher, associate professor of Health Studies at Purdue University Northwest (PNW) who recently was named to a Nils K. Nelson Endowed Professorship, was selected the 2021 recipient of the ADInstruments Macknight Innovative Educator Award by the American Physiological Society (APS).
Each year the APS recognizes one member who effectively engages students by incorporating innovative teaching techniques and technology into their physiology education courses. Durocher impressed the review committee with his years of experience as a lead instructor, his hands-on approach to teaching and his use of a variety of physiological equipment in his courses. The honor brings with it an honorarium of $1,500 and a grant for an Education PowerLab System with supporting software.
“Personally, it’s a great honor,” says Durocher. “For the Health Studies program and our PNW students it will be transformational. This equipment will improve their learning experience by giving them hands-on training with equipment from a company that has set the industry standard for physiological data collection and analysis.”
Durocher also stated that the familiarity students will gain from using the equipment will prepare them for a variety of careers in areas such as occupational and public health, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, clinical research and polysomnography, as well as specific professional graduate programs in physical therapy, physician assistant and medical school.
Kenneth C. Holford, PNW provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, noted that Durocher’s expertise and this prestigious award will benefit students in the PNW Health Studies program after he joined the university just last year.
“We are proud to have brought Dr. Durocher here through an endowed professorship, and excited to see the advancements he is bringing to the program,” Holford said. “His experience and these new technologies will benefit students and the healthcare field for years to come.”
The new equipment and software will be used in multiple courses in PNW’s Health Studies program with the long-term objective of creating separate lab courses for several of the classes. The equipment will also be used as an outreach tool for high schools, prospective students and within the community.
Durocher’s teaching focus is on health studies and human physiology with expertise in autonomic regulation of blood pressure; exercise physiology, exercise assessment and prescription; human biology; and integrative physiology. As a researcher, he focuses on proactive approaches to health that include improving fitness, mitigating anxiety, and reducing several key risk factors for cardiovascular disease.