The mission of the Institute for Scholastic Sports Science and Medicine is to create educational opportunities by promoting sports science and related research that benefits the community, improves athletic care, and enhances athletic performance.

The Institute of Scholastic Sports Science and Medicine was founded to address the need to study young athletes and the opportunity to facilitate those studies while creating educational opportunities that will immediately benefit our students and contribute to their care.

Historically, the care of adolescent athletes has been based largely on research involving older athletes, which may not take into account significant developmental differences between these two groups. At the same time, Harvard-Westlake has long sought to offer real-world research opportunities to its students, but the fact that the local research community centers around universities and teaching hospitals some distance from campus has made this challenging.

ISSSM brings real-world research opportunities directly to our students. Students are co-researchers as well as research subjects, and the research can then be incorporated into our curriculum.

We view ISSSM as an opportunity to further our institutional objective of bringing the academic and athletic domains at school into closer harmony. Almost two-thirds of our students participate in interscholastic athletics.  Why not use athletics to generate interest in the STEM disciplines and vice versa?

To make this possible, we have created an institutional review panel to facilitate this type of research as well as student-initiated human-subject research and ensure that it is safe, appropriate, and protective of student privacy and confidentiality. This panel, chaired by the head of school, lets us address all of the questions that arise in this type of research and provides standards to be applied in evaluating and conducting such research.

We believe this is the first institutional review panel created at the secondary school level and that the ISSSM program also is the first of its kind. We hope that both provide models for real-world, campus-based, secondary-school research that will benefit our immediate school community and the community at large.

Learn more about the institutional review panel >