Tag Archives: medicine

BYU “Levels Up” in Exercise is Medicine Program

Neil Peterson

Dr. Neil Peterson is excited to continue working toward a healthier BYU community.

By Corbin Smith

Click the link to see what Dr. Peterson and his team did last year to achieve the bronze level campus recognition!


For some, it may be easy to believe that BYU’s only focus is the spiritual well-being of our community. Assistant professor Dr. Neil Peterson is dedicated to showing that BYU is also very committed to the physical well-being of the campus.

In 2017, BYU was awarded a bronze level campus recognition from the American College of Sports Medicine after the success of the Pokéthon 3K run/walk event Dr. Peterson spearheaded in October 2016. This year, thanks to the hard work of Dr. Peterson and many others, BYU was recognized again, receiving a silver level campus recognition.

The Exercise is Medicine On-Campus program is unique in that they require a university to do different things to receive the various levels of recognition. For example, a bronze recognition requires a campus to have an event to raise awareness for physical health, like BYU did with the Pokéthon run/walk. To reach a silver level recognition, the university must implement a program to educate its community on the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle. BYU was one of the 56 universities in the nation to receive the silver recognition in 2019.

To educate the community on physical health, BYU started with its students. In the undergraduate program, Associate teaching professor Gaye Ray instructs her students about the importance of physical activity as well as how to measure it in their patients during her physical assessment class. Dr. Peterson also teaches this on the graduate level. All is in an effort to prepare students to help future patients improve exercise and health habits.

group pic

Dr. Peterson and his team had another successful event in October 2018: The Super Hero Fun Walk. Photo courtesy of Peterson.

The BYU Wellness Program has also done a lot to help BYU receive a silver level recognition this year. “BYU wellness has monthly wellness talks and activities. They provide resources to the community for people to participate and teach everyone how to be active in their lives,” says Dr. Peterson. Visit wellness.byu.edu to check out some of their resources and find info for later events!

In the future, Dr. Peterson has plans to work with the Student Heath Center on campus to work toward the gold level recognition, the level received when a system to measure physical activity is put into place.

It is not hard turn those bad habits into healthy ones. “We just have to do these little things to make our lives a little bit better,” says Peterson.

Below are five of those simple tips that Dr. Peterson recommends for healthier living!


5 Pro Tips to a Healthier Lifestyle at Work

  1. Take Short, Mental Breaks Each Hour.

To be able to maximize your ability to focus, you need to give your brain some time to rest. You work hard and you have people to help, but taking 3-5 minutes to relax and give yourself a short break will make a huge difference in your productivity.

  1. Take the Stairs!

To live a healthier lifestyle, it is important that you get your heart rate up occasionally. Taking the stairs is the perfect way to get your heart pumping and your body moving. You’ll feel better and be getting a little bit of exercise in!

  1. Get a Workout App

Need a constant reminder to get active? Downloading an app that suggests short workouts is the answer. Some apps even help you monitor your diet and set health goals. Dr. Peterson uses “Streaks Workouts” to keep not just himself but also his students to stay active during class!

  1. Go Outside Every Few Hours

Being inside all day can take a toll on your eyes. “When you go outside your eyes can focus on something in the distance, like the mountains. That allows for your eye muscles relax and go straight,” says Peterson. Get headaches frequently? This could be your solution!

  1. Do Some Work Standing Up

Not only can working standing up help reduce back pain, but you also burn an average of 1000 more calories a week by standing instead of sitting! Even if you can’t get a standing desk, standing up every once in a while will still make a positive impact on your health.



New Display: Medicine During the Restoration


Fourth floor display in the Kimball Tower. Photo by employee Quincey Taylor.

By Mindy Longhurst

Have you ever wondered how the medicine of the timeperiod affected the Restoration and the beginnings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Third-semester nursing student Savannah Williams studied this topic last fall for a semester-long project for her Foundations of the Restoration class. The assignment was to spend at least 12 hours working on a project that related to the topics that were discussed in the course. The class focused on the First Vision, the translation of the Book of Mormon and ended with the settling of Salt Lake City. Williams felt like she should study something she was passionate about, so naturally, she decided to study how the medicine of the period affected the Restoration.

In her project, which she spent well over 12 hours completing, Williams focused on three major historical events where the medicine of the day impacted the Restoration. Her first focus of the study was the experience of Joseph Smith’s leg operation when he was a young boy. Joseph Smith had typhoid fever which caused an infection inside his leg called osteomyelitis. Dr. Nathan Smith, one of the most educated doctors in the United States, was the only doctor in the United States that could perform Joseph Smith’s leg operation correctly. Dr. Smith happened to live close enough to the Smith’s to perform the surgery. Dr. Nathan Smith was well beyond his time when it came to medical procedures, especially this leg operation.

Before the surgery, Joseph Smith Jr. is quoted saying, “I will do whatever is necessary to be done to have the bone taken out… The Lord will help me; I shall get through.” The faith of the young boy was evident. An Ensign article from June 2013 explains the impact of this surgery on the Restoration, “Joseph’s childhood surgery helped to make it possible for him to participate in the Restoration of the gospel physically. While we often think of the work of the Restoration as a spiritual work, it also required strenuous physical effort from the Prophet Joseph Smith. He walked, marched, ran, and rode on horseback to lead the work. He hefted and hid the plates, eluded enemies, and led a growing Church from New York to Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. He led Zion’s Camp, endured imprisonment, drained swamps, constructed temples, and built cities.” (“Joseph Smith’s Boyhood Surgery” Vivian M. Adams)

Williams’ next focus was on the surroundings of the death of Alvin, Joseph’s eldest brother. Alvin Smith was sick with intestinal problems. Their town’s physician was away, so a neighboring town’s inexperienced physician came to the Smith home. Alvin was given calomel, a toxic salt of mercury used as a cathartic. Unfortunately, he died four days after receiving the calomel. Alvin’s last words to Joseph were about doing everything in his power to obtain the record, which is the Book of Mormon.

The third area of William’s focus was on malaria. Malaria was a huge concern during the Saints’ time in Nauvoo. Nauvoo was swampland, which meant there were lots of mosquitoes, especially those carrying the malaria disease. The disease is typically manifested by severe recurrent chills and fever, often with jaundice, sweating, and fatigue. Even the prophet Joseph Smith was hit with the disease. An account from Brigham Young’s journal explains the miraculous healings that took place. His journal reads, “July 22, 1839.—Joseph arose from his bed of sickness, and the power of God rested upon him. He commenced in his own house and door-yard, commanding the sick, in the name of Jesus Christ, to arise and be made whole, and they were healed according to his word. He then continued to travel from house to house from tent to tent upon the bank of the river, healing the sick as he went until he arrived at the upper stonehouse, where he crossed the river in a boat, accompanied by several of the Quorum of the Twelve, and landed in Montrose.”

When talking to Williams about her studying the medical perspective of the Restoration, she explains how much of an impact it truly had on the events that led to the establishment of The Church of Jesus Christ again on the earth. Her testimony of God’s work was strengthened. She explains, “I was worried about how spiritual the project would be. But as I researched more about Nathan Smith, Alvin and the things in Nauvoo it showed me how God really is involved in so many ways in our lives. He really did lead the Restoration.”

You can see Williams’ display on the fourth floor of the Kimball Tower by the elevators.

Health tips for travelers


Here at the College of Nursing, we frequently travel around the world for clinical experience, so If you’re planning on visiting any developing countries this summer, such as Brazil for the World Cup, take a look at our health tips.brazil
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