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Redefining Health and Wellness


Too many times, ‘being healthy’ is perceived as restrictive and boring rather than a positive set of behaviors that enhance quality of life. Take Mark Twain for example, who said “The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.” In this course we will challenge that way of thinking: What can we do to make healthful choices easy and enjoyable? Looking at health and wellness in a broad sense, we will explore the seven dimensions of health: social, emotional, spiritual, environmental, occupational, intellectual, and physical.

We begin by examining each of the dimensions of health and how they are defined and valued by individuals and communities. Participants will be challenged to think about how to keep individuals and populations healthy given current national health care costs and the effects of diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases. We will think about how health habits are learned, and explore the broad influences on individual and community health such as families, peers/colleagues, schools, workplaces, healthcare facilities, advertising and government policies by hearing from a variety of expert health professionals from the university’s College of Health, School of Medicine and others across campus engaged in health and wellness activities. Presenters will include individuals who approach health and wellness from many angles including nutrition, obesity prevention, exercise, recreation, body image, mental health, cross-cultural health, transportation, economics, health disparities, occupation and disability.

The second half of the course will focus on student projects and impact. Students will be encouraged to develop and write a “wellness manifesto” to guide their health habits throughout life. Group projects that aim to create meaningful outcomes in the community will complete the course, and may include new programs to provide healthful foods across campus, innovative methods for teaching health and wellness K-12, ways to improve the use of public transportation, creative ideas for making workplaces more healthful, innovative uses of technology to promote health and more.

This Praxis Lab is sponsored by Kaiser Permanente.

Course and faculty operate independently and outcomes are not influenced by corporate sponsorship. Please contact Emily Wallis at for more details on corporate funding.

Thursdays | 2 – 5 pm | MHC 1206A

UNEWS Press Release


Julie Metos, PhD, RD, Nutrition
Julie is the Interim Chairperson and Assistant Professor in the Division of Nutrition at the University of Utah. She completed her undergraduate work at University of Utah with a BFA in Ballet and a BS in Food and Nutrition. Dr. Metos completed the Master of Public Health and Dietetic Internship program at the University of California-Berkeley and her PhD in Public Health was completed at the University of Utah through the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. Julie’s career includes public health and clinical nutrition management positions. She has worked for the Women’s Infant and Children Program (WIC) in California and Utah. Prior to joining the faculty in the Division of Nutrition, Dr. Metos led the Clinical Nutrition Department at Primary Children’s Hospital. She is a state and national leader in pediatric obesity prevention in schools and the community. Her research focuses broadly on nutrition and chronic disease prevention and treatment. Most recently, her work examines the influence of school nutrition and physical education policies and practices on adolescent obesity using population data from the Utah Population Database. Dr. Metos teaches graduate level nutrition classes and is a mentor for student research. Julie’s colleagues describe her as an “action-oriented leader.” She is passionate about students and they report that she trains them to “change the world through food and nutrition.” Outside of work, Julie likes to ride her pink mountain bike, ski, travel with her husband and teenagers and read everything in sight, including cookbooks.

Nicole Mihalopoulous, MD, MPH, Pediatrics
Dr. Mihalopoulos is an adolescent medicine physician and associate professor of Pediatrics at the University of Utah. She also holds adjunct professorships in Nutrition and Internal Medicine. She received her BS in Exercise Physiology from the U of U and MD from Tulane University. She stayed at Tulane to complete training in Internal Medicine/Preventive Medicine and a Masters in Public Health. At the University of Rochester she completed a fellowship in Adolescent Medicine/Preventive Cardiology. She is currently funded by a 5-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to study changes in weight and heart disease risk factors in adolescents and young adults. When she is not doing research, she spends the remaining time evaluating and treating tweens and teens in the Consultative Adolescent Medicine Clinic, serving as the medical director for Juvenile Justice Services in Salt Lake County, and teaching medical students, physician assistant students and pediatrics residents. For fun she enjoys mountain biking, downhill skiing, international travel and culinary adventures.

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