Get Healthy Utah News and Blog

May 31st 2024

Alysia Ducuara Alysia Ducuara is the Executive Director for Get Healthy Utah. Springtime means conference and event season at Get Healthy Utah! From visiting with our parks and recreation champion...

April 30th 2024

Trilby Cox Trilby Cox is Co-Executive Director for Bike Utah, a Utah-based nonprofit. Bike Utah is partnering with Get Healthy Utah and Move Utah for the Connected Communities Summit this fall. Bi...

April 18th 2024

The Healthy Utah Community designation is valid for three years. To qualify for redesignation, communities must complete the following: Submit a new letter of commitment Continue to hold health...

April 18th 2024

Get Healthy Utah, in conjunction with the Utah League of Cities and Towns, is pleased to announce the newest Healthy Utah Community designees. Six cities and towns qualified this spring: Mapleton, Ore...

March 14th 2024

Get Healthy Utah partnered with the Utah Worksite Wellness Council and Utah Community Builders to host the second annual Utah Business of Health Event! The event took place on February 7th, 2024 at th...

March 7th 2024

Chet Loftis R. Chet Loftis is the Managing Director of PEHP Health & Benefits, a public sector health plan that covers over 170,000 members. He is also the new Board Chair for Get Healthy Utah. Go...

January 17th 2024

Morgan Hadden Morgan is the Program Coordinator for Get Healthy Utah. She graduated from Utah State University with a B.S. and M.P.H in Health Education and Promotion. Chances are, your city or t...

January 2nd 2024

Greg Bell Greg Bell is the outgoing Get Healthy Utah Board Chair. Greg previously served as president of the Utah Hospitals Association and lieutenant governor for Utah. In 2014, a group of us cre...

November 3rd 2023

Cindy Nelson Cindy is an Extension Associate Professor in Beaver County Utah with responsibilities in Family and Consumer Sciences and 4-H. She loves the people she serves, and the variety of progra...

October 17th 2023

Get Healthy Utah held its annual Stakeholder Retreat this October at the Viridian Event Center in West Jordan. This year’s theme was “Connection: Building a Culture of Health.” Topics included the con...

September 26th 2023

Devynne Andrews, JD Devynne Andrews is the Communications Coordinator for Get Healthy Utah. Recently, the Get Healthy Utah staff attended an advance screening of UnCharitable, a documentary about...

September 5th 2023

Get Healthy Utah, in conjunction with the Utah League of Cities and Towns, is pleased to announce the newest Healthy Utah Community designees. Four cities and towns qualified this fall: Coalville, Hol...

August 4th 2023

Dr. Amy Locke Amy Locke is the Chief Wellness Officer for the University of Utah Health, executive director of the University of Utah Health Resiliency Center, Professor of Family and Preventive Med...

July 31st 2023

Elisa Soulier Elisa Soulier is the Vice Chair for the Get Healthy Utah Board. She works as Director of Health and Wellbeing at Castell. She focuses on delivering more high value holistic care for pa...

July 17th 2023

Jennifer Porter and Rachel Bowman Jennifer Porter, RDN, is a Health Program Coordinator, and Rachel Bowman is a Nutrition Coordinator for the Utah WIC program. Visit wic.utah.gov to learn more. Nu...

July 11th 2023

Key Takeaways: “Green streets” have more plants, soil, and water-friendly systems than traditional streets Originally, green streets were designed to capture rainwater locally Green streets al...

Cover for Utah Foundation Report

June 28th 2023

The Utah Foundation recently released a report, Healthy Communities: Advancing Wellness and Safety, focused on policy solutions for Utah communities to increase physical activity. The report is meant...

June 9th 2023

Get Healthy Utah held its annual Advisory Council this May. We want to thank everyone who attended and shared their ideas on how we can improve healthy eating and active living in Utah through system-...

Two adults and two kids doing pottery.

May 16th 2023

Key Takeaways: Utahns are in a mental health crisis and need the healing and social connection that arts and culture can deliver. The arts foster connection, support the healing process, and com...

