To promote healthy living and market its program, the University of Memphis School of Health Studies is hosting a lineup of symposiums over the course of the school year titled the Healthy Conversations Symposiums.

The first symposium featured topics such as running, training, nutrition and injury prevention. The symposium was hosted Oct. 2 by a panel of experts headlined by Max Paquette, Deidra Nelson, and Mark Temme. Max Paquette is a professor at the UofM as well as a private distance running coach, Nelson is a dietitian and nutrition coordinator for the UofM, and Temme is the director of rehabilitation for OrthoSouth.

The symposium followed a discussion-style format with the panel answering questions from the audience. Nelson was in the spotlight for the majority of the night, as much of the audience had questions regarding nutrition, dieting and eating properly on race day. Paquette’s piece focused more on training methods and how to best optimize yourself for race day, and Temme spoke about recovery, injury prevention and rehabilitation.

Megan Ryan, a second-year biomechanics graduate student and former cross country runner at the UofM, attended the symposium to learn more about the topic.

“I feel like it’s always beneficial to further your knowledge, even on topics you’re very familiar with,” Ryan said.

Ryan said although it was a great way to start the discussion, she felt it was a little unfocused.

“I would have liked to talk more about running and training specifically,” Ryan said. “It is so hard to cater to everyone’s interests in an hour and a half when the running world has so many factors that affect it.”

Paquette said the idea behind the symposiums is to utilize the expertise of the school of health studies faculty and to educate the campus community on a number of topics regarding healthy living. He also said the level of expertise among the faculty at the UofM might be under utilized.

“Often academics just stay to ourselves in our own studies, so we don’t share our information to the people in the area,” Paquette said. “You can have the best resources in the world, but if nobody actually gets to hear about it, it’s useless.”

Although the audience was filled with mostly recreational and elite runners, several non-runners also attended the event. One of the non-runners in attendance was Cecilia Fay, a second-year journalism major. She attended the symposium looking for new ways to get in shape.

“I don’t consider myself to be a runner,” Fay said. “Although the panel was well put together, the information wasn’t anything that applied to me, so it wasn’t something that I cared about.”

Also among the audience was professional distance runner Lauren Paquette. Paquette is currently the 32nd fastest female 5,000 meter runner in the world, as well as panelist Dr. Max Paquette’s wife.

“The goal is to strengthen the running community, but I think we could get more people out,” Paquette said. “I think breaking it up into different seminars would be good.”

Tracy Shipp, the marketing and communications manager for the school of health studies and the coordinator of the Healthy Conversations Symposiums, said there will be another Healthy Conversations symposium this semester, followed by two more in the spring. The next symposium will be held in November and include a cooking demonstration.

“It won’t be as big of an event, but it will be hands on,” Shipp said. “We try to cover everything that the school of health studies contains which includes nutrition and sports science – we have a little bit of everything.”

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