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Skidmore College
Health and Human Physiological Sciences

Denise L. Smith

Tisch Distinguished Professor

Professor for Health and Human Physiological Sciences Department

Director First Responder Health and Safety Laboratory

Phone: 518-580-5389DLS
Fax:  518-580-8356
Location:  Sports and Recreation Center Office 241


  • Ph.D. University of Illinois, 1990
  • M.S. University of Illinois, 1985
  • M.S. University of Illinois, 1985

Areas of Specialization:

  • Exercise Physiology
  • Occupational Physiology
  • Heat Stress
  • Cardiovascular Health

Classes Taught:

  • HP 111 Introduction to Exercise Physiology
  • HP 126/127 Human Anatomy and Physiology I/II
  • HP 241 Exercise Testing and Prescription
  • HP 299 Internships
  • HP 311 Advanced Exercise Physiology
  • HP 355 Research Design
  • HP 371 Independent Study
  • HP 375 Senior Research

Books Published:

  • Exercise Physiology: for Health, Fitness, and Performance. Fifth edition. Benjamin Cummings, 2017.
  • Advanced Cardiovascular Exercise Physiology. Human Kinetics, 2011.

Current Research Interests:

Professor Smith's primary area of research is cardiovascular health, with a specific focus on the relationship between heat stress and cardiovascular function. A significant portion of her research focuses on the cardiovascular strain associated with firefighting activity. She has led several government-funded studies to investigate strategies to minimize the physiological strain associated with firefighting. Professor Smith has also conducted several laboratory studies designed to identify specific components of firefighting activity (work performed, heat stress, sympathetic nervous stimulation) that are responsible for specific physiological responses to the combined stress of firefighting. Professor Smith has coauthored several textbooks and has published over 60 scientific papers, primarily on firefighter cardiovascular health. She has been awarded more than 15 million dollars in research funding, with awards from FEMA-AFG, DHS S&T, NIOSH, and DoD.

Recent Publications:

Kales, S.N., Smith, D.L. (2017). Firefighting and the heart: Implications for prevention. Circulation. 135(14):1296-1299 (editorial).

Ives, S.J., Lefferts, W.K., Wharton, M., Fehling, P.C., Smith, D.L. (2016). Exercise-induced heat stress disrupts the shear-dilatory relationship. Experimental Physiology. 101(12):1541-1551.

Korre, M., Porto, L.G.G., Farioli, A., Yang, J., Christiani, D.C., Christophi, C.A., Lombardi, D.A., Kovacs, R.J., Mastouri, R., Abbasi, S., Steigner, M., Moffat, S., Smith, D., Kales, S.N.  2016). Effect of body mass index on left ventricular mass in career male firefighters. American Journal of Cardiology. 118(11):1769-1773.

Korre, M., Sampani, K., Porto, L., Farioli, A., Christiani, D.C., Christophi, C.A., Lombardi, D.A., Smith, D.L., Kales, S.N. (2016). Cardiac enlargement in US firefighters: Prevalence estimates by echocardiography, cardiac magnetic resonance and autopsies. Journal of Clinical & Experimental Cardiology. 7:459. DOI: 10.4172/2155-9880.1000459.

Ensari, I., Motl, R.W., Klaren, R.E., Fernhall, B., Smith, D.L., Horn, G.P. (2016). Firefighter exercise protocols conducted in an environmental chamber: developing a laboratory based simulated firefighting protocol. Ergonomics. Jul 12 [Epub ahead of print].

Smith, D.L., Horn, G.P., Woods, J., Ploutz-Snyder, R., Fernhall, B. (2016). Effect of aspirin supplementation on hemostatic responses in firefighters aged 40 to 60 years. American Journal of Cardiology. 118(2):275-280.

Smith, D.L., DeBlois, J.P., Kales, S.N., Horn, G.P. (2016). Cardiovascular strain of firefighting and the risk of sudden cardiac events. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews. 44(3):90-97.

Barr, D., Haigh, C.A., Haller J., Smith, D.L. (2016). Medical monitoring during firefighter incident scene rehabilitation. Prehospital Emergency Care. 20(4):467-476.

Smith, D.L., Haller, J.M., Benedict, R., Moore-Merrell, L. (2016). Firefighter incident rehabilitation: interpreting heart rate responses. Prehospital Emergency Care. 20(1):28-36.


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