Anti-doping can be a confusing and technical world, particularly as athletes try to navigate the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List and Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs). That’s why USADA retains a Drug Reference Team responsible for answering questions on substances, methods, and TUEs from athletes, coaches, healthcare providers, and other support personnel.
Here, you can get to know the team members helping athletes compete clean every day.
Amy Eichner, PhD, Special Advisor on Drug Reference and Supplements
I first joined USADA in 2009 as a contractor and became an employee in 2010. And I’ve never looked back! But in my previous life, I studied the retina: the original analogue to digital converter in the visual system. I enjoy the study of neuroscience immensely…it’s like figuring out the most complex device ever, but without a help desk. During those studies, I earned my undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota and completed graduate studies at the Australian National University.
At USADA, I can put my love of science and medicine to work to help athletes compete clean. Clean sport is especially important to me because I want my own kids to be able to win or lose fair and square. I don’t want them to be in a position where they have to put their health in danger just to play a sport in high school…sport should belong to everyone.
While I didn’t compete in high-level sports in high school, I was always involved in tennis, cycle races, or triathlons, and now, I’m lucky enough to be a part-time horse trainer. I think sport is essential for physical and mental health, so in my job at USADA, I try to never lose sight of the detrimental health impacts of doping.
Richard Mohr, Drug Reference Operations Manager
Before joining USADA, I earned a BS in agriculture, consumer, and environmental sciences at the University of Illinois and an MS in sports medicine and health sciences at Armstrong Atlantic State University. I also spent nearly 25 years in the military working in various fun and exciting places, which has really given me an appreciation for all that we have here in the United States.
I’ve always been a big sports fan and some of my favorite moments in sport were watching the U.S. Women’s National Team win the Soccer World Cup in 1991, 1999, and 2015! I also love watching Ironman events, the Olympics, and the Tour de France, as well as coaching youth track and cross-country.
Clean sport is important to me because I have a young daughter who is an athlete and I want to ensure there is a level playing field for her and all the other athletes who dedicate themselves to the pursuit of excellence in sport. I’ve now been with USADA for almost three years and I believe it’s an organization that values hard work, character, and courage in the face of adversity.
I also try to apply my experience competing in triathlon at every level, from sprint distance to Ironman, to better help the athletes we serve when it comes to medications and the TUE process.
Ben Wheeler, TUE and Drug Reference Program Lead
I’m from Auburn, Nebraska, and I’ve been involved in sports for most of my life. I started wrestling at a very young age and stuck with it for 14 years. I also competed in other organized sports through high school and believe that sports have had a very meaningful impact in my life. Before moving to Colorado, I went to the University of Nebraska, where I earned my undergraduate degree in biology and a graduate degree in business with a specialization in sports administration.
Between my love of sport and my background in science, USADA was the perfect fit and I try to use my experience in sport to effectively relate to the athletes we work with. Being an athlete can be hard, so we want to make sure we are a resource for them and as helpful as possible.
In my free time, I love watching movies, hiking, and playing sports. I also watch a lot of sports, including college sports and MMA, as well as Olympic wrestling and volleyball. To this day, my favorite Olympic moment was watching Michael Phelps win the 100m butterfly by a split second in 2008.