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Gregory Welk

Title: Professor / Barbara E. Forker Professor in Kinesiology
Department: Kinesiology

Office: 103e Forker 534 Wallace Rd., Ames, IA 50011
Phone number: +1 515 294 3583
Email: gwelk@iastate.edu

View resume/vita

Research interests

My research focuses on physical activity and health promotion. These interests collectively focus on how to more effectively assess and promote physical activity, physical fitness and health in the population. This work is coordinated through the Physical Activity and Health Promotion Lab that is in interdisciplinary lab supporting multiple faculty and students that share interests in physical activity and health promotion. The lab webpage (www.physicalactivitylab.org) provides details on various lines of ongoing work but some specific highlighted areas are summarized below:

Activity Monitors, Mobile Health and Behavioral Interventions:
My work on physical activity assessment has emphasized the use of accelerometry-based physical activity monitors (e.g. FitBit Monitors) that can both assess and promote physical activity levels in the population. Our lab has conduced numerous studies on the accuracy of these devices as well as on facilitated health coaching applications that can be used in community and clinical settings to promote behavior change. .

School-Based Activity Programming:
i conduct applied work aimed at learning how to effectively promote physical activity in schools so that youth develop healthy lifestyles early in life. I serve as the Scientific Director of the national FitnessGram program and coordinate several large school based initiatives in partnership with the Cooper Institute. I coordinate a participatory research network called the Iowa FITNESSGRAM Initiative (www.iowafitnessgram.org) that provides support and resources to central Iowa schools. I also coordinate the large state-wide initiative called SWITCH (School Wellness Integration Targeting Child Health) that works through ISU Extension to help schools adopt school activity programming (visit www.iowaswitch.org) for details on the program.

Community Engagement and Translational Research:
I have interest in broad community-based strategies that can promote or support health and physical activity on population levels. I coordinate a campus-wide hub called U-TuRN (University Translational Research Network - www.uturn.iastate.edu) that is aimed at building and testing models tthat promote population health. I lead a transdisciplinary project that supports local and state-wide programming for seniors called Walk with Ease. I also coordinate campus efforts focused on improving ways to promote more effective community engagement strategies.

Lists of papers and research links are available through Research Gate and Google Scholar. Additional detail on teaching and outreach efforts is at the end of the page.


Teaching Responsibilities

My teaching responsibilities in the undergraduate program have focused on the area of health promotion. I have been responsible for two major undergraduate courses in the health promotion area (HS 380: Worksite Health Promotion and HS 430: Community Health Program Planning). A unique aspect of both courses is that they involve coordinated service learning applications that allow students to apply content learned in class in real-world settings. I have created a supplemental course (KIN 391: Service Learning Leadership Experiences) for students interested in guided service learning experiences in worksite and community settings. I have also created a course (KIN 210: Concepts of Fitness and Wellness) to provide opportunities for non-majors to learn principles of healthy living. In the graduate program, I teach KIN 570 (Physical Activity Assessments for Health Related Research) to provide graduate students with opportunities to learn how to collect, process and interpret physical activity data.


Service Activities

I am actively involved in campus and community programming focused on the promotion of healthy lifestyles. Details on the primary programming outlets are summarized below:

  • ExerCYse: The ExerCYse group is focused on advancing the national Exercise is Medicine initiative (www.exerciseismedicine.org). The programming is led by a dedicated team of graduate and undergraduate students. Visit www.ExerCYse.org for details.
  • Wellness Works: The Wellness Works team is an outreach group focused on promoting physical activity and fitness in worksite wellness programs. Visit www.wellnessworks.iastate.edu for details.
  • Community Campus Partnership for Health (CCPH): The CCPH group is an outreach group serving various community health groups. Visit www.ccph.iastate.edu for details.

In addition to these roles, I am a fellow of the National Academy of Kinesiology, the American College of Sports Medicine and the Society for Health and Physical Education (SHAPE) - formerly AAHPERD.

Professional Outlets

An important part of my professional work focuses on developing educational resources for fitness and wellness education. I serve as the Scientific Director of the FITNESSGRAM Youth Fitness program and help to ensure that the assessments and standards used in the program are sound and appropriate for use in the program (See www.fitnessgram.net for details on the program). I am also a co-author of a series of books on fitness and wellness (Concepts of Physical Fitness and Concepts of Fitness and Wellness published by McGraw Hill. These book are widely used in fitness and wellness instruction in higher education.