Mollie Stricklin, 334/844- 1476


AUBURN -- Auburn University's TigerFit program will benefit from a $11,500 contribution from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama's Caring Foundation.

The philanthropic branch of Blue Cross/Blue Shield, will provide new equipment for the TigerFit cardiovascular fitness assessment lab, which is administered through the Department of Health and Human Performance in Auburn's College of Education.

The program provides low-cost fitness assessments and comprehensive health profiles to the community as well as the opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to develop skills in applied exercise technology, exercise physiology, cardiac rehabilitation and adult fitness programming.

"We are very encouraged by the initial success of the TigerFit program," says Peter Grandjean, assistant professor and program director. "The work of our faculty and students has resulted in the need to develop our facilities and enhance our levels of teaching and community service,"

The Health and Fitness Assessment Laboratory is the first and only clinical fitness assessment program in Alabama designed for teaching, research and detection of cardiovascular disease.

Grandjean said Blue Cross and Blue Shield's contribution will enable the purchase of an automatic external defibrillator and the ability to modernize the program's emergency cart, phlebotomy equipment and phlebotomy workstation.

"These laboratory enhancements will improve our ability to teach current emergency skills and provide fitness assessments in a safe and reliable environment," he said.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield donated $10,000 in February 1998 to help launch the TigerFit program.

"Clearly Blue Cross and Blue Shield's financial assistance has helped us pursue the objectives we established for the TigerFit program -- improving classroom instruction, generating extramural research funding and enhancing our university outreach," Grandjean added.

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CONTACT: Grandjean, 334/844-1462, and Kim Ellis, 334/844-1324.