About the Centre

Title: Health Promotion, Hippotherapy and Sports Centre (HPHSC).

Institution: Šiauliai University, Višinskio St. 25, Šiauliai

Participating institutions: Department of Social Welfare Studies and Physical Education of Šiauliai University; Rezekne Academy of Technologies, Liepaja University;

Type of research infrastructure: networked, localized

National and international cooperation: Rezekne Academy of Technologies, Liepaja University.

Description of R & D Infrastructure

Health Promotion, Hippotherapy and Sports Centre (HPHSC) is a subdivision of Šiauliai University, established in February, 2016. The creation of HPHSC was stimulated by the objectives 3 and 4 of the second aim of ŠU Strategy (Increasing of the internationalization of science and art activities and development of the inter-sectoral partnership): to enhance priority scientific direction and themes; to educate and attract highly qualified scientists to the university, as well as by The Program for National Development of Public Health Care 2016-2023 of the Republic of Lithuania, aimed at strengthening of physical and mental health of the society, formation of healthy lifestyle and its culture, and promotion of health literacy.

Purpose and need. HPHSC carries out applied scientific research, project activities and provides health promotion services to the public. One of the main aims of the centre is to conduct interdisciplinary (of biomedical and social sciences) applied research on health promotion and health education as well as experimental development activities. The need for the activity of the Centre becomes relevant due to the problems of public health literacy, lack of physical activity and related unfavourable changes in physical and mental health, which can be prevented by educational activity. The existing infrastructure and conducted research are in line with the direction of smart specialization ‘Inclusive and Creative Society’. Scientific research conducted at the Health Promotion, Hippotherapy and Sports Centre correspond to the priority topic of the scientific direction of ŠU ‘Enhancement of the Inclusive Society by Socio-Educational Measures’ Psychosocial Well-being of Persons at Risk of Social Exclusion’, the sub-topic ‘Health Literacy Developent for the Inclusive Society’. The purpose of these studies is to create and implement research-based health promotion technologies, methodologies for the development of health literacy and healthy lifestyle skills for social risk persons and groups of different ages.

Organization of the Use ofR&D Infrastructure

The resources of the Centre: the diagnostic equipment ‘Back-check’ (for testing, analysis, evaluation of and scientific research on strength of various muscle groups, balance, muscle dysfunction), therapy equipment kit “Redcord Plus Extra”, “Ionizer”; ZEBRIS CM10 Win Spine Pointer, used for tests of posture and spinal mobility; reaction meter for measuring frequency of motions, Electromyogram (EMG) for measurement of activeness of muscles by Biometrines Ltd. Electromyograph.

Equipment of the Centre is used by researchers of the Unit and national & foreign partners. In 2016, a study was conducted on health literacy and physical activeness among pupils of the eighth grades of Šiauliai city and a research study was published. In 2017, an international research was conducted on integration of people recovering from coma through sports activities ‘Links United For Coma Awakenings Through Sport’(involving 6 foreign countries: Italy, Spain, Lithuania, Cyprus, Belgium, Denmark). Based on research results, methodological recommendations were prepared. This international study was acknowledged by the EU Commission as significant for disabled people’s inclusive processes in Europe. The study is unique in that horse riding therapy was used for rehabilitation of communication skills of persons who have awakened from coma. In 2018, the implementation of the project according to Interreg Latvia-Lithuania Cross-Border Cooperation Programme 2014-2020 Joint and Interdisciplinary Lifelong Learning Training for Professionals Working with Neuro Sensorimotor Disorders (Interproof) No. LLI-352 was initiated.

Services provided: individual physiotherapist’s consultation for infants, children, adult persons. Individual speech therapist’s counselling for infants and children. Hippotherapy services for children with developmental disabilities, behavioural and emotional disorders.

The Health Promotion, Hippotherapy and Sports Centre is open for cooperation with researchers and professionals in the areas of education and training, rehabilitation and healthy lifestyle education.

Planned Directions ofR&D Development

The Health Promotion, Hippotherapy and Sports Centre is open for cooperation with researchers and professionals in the areas of education and training, rehabilitation and healthy lifestyle education.

It is planned to create a Multifunctional Centre for Child Cognition and Therapies, which will combine the already established infrastructure units of ŠU: the Laboratory of Speech and Language Therapy, the Health Promotion, Hippotherapy and Sports Centre, the Research Laboratory ‘LIEPA’; the Snoezelen Room; the Vocational Rehabilitation Laboratory; and the Smart Teaching and Learning Laboratory (SMART’labor), currently under creation.

Cooperation with specialized sports schools of Šiauliai and other cities of the country takes place; therefore, in the future, it is planned to conduct research and publish scientific literature for solving problems of motivation development among children seeking sports excellence.

The HPHSC, together with other researchers of SU plan to develop research on healthy environment; health literacy development; for solution of problems of health promotion and integration into the labour market of persons with disabilities and disorders. Together with Liepaja University (Latvia) research on the development of healthy lifestyle, the organization of an alternative rehabilitation assistance network and the need and possibilities to educate specialists of health education will be developed. It is planned to conduct research on disabled people’s preparation for active sport, their motivation, stress coping strategies together with researchers from Rezekne Academy of Technology (Latvia); Liepaja University (Latvia); Futura Soc. Cons. r.l. – ‘Associazione Gli Amici di Luca’ (Italy); Aalborg University (Denmark); Multidisciplinary Expertise Centre of the Thomas More University College (Belgium); European Social Forum Cyprus (Cyprus); Spanish Society of Social and Health Care (SEAS, Spain); Associacao para a Promocao do Desenvolvimento Sustenta (PTPODES, Portugal).

Participation in the Activities of National and International Infrastructures

The infrastructure of the Centre is open to ŠU scientists, research partners of the HPHSC – researchers from other national and foreign higher education institutions who can conduct their planned research jointly with the HPHSC; partners of academic institutions, employees of specialized institutions whose activities are related to the activities of the HPHSC.

It is planned to cooperate with The Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region(ASPHER, https://www.aspher.org/), continue cooperation with The European Network of Physiotherapy in Higher Education (ENPHE, http://enphe.org/). Together with the Laboratory of Occupational Rehabilitation, it is planned to develop project activities in the field of health literacy development and research in the areas of e-medicine and e-services. It is sought to establish contacts with The World Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation (WAPR, http://www.wapr.org/), The International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (ISPRM, http://www.isprm.org/), seek associated membership in The Baltic Association for Rehabilitation (BAR, (https://uia.org/).