The Cooper Institute

Founded in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics"
Kenneth H. Cooper MD, MPH



Scientific Advisory Board


A key factor in the sustainability and credibility of the FitnessGram® assessment has been the FitnessGram® Scientific Advisory Board. The following are the main roles of the board:

  • Advisors provide technical content expertise in various aspects of physical activity and physical fitness. The Advisors are recognized experts in fitness and health, which allows them to give valuable input on the structure and direction of the assessment.
  • Advisors contribute to advancing FitnessGram® research. By conducting studies on FitnessGram® issues, Advisors help ensure that the assessment remains on solid, scientific ground.
  • Advisors increase visibility and advocacy of FitnessGram® through professional interactions, reputations, and contributions. Their support is most important, as it ensures credibility among researchers, as well as among school leaders, public health officials and funding agencies.

Position Statements

Gregory J. Welk, PhD

Gregory J. Welk, PhD
Scientific Director
Iowa State University

Gregory J. Welk is the Director of Clinical Research and Community Outreach with the Nutrition and Wellness Research Center at Iowa State University as well as an Associate Professor with the Department of Kinesiology at Iowa State University. Dr. Welk completed his Masters degree (MS) at the University of Iowa and his Ph.D. at Arizona State University. Prior to coming to ISU, Dr. Welk worked at the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research where he directed the Childhood and Adolescent Health Division. He was responsible for the scientific direction of FitnessGram® and has continued to serve as the Chair of the FitnessGram Scientific Advisory Board. His research interests focus on the assessment and promotion of physical activity and fitness in children. Dr. Welk is an active member of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America), the Society for Behavior Medicine (SBM), and the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE).

Joe Eisenmann, PhD

Joe Eisenmann, PhD
Michigan State University

Dr. Eisenmann is a diverse scientist whose academic framework draws from the areas of auxology (human growth), human biology, exercise and sport physiology, and chronic disease epidemiology. He has published 125 papers and lectured widely on the growth- and maturity-related variation of body size and function, and its impact on the health and physical performance of children and adolescents. He completed the PhD at Michigan State University in 2000 and has held faculty positions at the University of Wyoming, York University (Toronto, Canada), Iowa State University, and Michigan State University. He has also served as the Senior Translational Epidemiologist at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Currently, he is an assistant professor in the Division of Sports and Cardiovascular Nutrition within the Department of Radiology and College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University. He is involved in the North American Society for Pediatric Exercise Medicine Board of Directors, American College of Sports Medicine Pediatric Exercise is Medicine working group, and the Pediatric Data Harmonization Project. He joined the FitnessGram® Scientific Advisory Board in 2012.

Besides his primary research focus on child growth, obesity, and cardiometabolic health, Dr. Eisenmann is involved in the development of young athletes and issues related to pediatric sports medicine. He is the co-directing of the Spartan Nutrition and Performance Program (SNAPP). He also coaches youth and high school baseball.

Scott Going, PhD

Scott Going, PhD
The University of Arizona

Scott Going, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and in Physiological Sciences and the Director of the Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition at The University of Arizona. His research interests include development of methods and models for body composition assessment, changes in body composition during growth and development in children and with aging in older adults, and the effects of exercise and diet on bone, soft tissue composition, functional capacity and health. His research is funded by The National Institutes of Health (NIDDK, NIAMS and NICHD), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Science Foundation of Arizona.

Current projects focus on the development of body composition standards for youth and adults, school-based integrated physical activity and nutrition programs, sarcopenia, hip geometry and fractures in postmenopausal women, and the effects of exercise interventions on skeletal development and health in children and patients with knee osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Dolly Lambdin, PhD

Dolly Lambdin, PhD
The University of Texas, Austin

Dolly Lambdin, EdD, is a clinical professor in the Department of Kinesiology & Health Education at the University of Texas at Austin. She has 16 years teaching experience in public and private schools grades K-8 and 37 years in teacher preparation at the university level for many years teaching mornings in the public school and afternoons at the university. She has supervised over 100 student teachers visiting thousands of public school classes and learning from scores of fabulous “cooperating teachers”. She teaches undergraduate teaching methods courses and Technology in Physical Education, Analysis of Teaching, and Current Issues in Physical Education in the masters and doctoral programs in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at UT Austin.

