BYU professor wins national award for health column


    By Natalie Kilgore

    A BYU professor of health science has won a national award for the series of columns he writes in the Deseret News.

    Alton Thygerson, who has taught at BYU since 1967, received the 2000 National Health Information Merit Award from the Health Information Resource Center.

    Thygerson won the award for his weekly “Safe Life” column in the Deseret News.

    Among the almost 1,000 entries the HIRC received, Thygerson said his injury prevention column was unique because no one else writes that kind of column.

    “People like injury prevention articles because they are interesting to read about,” Thygerson said. “From ages one to 38 the number one cause of deaths is injuries. This means the most productive years of a person’s life are lost,” he said.

    Thygerson’s class lectures often include material he uses in his columns, which his students said make his classes interesting.

    Katie Garner, 23, a senior from North Ogden, Weber County majoring in community health, said Thygerson knows has a lot of knowledge on the subject.

    “He’s so intelligent, I think due to all the research he’s done,” she said “He makes me want to go home after class and implement all the things he’s taught”.

    Tallia Lewis, 21, a senior from Kennewick, WA, majoring in community health education said Thygerson makes sure the class understands his material.

    “He wants us to learn and he makes sure he goes over everything,” she said.

    Lewis said since Thygerson writes for the National Safety Council, he has all the up-to-date information and he shares it with his classes.

    Thygerson said he began publishing his column for the Deseret News in 1978 and has now written over 11,000 columns.

    In addition to his columns, Thygerson has also written over 40 books.

    Both Oprah Winfrey and William Shatner have endorsed his books, Thygerson said.

    Winfrey devoted an entire program to health guidebooks and at the end of her program recommended Thygerson’s book to her viewers, he said.

    Shatner, who works closely with the NSC, called Thygerson’s “First Aid Handbook” the “best book on the market today”.

    Richard Salazar, an assistant professor in the health science department has taught with Thygerson for the past 20 years.

    He described Thygerson as a hard worker. He spends long hours preparing for his books and his classes, he said.

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