Maple Tree University


We have developed this university partnership program in response to a growing demand for a workforce that is appropriately trained and certified to meet the unique needs of a cancer survivor through exercise. With more than 17 million cancer survivors living today, the need for these qualified individuals is great. Therefore, partnerships with universities such as yours will allow us to meet this demand, while providing an opportunity for your four-year institution to distinguish yourselves from others with a distinct program of excellence.

Our University program offers you a fully-developed class to integrate into your existing curriculum. This class is designed to last one semester. A pre-requesit for this class is successful completion (grade of C or better) of an undergraduate Exercise Physiology (or equivalent) course.

The first 4 weeks of this class involves a comprehensive online training program, complete with a downloadable book and seven training modules for the students to navigate. In these modules, students will be educated on the pathophysiology of cancer, physiology of exercise, physiological effects of exercise on cancer, and trainings on conducting a safe fitness assessment, exercise prescription, and exercise programming. Downloadable educational materials area also included to maximize their learning experience. Finally, assignments are included to deepen understanding of the materials.

The lecture portion of this class will conclude with the option to take our nationally recognized Exercise Oncology Instructor certification, which is accredited through NASM.

The final 12-weeks of this class involve a practical component, whereby students develop, plan, and execute individualized exercise training on actual cancer patients. Partnerships are established with area hospitals to create a patient referral system for this portion of the class. Supervision by an on-site faculty member is warranted.

Week 1

Introduction and Pathophysiology of Cancer

  • Incidence and Mortality
  • Risk Factors for Cancer
  • Cancer Physiology
  • Signs and Symptoms of Cancer
  • Cancer Staging
  • Common Forms of Cancer
  • Cancer Treatments
  • Common Side Effects of Cancer Treatments

Week 2

Physiology of Exercise

  • What is Exercise Oncology?
  • Exercise Oncology Considerations
  • Metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Physiology
  • Muscular Physiology
  • Fitness Assessments
  • Exercise Programming
Physiological Effects of Exercise on Cancer

  • General Benefits of Exercise
  • Effects of Exercise on Cancer Treatment-Related Side Effects
  • Components of an Exercise Program

    • Fitness Assessment
    • Exercise Prescription
    • Exercise Programming
Research Overview of Improved Patient Outcome

Week 3

Training: Fitness Assessment
Training: Exercise Prescription

Week 4

Training: Exercise Programming

  • Aerobic and anaerobic exercise benefits for cancer patients
  • Cardiovascular activities
  • Muscular strength and endurance activities
  • Flexibility and range of motion activities
  • Data Management
  • Exercise Modifications/Safety Issues
Exercise Oncology Instructor Certification Exam

Week 5-15

Practical Exercise Component


Maple Tree Cancer Alliance is a 501(c)(3) organization committed to improving the quality of lives of individuals who battle cancer through individualized exercise training, nutritional education, and emotional support.

Our vision is that exercise would serve as part of the standard of care in cancer recovery. The role of exercise in relieving cancer treatment-related side effects is strongly supported in the literature. More than two decades of research indicates that the combination of aerobic exercise and strength training improves the quality of life and overall physical fitness for cancer survivors. However, at present, less than 5% of patients exercise during cancer recovery. As such, we have developed strategic partnerships with hospitals, community centers, and universities around the world to promote exercise during cancer care.

Karen Wonders, Ph.D., FACSM is the Founder and Executive Director of Maple Tree Cancer Alliance, a national non-profit organization that provides free individualized exercise training to individuals who battle cancer. Her passion is to advocate for exercise to serve as part of the national standard of care for cancer. To this end, Dr. Wonders is committed to training a work force that is equipped to meet the unique needs of the 17 million cancer survivors living in the US through exercise.

In addition to her work at Maple Tree, Dr. Wonders works as a Professor of Exercise Physiology at Wright State University, where she also serves as the Program Director for the Sports Science Program. Her commitment to evidence-based practice has led her to develop a robust research program, with more than 70 peer-reviewed publications on the topic of exercise and cancer recovery. A gifted communicator, Dr. Wonders has given numerous professional presentations on the national, state, and local levels, including a TEDx talk entitled “Exercising through Cancer Care”.


For more information about becoming a Maple Tree University Partner,
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