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Laudatio uitgesproken door prof. dr. J. Borms

VOORGEDRAGEN DOOR HET
HOGER INSTITUUT VOOR LICHAMELIJKE OPVOEDING
EN KINESITHERAPIE

Professor Steven N. BLAIR

Professor Steven N. BLAIR is als director of epidemiology verbonden aan het Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research in Dallas, Texas. Hij studeerde aan de Kansas Wesleyan University (1957-1962) waar hij een B.A. in lichamelijke opvoeding behaalde en aan de Indiana University (1963-1966) waar hij promoveerde tot M.S. (1965) en tot P.E.D. (1968). Nadien volgde hij van 1978 tot 1980 als post-doctoral scholar de specialisatie preventieve cardiologie aan de Stanford University School of Medicine.

In 1962 en 1963 was hij als wetenschappelijk medewerker verbonden aan de Kansas Wesleyan University. Van 1966 tot 1984 was hij professor aan de University of South Carolina – Columbia. Momenteel is hij hoogleraar aan de School of Public Health van de University of South Carolina, van het University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston en directeur van het Institute for Aerobics Research.

Professor Steven N. BLAIR is lid van het redactiecomité en fungeert als verantwoordelijke uitgever van talrijke wetenschappelijke tijdschriften. Hij ontving meerdere wetenschappelijke onderscheidingen, was van 1990 tot 1992 vice-voorzitter van het American College of Sports Medicine en werd in 1993 verkozen als voorzitter van de American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education.
Zijn indrukwekkende publicatielijst vermeldt 142 titels en 11 papers.

Professor Steven N. BLAIR lag aan de basis van belangrijk onderzoek naar de invloed van lichamelijke activiteiten op de gezondheid en is nog steeds nauw betrokken bij de werkzaamheden van de Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial Research Group van het American Institute of Health

LAUDATIO
VOOR PROF. DR. STEVEN BLAIR

Met de uitreiking van het eredoktoraat en de eretekens van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel aan Steven Blair wordt het HILOK – Hoger Instituut voor Lichamelijke Opvoeding, Motorische Revalidatie en Kinesitherapie – in de gelegenheid gesteld een uitmuntende kollega te honoreren.

Steven Blair was born on July 4, 1939 in Mankato, Kansas, USA. After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree at Kansas Wesleyan University, he continues his education at Indiana University, Bloomington, obtaining a Master of Science Degree in 1965 and a Doctoral degree in Physical Education in 1968.

His university career started at the University of South Carolina, Columbia in 1966 where his last position was professor at the School of Public Health. Besides teaching epidemiological foundations of health education, perhaps the cornerstone of a later research career, he founded, developed and directed the Human Performance Laboratory. Later, in 1989, he became professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina and at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.

In between, he pursued post-doctoral work in preventive cardiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, which led to the appointment as director of epidemiology at the renowned Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research in Dallas, Texas. The Cooper Institute is named after its founder, Dr. Kenneth Cooper, who became world famous for the widely used test named after him, and the implementation of the concept aerobic performance.

Dr. Steven Blair is one of the world’s foremost authorities in the area of exercise epidemiology. A major responsibility of his work with the Institute is to direct longitudinal research projects which have provided new scientific information and insights in the mechanisms for both the scientific community and lay public in areas relating to mortality, longevity, aging, exercise, the interrelationships with physical fitness and habitual physical activity, the scientific evaluation of intervention studies, and the application of established health promotion principles.

The results of his research have had a major impact on clinical and public health practice in the United States. The findings from his prospective longitudinal studies, some of the best designed and conceptualized in the literature, have considerably strengthened the inference that sedentary habits increase the risk of early death and that starting an exercise program in middle age can significantly protect against coronary heart disease. It also led to the recent important statement of the American Heart Association recognizing inactivity as a risk factor for coronary artery disease, and to the identification by the US Public Health Service of increased physical activity as a priority in Healthy People 2000, the American health objectives for the year 2000.

Also of special importance are his research contributions focusing on the significance, assessment, and promotion of youth health and fitness, a subject which has aroused currently considerable concern in this country and which represents an area of special interest for our own institute at the VUB.

Steven Blair has had direct involvement and a high profile with a number of related professional and scientific organizations in health, health promotion and medicine. He was a member of the task force that developed the widely used 1980 AAHPERD Health Related Fitness Test and manual. He served as the exercise epidemiology section editor for the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport and is still a member of the Editorial or Advisory Board of 7 outstanding scientific journals, among which are Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise and the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Steven Blair is the recipient of many honors and holds the status of fellow of the Council on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology. For two years he was Vice President of the American College of Sports Medicine but within this highly respected institution, he will be much remembered as one of the driving forces behind the Guidelines for “Recommended Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory and Muscular Fitness in Healthy Adults”.

His scholarly contributions place him among the most respected scientists in the field of exercise epidemiology, public health, sports medicine and sport science.

Steven Blair has been, on many occasions, a featured speaker at national and international conferences. He is a didactically strong speaker who has the ability to be at the same time scientifically convincing, clear, entertaining and motivating.

For all these reasons, it is a privilege for our Institute that the highest distinction of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Doctor Honoris Causa, be conferred upon Professor Steven Blair.

Prof. Dr. J. Borms