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  FEBRUARY 13, 2009
Loma Linda University SPH Walks Toward Better Health

Roughly 200 hundred individuals from Loma Linda University School of Public Health will each have a new daily companion for the next month—a pedometer. They have accepted a challenge from Dean David Dyjack of the School of Public Health to walk as many steps as they can from February 10 through March 10.

The three teams to walk the most steps, as well as the single individual who walks the farthest, will receive a prize.

"There are many health benefits associated with walking," said Dean Dyjack. "I would like to raise awareness around this issue, and hopefully some of us, including me, will elect to choose walking over motorized transportation as a permanent lifestyle choice."

Dean Dyjack plans to be stiff competition for everyone else in the school. On February 10, he began walking the one-mile route to work instead of driving.

School of Public Health director of marketing and recruitment Ms. Tricia Murdoch is one of the individuals participating in the challenge, noting that it will be an extra incentive for her to stay on her training schedule for May’s marathon in San Diego.

"I would like to start walking to places that are close by rather than instinctively getting in my car to drive," Ms. Murdoch said of the challenge. "I have no idea how much I am walking (or not walking) in a day. With the Dean’s Challenge, I will have a real idea of the amount of steps that I am taking each day."

The Dean’s Challenge is a new annual tradition that began in 2008 when Dean Dyjack asked for students, faculty and staff to follow his lead in eating a vegetarian diet for one month. About 50 recruits joined him. Since that challenge, Dean Dyjack’s diet has dramatically changed, with his meat consumption largely limited to sustainably harvested wild-caught seafood.

To learn more about Dean Dyjack’s challenge, visit his blog at