Dr. Lambdin is the recipient of the Texas Exes Elizabeth Shatto Massey Award for Excellence in Teacher Education (2009) and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education Physical Education Teacher Education Honor Award (2009), Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance College Teacher of the Year in 2008.

Dr. Lambdin served as President of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) from 2004-05 and on the writing teams for the Texas Physical Education Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) in Physical Education, the National and Texas State Physical Education Beginning Teacher Standards, and NASPE’s Appropriate Practices Guidelines.

Dr. Lambdin has co-authored several texts including Putting Research to Work in Elementary Physical Education with Lawrence F. Locke, Fitness for Life Middle School, and Fitness for Life Middle School Teacher’s Guide with Chuck Corbin and Guy LeMasurier. More recently she co-authored the completion of the Fitness for Life Series, Fitness for Life: Elementary School, a comprehensive guide for school-wide support of physically activity and physical education which includes guides for classroom teachers, physical education teachers and the school wellness coordinator (Corbin, Lambdin, LeMasurier, & Greiner).

During leisure time she enjoys walking, cycling, kayaking, sewing and signing around the campfire. In the summer she spends her time in Maine enjoying living in the woods by the lake.

Matthew Mahar, EdD

Matthew Mahar, EdD
San Diego State University

Matthew Mahar is Director and Professor of the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences at San Diego State University. His research focuses on the promotion and measurement of physical activity and fitness in youth. He has expertise in the measurement aspects of physical activity and fitness and has extensive experience conducting school-based research and intervention programs for overweight children. He is the creator of the Energizers Classroom-based Physical Activities and has experience teaching both elementary school and high school physical education.

Dr. Mahar has served on the Science Board of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition; as chair of the Editorial Board for Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport; and as chair of the Examinations Committee of the American College of Sports Medicine. Dr. Mahar is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and a Fellow of the National Academy of Kinesiology. He has won awards for his teaching, research, and service contributions, including the prestigious North Carolina Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching. He exercises, walks his dog, and tracks his steps every day.

James R. Morrow, Jr., PhD

James R. Morrow, Jr., PhD
University of North Texas

James R. Morrow, Jr. is a Regents Professor in the Department of Kinesiology, Health Promotion, and Recreation at the University of North Texas. His background is in research and evaluation methodology, having conducted research on fitness testing and taught measurement, research, and evaluation courses for more than 35 years. He has published more than 130 manuscripts, chapters, and 3 textbooks. His co-authored measurement text, Measurement and Evaluation in Human Performance, is in its 4th edition. He presents his research annually before national and international audiences. He has served on the FitnessGram® Advisory Committee for more than 30 years. He previously served a 4-year term on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Science Board as member and then Chair. Morrow is a Fellow in the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Academy of Kinesiology (for which he was President in 2003-2004), the AAHPERD Research Consortium, and the North American Society of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport and Dance Professionals. He was the Editor-in-Chief of the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport (1989-1993) and founding Co-Editor (with Steven N. Blair) of the Journal of Physical Activity & Health (2004-2006). He has received numerous state and national awards for his research and service activities. Honors include the AAHPERD Scholar, AAHPERD McCloy Lecturer, AAHPERD RQES Lecturer, the AAHPERD Research Consortium Distinguished Service Award, the Measurement and Evaluation Council Lifetime Achievement Award, TAHPERD’s David K. Brace Award, SDAAHPERD Scholar, TAHPERD Honor Award, and the AAHPERD Research Consortium Writing Award (3 times). He has been Principal or Co-Investigator on research awards funded for approximately $8,000,000.

Sharon Ann Plowman, PhD

Sharon Ann Plowman, PhD
University of Northern Illinois–Emeritus

Dr. Sharon Ann Plowman a professor emeritus from the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education at Northern Illinois University. She taught in higher education for 36 years including classes in personal fitness, exercise physiology, stress testing and exercise bioenergetics. She has published over seventy scientific and research articles in the field as well as numerous applied articles on physical fitness with an emphasis on females and children/adolescents.

Dr. Plowman earned her earned her Ph.D. at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign under the tutelage of Dr. T. K. Cureton, Jr. She is a Fellow emeritus of the American College of Sports Medicine, and served on the Board of Trustees. She is a Fellow emeritus of the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education. She is a Life Member of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. Dr. Plowman has received the Excellence in Teaching Award at NIU, the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Illinois and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Honor Award.

