Michael Perko, Ph.D., MCHES, FAAHE
A.A. Liberal Arts, Keystone Jr. College
B.S. Health and Physical Education, East Stroudsburg University
M.S. Community Health Education, East Stroudsburg University
Ph.D. Health Education and Promotion, The University of Alabama
I am currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health Education and I got my start in worksite wellness the old fashioned way; by playing Vince, one of the crash test dummies during 3:00am shift work presentations for Alabama Power's Good Health Makes Sense Program. As Associate Director of that program, I helped meet the needs of 16,000 employees, spouses, and retiree's of both Alabama and Gulf Power Companies. In 1995 the Good Health Makes Sense Program program was recognized with the National Health and Human Secretary's Award as one of the top 10 programs in America. I have also hosted the only known live television show on worksite wellness for 4 years. Later, as Chair of the Department of Health Science at the University of Alabama, I led the university's successful nationwide search for the first ever Director of Health Promotion and Wellness. My current research efforts focus on how companies can create better work environments for employees to engage in physical activity, not to be confused with exercise. As part of this research I have interviewed some of the leaders in this area including Dr. Steven Blair, Dr. Tyler Cooper of the Cooper Clinic and the legend himself, Jack LaLanne.
I work with companies across the country and have been invited to speak on health promotion and disease prevention initiatives at many national forums including the Institute for Organizational Management, the U.S. National Chamber of Commerce Executive Training Seminar, and the Johns Hopkins University Graduate School of Public Health. I have been invited numerous times to Capitol Hill to advocate to congressional leaders for healthier schools and greater access for kids to become physically fit. I also served on WELCOA's Medical Advisory Board and over five years wrote 125 articles on health and fitness for WELCOA's Well Workplace Newsletter.Sports Performance Enhancers and Athletes
My other research area focuses on young athletes and their use of sport performance products. I take a health behavior and educational approach rather than clinical approach. While many researchers focus on the testing of a particular sports performance enhancer (Creatine, NO2, HMB), I insist a crucial factor is the process of decision-making towards taking these products, and the influences that help athletes make good decisions (physicians, athletic trainers) or poor decisions (Media, dietary supplement industry) towards use.
My overriding philosophy is that sports products come and go, but the process stays the same. I have authored the books "Taking One for the Team: The New Thinking on Dietary Supplements and Young Athletes" and "Can You Win Without Supplements?" Both of these books focus on the unregulated dietary supplement industry and the potential health risks faced by vulnerable young athletes.
I have testified at Senate hearings, served as an NCAA Expert Speaker, appeared on ESPN's "Outside the Lines" and been quoted numerous times in Sports Illustrated, the NY Times and many other media outlets on my research in this area. In 2008 I was named the nation's Health Educator of the Year and has been recognized by 3 universities as their outstanding alumnus; prior to that I was named Health Educator of the Year in North Carolina and also received the Chancellor's Teaching Award from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. I have authored 6 books including 3 childrens book , 48 articles in professional journals and have 90 peer-reviewed presentations, I have been quoted in both the New York and Los Angeles Times, and has appeared in Sports Illustrated and ESPN's "Outside the Lines" to join in on the national debate on the health effects of performance enhancers on athletes.
- Working with Wake Forest Medical faculty to improve communication among pediatricians and young patients about performance enhancer use
- Co-authored a 40 hour certificate program with the National Wellness Institute (NWI) for medical clinicians to be certified in worksite wellness
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