Michael Perko, Ph.D., MCHES, FAAHE

Promoting Health, Engaging Communities, Changing Lives

Michael Perko, Ph.D., MCHES, FAAHE



Ph.D. Health Education and Promotion, The University of Alabama
M.S. Community Health Education, East Stroudsburg University
B.S. Health and Physical Education, East Stroudsburg University
A.A. Liberal Arts, Keystone Jr. College

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

Worksite Health Promotion

My research interests include worksite health promotion and helping companies understand the benefits of having healthy employees. From 1992-1997 I worked with Alabama Power’s Good Health Makes Sense Program helping to develop and deliver wellness programs to 10,000 employees, spouses and retirees. In 1995 the Good Health Makes Sense Program was recognized with the National Health and Human Secretary’s Award as one of the top 10 programs in America. My current work with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) involves serving as a wellness advisor; over the past 15 years I have trained over 2000 of their employees in using best practices in worksite health and helped them institute initiatives such as their EAT Smart and MOVE Smart programs – these programs reach over 170,000 rural members across the country.

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.  In 1996 I developed the Survey to Predict Adolescent Athlete Dietary Supplement Use (SPADDSU) which has been used by researchers all over the world.   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.  Since 1996 I have published and presented in these area over 30 times, most recently at the 2013 Female Athletes and Injury: Prevention, Treatment and Recovery Conference talking about Sports Supplements and Females Athletes: Reality, Risks and Recommendations.

Current projects:

I am currently working with doctoral student Adam Hege on research involving long haul truck drivers and work organization indicators on sleep and obesity risk factors. As well, I am interested in analyzing large datasets to 1) see if worksite wellness programs have had an impact on health costs and disease reduction and health promotion among a rural population, and 2) discover what factors most affect companies healthcare costs and employee culture among national worksites.

Courses Taught

I have served as Graduate Program Director for both the MPH and DrPH programs, and have taught courses in both the undergraduate and graduate programs.  Courses I have taught and developed include:

  • HEA 308  Introduction to Public Health
  • HEA 339  Introduction to Public Health Education
  • HEA 341  Health Pedagogy-Elementary School Teachers
  • HEA 490  Seminar in Health
  • HEA 601  Principles of Community Health Education
  • HEA 616  Worksite Health Promotion

Honors and Awards

UNCG/HHP Teaching Excellence Award
National Health Educator of the Year: Administration – AAHE
Health Educator of the Year: Administration – SDAAHPERD
Graduate – University of Alabama Leadership Academy
Fellow – American Association for Health Education
UNCW Chancellor’s Teaching Award.
Jack W. Davis Alumni Award, University of Alabama.
Keystonian of the Year, Alumni Award, Keystone College, Pa.
Young Alumni Achievement Award, East Stroudsburg University
Nathan Taylor Dodson Award (SDAAHPERD)
APHA Early Career Award – American Public Health Association
AAHE Doctoral Scholar Award
Outstanding Graduate Student, Health Studies Department, UA