Pfeiffer named director of Institute for the Study of Youth Sports 

July 18, 2022

Professor Karin Allor Pfeiffer has been selected as the director of the Michigan State University Institute for the Study of Youth Sports, effective August 1, 2022. She will assume the position from Professor Dan Gould, who is retiring after 23 years at MSU in August.  

The Institute for the Study of Youth Sports is comprised of scholars in the Department of Kinesiology who work collaboratively with researchers and sport organizations across the nation to provide leadership, scholarship and outreach that improves youth sports. Established in 1978, the institute focuses on ways to maximize the beneficial physical, psychological and social effects of youth sport participation. Last month, the institute hosted its annual Summer Coaches’ School, providing strategies and support for promoting positive development of athletes.  

“The work that Professor Dan Gould and the Institute has done during his 23 years has been a tremendous asset for Michigan State University, the state of Michigan and the entire nation,” said Jerlando F. L. Jackson, dean of the MSU College of Education and MSU Foundation Professor of Education. “I, along with the rest of the college and MSU, have great confidence Professor Karin Pfeiffer’s leadership will safeguard and accelerate the prominence of the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports.” 

Pfeiffer is a recognized leader in the field of kinesiology and exercise physiology. Her impactful research has focused on physical activity in youth and adolescents, both in measuring and in increasing the rate of physical activity. She has more than 15,000 citations, and publications in journals such as Pediatrics, Journal of Physical Activity and Health, Kinesiology Review and Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. Select current research projects within her Kids at Play Lab include: 

  • Study of Active Neighborhoods Detroit (StAND), which is examining how ecological restoration of abandoned parks in Detroit, MI will increase residents’ physical activity, lower stress and improve overall health. Pfeiffer is co-investigator with MSU Associate Professor Amber Pearson in the College of Social Science. Funding for the research is provided by the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute, the Detroit Medical Center, the Detroit Audobon and MSU.  
  • Children’s Health Activity Motor Program (CHAMP), which is analyzing how the CHAMP after-school program is impacting physical activity, motor performance and other health-related factors in children in Ypsilanti and Lansing, MI. The research is funded by the National Institutes of Health – National Institute of Nursing Research. Pfeiffer is a co-principal investigator along with Leah Robinson and co-investigators Lu Wang (University of Michigan) and fellow MSU Kinesiology faculty member, Professor Nicholas Myers.  

Pfeiffer was elected to the National Academy of Kinesiology in 2020. She has served as the president of the North American Society for Pediatric Exercise Medicine, as vice president of the American College of Sports Medicine and as a member of the prestigious President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition Science Board. She is a member of the leadership board of the National Youth Sports Health and Safety Institute and Chair of the Sport Sector of the National Physical Activity Plan. Currently, Pfeiffer is nearing the end of her term as the interim chair of the Department of Kinesiology, a role she has held since July 2021. Panteleimon Ekkekakis will assume the full-time chair role in August 2022.  

Pfeiffer joined MSU as an assistant professor in 2006. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and her master’s and Ph.D. from Michigan State University, specializing in exercise physiology.  


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