Healthy Utah Community Logo

April 24th 2023

Get Healthy Utah, in conjunction with the Utah League of Cities and Towns, is pleased to announce the newest designees of the Healthy Utah Community award. Six cities and towns qualified this spring:...

Children Eating Lunch at School

April 19th 2023

Kathleen Britton Kathleen Britton, SNS has served as the Director of Child Nutrition Programs at the Utah State Board of Education, since February 2014. Ms. Britton began her nutrition work as a Die...

Kids at Recess

April 10th 2023

Kimberly Clevenger Kimberly Clevenger is an Assistant Professor in Kinesiology and Health Science at Utah State University, with a background in exercise physiology. Her research interests are in th...

School child with healthy school lunch

March 25th 2023

Greg Bell Greg Bell is the Get Healthy Utah Board Chair. Greg is president of the Utah Hospitals Association, and previously served as lieutenant governor for Utah. Recent research in Great Britai...

February 27th 2023

This February, Get Healthy Utah and the Utah Worksite Wellness Council held the Utah Business of Health event, with the theme “Good Health is Good Business.” Leaders from Utah businesses and insurance...

October 28th 2022

Get Healthy Utah held its annual Stakeholder Retreat this October in Salt Lake City, with the theme “Building Healthier Communities.” A variety of leaders attended to learn more about their common...

August 3rd 2022

Organization: Get Healthy Utah Contact: Alysia Ducuara, Executive Director Location: 2180 S 1300 E, Suite 440, Salt Lake City, UT 84106 Program Details: The mission of Get Healthy Utah is to c...

July 14th 2022

In June 2022, Get Healthy Utah offered mini-grants to cities and towns that want to provide their citizens with better opportunities for healthy living. Cities and towns could apply for up to $5,000 t...

October 13th 2021

Each year, Get Healthy Utah gives Partnership Awards to organizations that have collaborated across sectors to significantly improve community health. This year at the Fall 2021 Get Healthy Utah Stake...

October 13th 2021

The Fall 2021 Get Healthy Utah Stakeholder Retreat was held in-person on October 7th in Salt Lake City. Attendees represented various sectors that have an upstream impact on community health, such as...

August 1st 2021

On June 30, 2021, Get Healthy Utah held a virtual information session on type 2 diabetes, the National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP), and the importance of Medicaid coverage. During the i...

June 2nd 2021

The Annual Get Healthy Utah Stakeholder Retreat was held virtually on May 5, 2021. The event focused on the One Utah Roadmap. Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson provided the keynote address. The closing s...

March 10th 2021

What is a wellness policy? A wellness policy creates a safe and healthy environment for students and staff to practice lifelong healthy habits. The school community (which includes parents, students...

November 3rd 2020

Social and economic conditions where we live, work, and play can impact our health status. These include income, affordable housing, safe places to walk, healthy food access, discrimination, and healt...

August 20th 2020

Get Healthy Utah is proud to have partnered with Comagine Health, Intermountain Healthcare, Utah Department of Health, and University of Utah Health to host the free virtual summit for worksites Impro...

August 4th 2020

Jeff Hummel, MD, MPH Medical Director, Health Care Informatics, Comagine Health Meredith Agen, MBA Vice President, Health Care Analytics, Comagine Health The COVID-19 pandemic has seemed both distan...

June 20th 2020

Guest Post by Brett McIff Brett McIff, PhD is the Physical Activity Coordinator for the EPICC Program at the Utah Department of Health. His research has focused on the perception of the built envir...

April 21st 2020

Rural communities often have poorer health outcomes than non-rural communities. This is due, in part, to barriers to accessing healthy food, opportunities for physical activity, and mental health reso...

April 15th 2020

A new, and timely, report from the Utah Foundation examines trends and challenges related to teleworking. Findings include: Teleworking seems to have a positive effect on productivity and employee...

