Virginia Tech’s Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise named Jared D. Canfield of Roanoke, Va., the recipient of the inaugural Philips Honor Award for Academic Excellence.

Canfield was awarded a HeartStart OnSite Defibrillator from Philips Medical Systems to use in his future career in the health and fitness field. The defibrillator will assist in his efforts in promoting exercise safety. This is the first award of its kind to be presented to a student anywhere in the United States.

Canfield, a senior majoring in human nutrition, foods and exercise in Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, received the award for his academic achievement, clinical competence, counseling of adult health-fitness clients, and leadership in promoting emergency preparedness in fitness programs. He is a student educator and has served as a student intern for Virginia Tech’s health promotion team, and has served as a cardiac rehabilitation intern for the VIA TECH Health & Wellness Program, managed jointly by Virginia Tech’s Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise and the Via Osteopathic Medical College.

Other finalists for the award were Jeremiah P. Davis, of Eliot, Maine, and Lindsay E. Zahra, of Great Falls, Va.

Finalists for the Philips Honor Award submitted an essay describing how they would use an automated external defibrillator to enhance safety in physical activity environments of the community where they will live after graduation.

Canfield stated in his application: “As a certified responder, if I had a Philips HeartStart Automated External Defibrillator I would feel confident to assist in a sudden cardiac arrest. Having this product in my future health-fitness facility would reassure participants of a safe exercise environment. Promoting certification to employees and educating participants of automated external defibrillators serves as a monumental step to saving a life.”

“Leading authorities in sports medicine and the health and fitness field are now encouraging that automated external defibrillators be made immediately available as part of emergency response capabilities for health clubs,” said William G. Herbert, professor of human nutrition, foods and exercise, and director of the Lab for Health and Exercise Science. "This honor award brings Philips and Virginia Tech together in recognition of academic excellence and alerts the public that we can and should make the physical activity environment safer for everyone."

According to the American Heart Association, about 340,000 people a year die of coronary heart disease without being hospitalized or admitted to an emergency room. Brain death and permanent death start to occur in just four to six minutes after someone experiences sudden cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest is reversible in most victims if it's treated within a few minutes with an electric shock to the heart to restore a normal heartbeat. This process is called defibrillation. A victim's chances of survival are reduced by 7 to 10 percent with every minute that passes without defibrillation.

The American Heart Association recommends that AEDs be available wherever large numbers of people congregate such as airports, convention centers, sports stadiums and arenas, large industrial buildings, high-rise offices, and large health fitness facilities.

HNFE students train for careers in the health-fitness and exercise rehabilitation fields, learning to plan and supervise exercise programs for adults seeking to improve their function, vitality, health habits, and reduce risks for chronic diseases.

Philips Medical Systems is a global leader in the medical device industry and offers a full range of defibrillators among its products, from easy-to-use automated defibrillators used in the home and community to sophisticated monitor/defibrillator systems used by healthcare professionals, each tailored to the needs, training and skill of a particular type of user from home to hospital.