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U.S. Army
Research Institute of Environmental Medicine

Behind the Science with Stephen Foulis, Ph.D., Research Physiologist

Stephen Foulis, Ph.D.
Stephen Foulis, Ph.D.

How long have you been at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine?

I've been at USARIEM for a little over 10 years, starting in the fall of 2013. The first three years I was an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education fellow working for Marilyn Sharp. Then, I was converted to a Department of the Army civilian in 2016.

How did you become interested in Soldier Nutrition and Performance?

I've always had a strong respect for people who are willing to serve the country. Both of my grandfathers were in the military and my mother was a nurse for the Veterans Affairs. I had a few friends who worked at USARIEM who let me know when an opening was available to help develop a test to assess Soldier performance and prevent musculoskeletal injury (what eventually became the Occupational Physical Assessment Test). My graduate schoolwork focused on testing physical function and performance in older adults, so I thought it would be a great way apply my science skills to give back to Soldiers. So, I applied, and I've been here ever since.

What projects are you currently working on?

I recently finished up the ARIEM Reduction in Musculoskeletal Injury, which was a large field study to understand why trainees get hurt during Basic Combat Training. We're using that information to start two upcoming intervention studies: one by increasing sleep time and the other by changing how we do the physical training.

What aspects of your job do you love and find most gratifying?

I really enjoy my coworkers, but I think my favorite part of the job is when I get to see the science inform policy changes that will improve the lives of Soldiers.

What part of your job do you find to be the most difficult?

The hours can be long at times and doing all these field studies means I'm away from my family a lot. It's still only a small sacrifice compared to the time the Soldiers can spend away from their loved ones.

When you are not at the Institute, what do you like to do for fun?

Spend time with my wife and son. I like to do outdoor activities like walking through the woods, but also indulging the science geek in me and take them to a good museum.

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Last Modified Date: 3/16/2024