Doctoral student wins award at annual meeting

December 30, 2010 | Research, UToday
By Sarah Ritenour

Phil Welch, a fourth-year doctoral student in the Health Education Program at The University of Toledo, was recognized recently for his work studying performance-enhancing supplements.

Welch received a Student Poster Showcase Award from the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs (ATOD) Section of the American Public Health Association at the organization’s 138th annual meeting in November.

“The Student Poster Showcase Awards are intended to recognize and celebrate the work of outstanding students who are pursuing careers in the ATOD field,” said Ann Mahony, chair of the ATOD Section. “The awards also acknowledge the diverse subject topics in our field that include advocacy, education, policy, prevention, research and treatment.”

Welch’s poster, “Perceptions and Policies of College Directors of Recreation Regarding the Use of Dietary Supplements and Performance-Enhancing Substances,” was one of three posters recognized with the award.

“I never expected the award committee to select my study for recognition; I was quite surprised and honored,” Welch said. “The thing I was most pleased about was having the support of my fellow UT students and faculty members at the table with me. UT had a strong showing at the conference.”

Welch said he chose to investigate the topic of university policies surrounding college student use of dietary supplements and performance-enhancing substances after overhearing two students in the men’s locker room at the UT Student Recreation Center discussing the benefits of taking steroids.

He is working on conducting a study asking college students directly about their perceptions to see if students recognize the potential dangers of ingesting dietary supplements.

Nearly 11 percent of college recreation facilities sell dietary supplements; these include energy drinks and protein shakes, Welch said.

“I feel that student use of performance-enhancing substances and dietary supplements is an underappreciated and underreported problem that requires more research,” he said.

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