March 24th 2020

Gyms, recreational facilities, schools, and extracurricular activities are cancelled. While we are all doing our part to stay home and maintain proper social distancing, it is important to be physical...

March 18th 2020

To help in preventing the spread of COVID-19, Utah schools are dismissed for a soft closure until March 27th. What does this mean for school meals? On average, 50% of Utah K-12 students participat...

February 20th 2020

Guest Blog Post By, Kate Wheeler, Child Nutrition Specialist, Utah State Board of Education Kate works on farm to fork and local procurement initiatives. Kate has an MPH from Emory University. Prior...

January 14th 2020

The Utah State Board of Education has provided Best Practice for Recess Guidelines. While not mandated, the guidelines support the Utah State Board of Education’s Strategic Plan Safe and Healthy Schoo...

Message from the Executive Director: Updates on Get Healthy Utah

Alysia Ducuara

Alysia Ducuara is the Executive Director for Get Healthy Utah.

Springtime means conference and event season at Get Healthy Utah! From visiting with our parks and recreation champions at URPA in March and presenting to our public health friends at UPHA in April to awarding Salt Lake County Health Department the Diabetes Prevention in the Worksite Award at the UWWC Conference and recognizing our next round of Healthy Utah Communities Designess at ULCT — we have been busy!

Copy of PXL 20240423 162905879.LONG EXPOSURE 01.COVERWe are closing up our first-ever Healthy Communities Roadshow and have enjoyed visiting all of our communities across the state. After our tenth roadshow event in Vernal, we have met with over 400 participants representing elected officials, city/town staff, regional/county staff, transportation and city planners, public health and healthcare professionals, community members and more! It was great being able to connect with everyone in person, discuss how we can continue to build healthy communities, and be inspired by the passion and work of everyone prioritizing the health and quality of life of Utahns! We hope everyone who attended was able to take some action steps back to their communities. For those who missed an in-person event, we will be hosting a virtual webinar version of some of the roadshow presentations, along with a summary of our roadshow takeaways.

IMG 4851We also recently had our annual Advisory Council and Board Retreat meetings! This is another great opportunity to connect in-person with various leaders across our partner sectors, give updates, and discuss the future direction of our organization. The role and power of Get Healthy Utah to convene and align efforts across sectors continues to be recognized and valued by our partners. We will continue to build on our pillars of convene, educate, amplify, and advocate for healthy communities! Please take our 10-year impact survey to give us feedback on what value Get Healthy Utah has brought to you, your organization, and your community and what we should prioritize in the next 10 years. We are grateful to all of you for being a part of this work! 

Guest Post: Introducing Bike Utah’s Community Assistance Program

Trilby Cox

Trilby Cox is Co-Executive Director for Bike Utah, a Utah-based nonprofit. Bike Utah is partnering with Get Healthy Utah and Move Utah for the Connected Communities Summit this fall.

Bike UtahBikeUtah Wide is a statewide nonprofit organization with a mission of making Utah a better place to ride. We envision a Utah where complete active transportation networks and thriving cycling culture contribute to livable, connected, healthy communities, allowing everyone to ride regardless of age, ability, race, or income. 

Throughout its nineteen year history, a number of passionate and dedicated staff, board, and volunteers have worked towards that mission through a number of programs and initiatives, focusing on education, planning, and advocacy efforts. A lot of good work has been accomplished over the years. In 2022, the Utah State Legislature tasked Bike Utah with conducting a year-long assessment of cycling needs throughout the state. Completed in June 2023, our findings revealed something beyond the needs of Utah’s residents. Bike Utah’s two main programs (the Bicycle and Safety Education Training (BEST) Program and the 1000 Miles Program) were addressing the needs of those for whom the programs were designed for, but we realized that by combining the efforts of BEST, 1000 Miles, and adding other community engagement, planning, and policy activities we were already doing, we could deliver a more holistic approach to serving Utah communities. 