Dr. Plowman was part of the original professional committees that developed the Health-Related Physical Fitness concept and has served on the Scientific Advisory Council for FitnessGram® since its inception in 1987.

During leisure time, Dr. Plowman enjoys traveling, exercising, volunteering at a local therapeutic horseback riding program and making pottery.

Stephen Pont, MD, MPH, FAAP

Stephen Pont, MD, MPH, FAAP
Dell Children's Medical Center

Stephen Pont, MD, MPH serves as the medical director for the Texas Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity, which strives to empower families to lead healthy, happy lives through ACES (Activating Children Empowering Success) a bilingual tertiary care weight management clinic, Healthy Living Happy Living a 10-week family based group program, the TEEN cooking and behavioral health group program, and education, advocacy and research activities. Dr. Pont also serves as the medical director for Austin Independent School District's Student Health Services and on a team with the UT-School of Public Health and the USDA/Baylor College of Medicine on a CDC Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration Project that funds a systems based childhood obesity intervention linking primary care offices, schools, recreation centers/YMCAs, and community-based interventions in Houston and Austin. He is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics with UT-Southwestern, Austin Programs and an adjunct Professor in the UT-Austin Department of Advertising. Dr. Pont works with many organizations to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic including Marathon Kids, Children's Optimal Health, Texas Department of Agriculture, Children's Hospital Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, where Dr. Pont currently chairs the AAP's Provisional Section on Obesity. Dr. Pont enjoys working with the media, and regularly utilizes print, radio and TV to spread health messages in English and Spanish to families in Austin and across Texas.

Dr. Pont may be reached at or at Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas.

Georgi Roberts, MS

Georgi Roberts, MS
Fort Worth I.S.D.

Georgi began her teaching career as an elementary PE teacher in Fort Worth, Texas. She taught 7 years and then became the Director of Health and Physical Education for the Fort Worth I.S.D.

Her primary focus has been to build a strong, standards-based program for the district of 80,000 students with focused professional development for teachers and meaningful assessment. She has been successful at obtaining several large federal and local grants to facilitate obtaining resources and training for the teachers.

Very active in local, state, and national organizations that support teachers and student health, she is currently the chair of the Texas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (TAHPERD) Legislative Affairs Committee and member of the National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) PE steering committee. In 2008 she received the TAHPERD K-12 Administrator of the Year Award; in 2010 she received NASPE’s Channing Mann K-12 Administrator of the Year Award.

Georgi has been a member of the FitnessGram® Scientific Advisory Board since 2008 and is passionate about the ideals of health-related fitness and its impact on student learning and wellness. Her current goal is to expand the district’s Coordinated Health Program as well as to work with other districts in doing the same.

Her passion is travel and she often combines regular visits to Austin, the State Capitol, to lobby for legislation that supports strong physical education programs for children with her love for cycling and walking wherever she goes.

Weimo Zhu, PhD

Weimo Zhu, PhD
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Zhu is a professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. An internationally known scholar in Kinesmetrics (Measurement and Evaluation in Kinesiology), Dr. Zhu’s primary research interests are in the study and application of new measurement theories (e.g., item response theory) and statistical models/methods (e.g., equating) to the field of Kinesiology, especially the impact of body-mind exercises on health. His research has been well supported by external grants, including NIH and RWJF. He was the section editor of the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport between 1999 and 2005 and is the associate editor of Journal of Physical Activity and Health. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education, American College of Sports Medicine and Research Consortium of AAHPERD. He was a member of the Scientific Board of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports between 2005 and 2008 and has served on the FitnessGram/ActivityGram®Advisory Committee since 2002.

Emeritus Members

  • Steve N. Blair, PED
  • Charles B. Corbin, PhD
  • Kirk J. Cureton, PhD
  • Harold B. Falls, Jr, PhD
  • Baker C Harrell, PhD
  • Harold U Kohl, PhD
  • Timothy G. Lohman, PhD
  • Marilu Meredith, EdD
  • Robert P. Pangrazi, PhD
  • Russell R. Pate, PhD
  • Jodi Prochaska, PhD, MPH
  • Sarajane Quinn, MS
  • Margaret J. Safrit, PhD
  • James F. Sallis, PhD
  • Charles Sterling, EdD, Founder