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June 26, 2019
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Firefighter Fitness Study
Updated On: Sep 19, 2018

The Saint Paul Fire Department has an opportunity to participate in a study that will have long term impact on firefighter fitness throughout the nation. The Health Partners Institute has been awarded a grant to evaluate cardiorespiratory fitness among active firefighters. The study will utilize the most current technology to assess individual aerobic capacity and body fat. This study is completely confidential, completely voluntary and has been approved by the Institutional Review Board.


This study is supported by the officers of Local 21 and Local 3939 along with the Fire Administration.


Please consider participating in the unique study.


Firefighter CRF Pilot Invitation Email

SUBJECT: YOU’RE INVITED: Cardiorespiratory Fitness Research Study

To: Firefighters at local metro fire departments


Dear local firefighter,

We are writing to invite you to participate in a research study called Firefighter Cardiorespiratory Fitness (CRF) Pilot. We are reaching out to you because you are a firefighter employed by a metropolitan fire department in Minnesota.

The purpose of the Firefighter CRF Pilot study, sponsored by Hologic Inc., is to obtain more accurate information on body composition metrics and reducing cardiorespiratory risk in firefighters. Hologic is the manufacturer of the Horizon dual X-ray energy absorptiometry (DXA) Bone Densitometer, which is the machine that will be used in this study to measure your body composition (please see study description below).

We are looking for 55 individuals to take part in the Firefighter CRF Pilot study during Phase I and 275 individuals to take part in the study during Phase II of the study.

If you are interested, we will be scheduling a time to visit your fire department in the coming weeks to complete an evaluation. We will share your name with your local fire department in order to work to schedule your appointment during your on duty hours. At this first visit, we will ask you to review the study consent form, ask you to complete a survey, measure your height, weight, waist circumference, blood oxygen levels and resting heart rate, and complete a 2,000 meter rower test to measure your VO2max (the maximum oxygen consumption during intense exercise). This visit will last about 60 minutes.

Once you have completed this visit at your local fire department, we will ask you to complete two more evaluation visits as part of the study:

1) One visit will occur at the White Bear Lake Performance Plus (DBA Health Strategies) office (2734 County Rd D, White Bear Lake, MN 55110) where you will complete a treadmill VO2max test. The time commitment for this VO2max test is about 30 to 60 minutes.

2) The other visit will occur at the HealthPartners Riverside Clinic (2220 Riverside Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55454) with the Radiology Department where you will complete a dual X-ray energy absorptiometry (DXA) scan that will measure body composition, in terms of fat and lean tissues in the body. This process takes a few minutes and is not uncomfortable. The machine scans your body, taking a picture of it. You will be asked to lie on your back on a scanning table. You will be asked to remove all clothing and jewelry to complete the test but will be given a pair of paper shorts and a cotton gown to wear during the screening. In total, this visit will last about 30-45 minutes and can be scheduled between the hours of 8:30am-3:30pm Monday through Friday.

After all test results have been collected, you will be given a compiled results report with individualized interpretation of all measurements and test results from study physicians. These will be distributed in-person at your local fire department or by mail and participants will be granted the opportunity to sign up for a brief 1:1 in-person consult with study physicians.

If you are interested, please click the link below to complete a short survey to let us know you are interested in participating. Of those who complete the survey, we will randomly select up to 55 individuals to participate in Phase I of the study in the coming weeks. These individuals will be notified via email of their selection and request their attendance at the local fire department evaluation visit. You will also find a PDF of the study consent form attached to this e-mail for your review. You do not need to sign this consent form prior to completing the survey, but it has been provided as a way to provide more information about what the study will involve. Study staff will review this consent form with you at your first study visit at your local fire department.

Individuals who have not been selected to participate in the study during Phase I, will have a chance to be offered the opportunity to participate in the study during Phase II of enrollment in 2019.

If you have any questions about the study you may contact the Study Project Manager, Dani Bredeson, at 952-967-6738 or email Taking part in this study is voluntary. Your decision will not affect your relationship with HealthPartners or the HealthPartners Institute, nor your employer.

Thank you for your time and consideration!


Zeke McKinney, MD, MHI, MPH

Principal Investigator, Firefighter Cardiorespiratory Fitness Pilot Study, HealthPartners Institute

Faculty Physician, Occupational Medicine, HealthPartners

Ralph S. Bovard, MD, MPH, FACOEM, FACPM

Co-Investigator, Firefighter Cardiorespiratory Fitness Pilot Study, HealthPartners Institute

Faculty Physician, Occupational Medicine, HealthPartners

Kevin R. Ronneberg, MD

Co-Investigator, Firefighter Cardiorespiratory Fitness Pilot Study, HealthPartners Institute

Vice President and Associate Medical Director, Health Initiatives, HealthPartners

Nicolaas P. Pronk, PhD

Co-Investigator, Firefighter Cardiorespiratory Fitness Pilot Study

President, HealthPartners Institute

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