In October 2023, with support from the Utah Highway Department of Public Safety, the Utah Department of Transportation, Salt Lake County, and various foundations, Bike Utah implemented the Community Assistance Program, with all of our work guided by the Five Elements that are key to successful cycling communities in Utah. Our education, engagement, and planning teams work together with community groups, schools, nonprofit organizations, tribes, and government agencies to identify and address community-specific barriers to cycling in order to create a safer and more bike-friendly environment that is meaningful to residents. 

Examples of our assistance can include, but are not limited to: 

  • Active transportation planning, 
  • Tactical urbanism/pop-up projects, 
  • Safe routes to schools planning, 
  • Safe cycling training and implementation, 
  • Bike bus training and implementation, 
  • School program support, 
  • Bike maintenance events, 
  • Community workshops, 
  • Community rides and events. 

Although Bike Utah’s Community Assistance Program is still relatively new, we have already accepted a good number of applications and are excited to be working with communities across the state to support their plans to make Utah a better place to ride.

Are you interested in how you can partner with Bike Utah? Visit Bike Utah's website to fill out an application today!

Eleven Cities Redesignated as Healthy Utah Communities!

The Healthy Utah Community designation is valid for three years. To qualify for redesignation, communities must complete the following: 

  • Submit a new letter of commitment
  • Continue to hold health coalition meetings
  • Demonstrate progress on their 3-year health plan, and
  • Submit an updated 3-year health plan.

This spring, all eleven cities and towns eligible to be redesignated as Healthy Utah Communities applied and qualified! Get Healthy Utah, in partnership with the Utah League of Cities and Towns, is pleased to announce the following redesignated communities: Annabella, Herriman, Magna, Marriott-Slaterville, Millcreek, North Logan, Park City, Sandy, South Salt Lake, St. George, and Vineyard.

This is our largest cohort of Healthy Utah Community redesignees, and we are so pleased to recognize their efforts to improve community health!

Annabella

Annabella added new fitness opportunities to their local Community Center. They made significant enhancements to the exercise room, purchasing a new state-of-the-art Smith machine and free weights. Since the installation of the new equipment, youth participation in the exercise room has tripled. Based on community feedback, they also added a volleyball net to the facility, which has resulted in frequent volleyball practices. Furthermore, The Town Council is actively pursuing the installation of a brand-new playground to replace the existing one, and the Trails Committee is working to provide comprehensive information about the scenic trails surrounding Annabella.

Herriman

Herriman made sure its community programs are keeping up with its rapidly growing population. The city increased the amount of programming available for the aging population and is currently working to retrofit their old city hall building into a community center. Herriman City is also actively working to expand both its primitive and urban trail systems. The city recently completed a new active transportation corridor of 3.25 miles that connects Herriman to Riverton, and is working to build three new primitive trails that include a portion of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail.

Mojo 1

Magna

IMG 4183Magna worked through its Magna United Communities that Care Coalition to provide a variety of health services to its community members. The coalition provided funding for over 5,000 weekend food packs for school food pantries, and provided breakfast over Christmas break for an elementary school with low food access. The coalition also organizes two drug take-back events a year and advertises the medication disposal box located at the local police station. In addition, Magna added an additional mile to their canal trail and plans to add an additional mile this upcoming year that will connect it to another, existing trail that spans multiple cities.

Marriott-Slaterville

Marriott-Slaterville has made sure that it continues to offer opportunities for physical activity, healthy eating, and mental health. Over the past year, the city added 1.5 new miles to its local trail system and partnered with the Weber Communities that Care Coalition to offer QPR Suicide Prevention classes in their community. The city also hosts a “Seed and Greet” event during the springtime to distribute garden seeds and teach gardening skills to any interested resident.

Millcreek

Millcreek continued to work hard to ensure that every resident has access to healthy food and mental health resources. The city partnered with Wasteless Solutions to launch a garden share program that distributes excess produce from residents’ gardens to organizations and food pantries that address hunger in the community. Millcreek also partnered with Housing Connect to host resource fairs that provide refugees and low-income residents with resources for education, health, and safety. This ensures that a strong foundation is in place for improved mental wellbeing.

