IHRSA UFIT Partnership Wins U.S.-Ireland Research Innovation Award

    IHRSA partnership with UNESCO Chair in Inclusive Physical Education, Sport, Fitness and Recreation helps gain prestigious international award.

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    BOSTON, MA— May 21, 2019—IHRSA's partner, the UNESCO Chair in Inclusive Physical Education, Sport, Fitness and Recreation, based at the Institute of Technology in Tralee, Ireland, is the winner of the 2019 U.S.-Ireland Research Innovation Award for an Irish Higher Education Institute or Research Centre with U.S. corporate links. The award was jointly presented by the Royal Irish Academy and the American Chamber of Commerce to recognise excellence in research innovation.

    The official announcement from the Royal Irish Academy, Ireland’s leading body of experts in the sciences and humanities, says, “UFIT (Universal Fitness Innovation and Transformation), an innovative capacity building programme, based on rigorous research that provides bespoke resources to enable the fitness industry to embrace diversity and provide a quality, accessible service to people with disabilities. UFIT is promoted by IHRSA, the Boston headquartered industry body for a sector that has grown rapidly over the past four decades. Together the UNESCO Chair and IHRSA are transforming the sector into one that embraces inclusion and diversity for the benefit of business and society. UFIT facilitates human rights objectives, while delivering economic and social benefits evidenced by the research. Through UFIT, IHRSA is now driving an inclusive transformative change agenda in the industry, with more and more countries and sites on board. The UNESCO Chair partnership with IHRSA via UFIT has elevated disability inclusion to the top of the industries development agenda. The World Health Organisation is now embarking on the UFIT journey with the UNESCO Chair and IHRSA globally to implement UFIT.”

    The winners of the 2019 U.S.-Ireland Research Innovation Awards were announced on Friday, May 17, at the American Chamber of Commerce annual dinner. The presentations took place in the Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road in Dublin in the presence of former Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Mr. Enda Kenny T.D.; President and Officers of the Academy, members of the U.S.-Ireland business community and Academy guests.

    Kilian Fisher, Global UFIT Industry Lead and IHRSA’s international public policy advisor, commented, “Wow, we won against Microsoft and Boston Scientific. A HUGE thank you and appreciation goes to the real superstar, Catherine Carty, head of the UNESCO Chair in Inclusive Physical Education, Sport, Fitness and Recreation and Global UFIT Lead, for having the vision for inclusive sport, fitness and physical education many years ago.”

    Catherine Carty and Fisher began working on a range of initiatives which included the EIPET Project which was launched at the 2009 IHRSA European Congress in Dublin, Ireland. Fittingly, now with IHRSA as the Global Industry partner for UFIT 10 years later, UFIT will be featured as the 19th Annual IHRSA European Congress returns to Dublin on October 14-17, 2019.

    A 1 minute video, produced by the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland and The Royal Irish Academy, is available.

    IHRSA and UFIT are proceeding with UFIT as a proposed Inter United Nations (UN) Agency collaboration between UNESCO and the World Health Organization (WHO) working in partnership with the UNESCO Chair and IHRSA, as announced by Joe Moore, IHRSA president and CEO during the IHRSA 2019 Convention in San Diego.

    For more information and to join the UFIT family, visit the UFIT website or contact, in the U.S., Alexandra Larcom, senior manager of health promotion & health policy for IHRSA and the IHRSA Foundation; or, for global contacts, Kilian Fisher, international public policy advisor and UFIT Global Industry Lead, IHRSA.

    About IHRSA

    The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) is a not-for-profit trade association representing health and fitness facilities, gyms, spas, sports clubs, and suppliers worldwide. IHRSA and its members are dedicated to making the world healthier through regular exercise and activity promotion.

    IHRSA maintains a leadership role in advancing physical activity, which is critical to world health and the battle against obesity and chronic lifestyle disease. IHRSA supports policies that promote more active lifestyles to foster healthier, happier lives.

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    Meredith Poppler @PopplerMeredith

    Meredith is extremely proud to represent an industry that is nothing but a force for good, as health clubs are vital to reducing physical inactivity and improving the health of the country/world. Every day, she works to grow, protect, and promote the industry by raising awareness of and funding for important public policy issues, while encouraging advocacy, collaboration and leadership within the industry. And as IHRSA’s Media and PR liaison, she communicates the importance of physical activity and the benefits of exercise in a health club. Meredith also serves on the Board of Directors of the Tennis Industry Association, representing the health and sports club industry.