North Logan

North Logan focused on improving opportunities to be physically active. The city completed a robust Active Transportation Plan and from the plan, completed over two miles of new trails. In addition, the city hosted QPR suicide prevention classes at the local library for any interested residents.

Park City

IMG 8458Park City worked hard to provide even greater access to physical activity, healthy food, and mental health resources. Park City’s Recreation Department enhanced its sliding fee scale scholarship program to increase access to its community sports leagues for adults and children. The department also hosted a Spring Gardening 101 class that promoted healthy eating and basic gardening skills.

The Trails & Open Space department addressed connectivity gaps between key community destinations with the Transit to Trails program, and the city was recognized nationally with the Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community award. They also implemented an annual bike-back-to-school event that distributes helmets, bells, and bicycle safety information to local elementary school students. 

To promote mental health, Park City trained its first responders on mental health crisis intervention and updated their prescription drop off box to one with a larger capacity and sensors to keep the content secure. These steps were taken in addition to providing mental health safety classes to 4th and 10th grade students.

Sandy City

Sandy worked on various strategies to elevate health and wellbeing in the community. Sandy launched the Healthy Sandy Champion program, which shines a spotlight on businesses and individuals who go above and beyond to promote good health, safety, and wellness in the city. The city also adopted a new active transportation plan and is working hard to address pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, as well as adding new trail segments. The city is proud to offer many fun opportunities to get physically active, such as community sports programs (including a scholarship option) and local events such as 5k runs and Yoga in the Park.

South Salt Lake

Since first receiving the Healthy Utah Community designation, the City of South Salt Lake continued to work hard to ensure that every resident has access to mental health, physical activity, and healthy eating resources. The city supported mental health by providing Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) trainings to the South Salt Lake community. Over the course of three years, 20 trainings were provided to 192 individuals, and city staff trained to provide Spanish-speaking sessions. South Salt Lake also supported physical health by completing a bike/walking trail that runs along the S-Line to the Jordan River and created safe biking/walking pathways that connect key recreation locations in the City. To support healthy eating, South Salt Lake started the Fitts Park Community Garden which boasts a total of 38 garden plots.

St. George

20240410 111225The City of St. George keeps health a high priority for its community and qualified for redesignation by implementing a range of initiatives through its Live Well and Healthy Dixie coalitions. The city implemented new wayfinding signage to help residents navigate their extensive trail network, prioritized sending city staff to pedestrian safety trainings, and conducted walkability and crosswalk audits throughout the community. St. George also partnered with Buffalo Wild Wings to offer youth sports participation waivers to low-income families.

The city also offered its residents health-focused programming including six-week-long community fitness challenges that saw over 600 registrants and a 73% completion rate. To keep wellness fun, the city also hosts an International Yoga Day event and conducts awareness campaigns to connect community members with local volunteer opportunities.

Vineyard

To earn its redesignation, Vineyard City worked hard to improve access to healthy food The city expanded its community garden to accommodate more residents and added a seed exchange program and community vegetable stand. Vineyard also secured its first grocery store.

To improve access to physical activity, Vineyard promoted Safe Routes to Schools by increasing the number of crosswalks throughout the city, and also added a nature walk and enhanced landscaping in its parks.

To support mental health, Vineyard developed mental health packages for its Resource Officers and received an award through One Kind Act a Day for its work to spread kindness throughout local schools and businesses.
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Spring 2024 Healthy Utah Community Designees Announced

Get Healthy Utah, in conjunction with the Utah League of Cities and Towns, is pleased to announce the newest Healthy Utah Community designees. Six cities and towns qualified this spring: Mapleton, Orem, Saratoga Springs, Smithfield, South Jordan, and West Point. 

Mapleton

Mapleton offers its residents many community events and amenities that support healthy living.

There is 6.1-mile trail system through the community, and the city developed a masterplan to further expand the trail system over the next five years. To encourage residents to get outside and use it, the city hosts an annual "Chalk the Walk" event where residents gather at the trail to decorate its path with colorful chalk creations.

To support access to healthy food, Mapleton hosts a farmer's market every Monday during the summer and hosted a food drive to support their local food pantry. Senior lunches and a senior gym are also available for residents to use at their Senior Gym Center.

To promote general wellness and good mental health, the city hosts a "Burn Bright" event each holiday season. Community members can right down their bad habits and put them in a box. That box is added to the old community Christmas tree, then burned as a community bonfire. Following, residents are encouraged to record their New Year's resolutions on goal plaques. 

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Orem

Orem City is busy doing many things to support health in their community! To support physical activity, the city offers  free and low-cost community sports programs for adults and children, addressed active transportation connectivity gaps between key destinations, and adopted an ordinance that requires all new subdivisions to provide sidewalks and lights.

To support access to healthy food, Orem established a farmer’s market that accepts SNAP benefits, actively promotes enrollment in SNAP, WIC, and other food access programs for those in need, and implemented a new worksite wellness strategy around healthy eating among city employees.

Orem City also prioritizes mental health by training first responders on mental health crises and suicide prevention, hosting senior lunch gatherings, and beautifying several social gathering spaces including its local parks.

Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs is proud to offer its residents many opportunities to live a healthy lifestyle. Recently, the city added an important trail segment that connects the northern and central trail systems in the community, and each year they host a "Get to the River" campaign that encourages residents to recreate along the Jordan River and its scenic pathways.

To promote food access, the Westlake High School manages a food pantry for families in need, and the city's ordinances allow for backyard animal husbandry.

Mental health is also important to Saratoga Springs. Their Communities that Care coalition hosts a social media campaign every May to destigmatize and raise awareness for mental health challenges, and the Saratoga Springs Police and Fire Departments host annual trainings on mental health crises and suicide prevention to help keep community members safe.

Ingrid Kayaking at the Marina

Smithfield

Smithfield works hard to make sure every resident has access to fun ways to stay healthy! The city offers many adult and youth sports programs and even offers a youth scholarship to make sure no child is turned away if they can't meet the costs. They also have a joint-use agreement between the Cache County School District and their local community recreation center, making sure youth have access to sports facilities.

To support access to food and good nutrition, Smithfield runs a food pantry out of one of their city buildings and provides cooking, nutrition, and gardening classes at their library and recreation center.

To promote social connection and good mental health, Smithfield provides a senior citizen luncheon every week and partnered with Blomquist Hale to offer mental and physical wellness workshops to city employees. 

Group Fitness

South Jordan

South Jordan offers several fun and exciting ways to stay physically active! Every year, they offer the SoJo Race Series, a year-round series of kids runs, 5ks, and 10ks. They also host a Winter Fitness Challenge where residents can set and meet exercise goals during the cold winter months and report back to receive prizes.

To promote healthy food access, South Jordan has a weekly farmer's market during the summer, passed ordinances that make it easy for local residents to operate their own produce stand sell home-grown fruits and vegetables, and partnered with the Salt Lake County Aging Services to offer weekday lunches for seniors in the community.

South Jordan also makes strong efforts to support mental health and safety. They offer onsite and remote wellness classes to their employees, handout free gunlocks to community members, and set up local medication disposal boxes.

SP Lunch 2

West Point

West Point plans ahead to make sure its residents have opportunities to be physically active! The city contributed financially to the building of a new Jr. High School, guaranteeing use of the gym, exercise equipment and office space during non-school hours for various community recreation activities. They also joined surrounding communities to create the North Davis Active Transportation Implementation Plan in a regional effort to make bicycling, walking and other forms of active transportation safer and easier for Northern Davis County residents.

To support access to healthy food, West Point chose one person from each of its departments to serve on the Healthy West Point Team whose purpose is to promote healthy eating and raise awareness among employees about its benefits. Their city codes also allow for backyard farm animals and bee hives, providing increased access to fresh eggs, dairy, meat products, and honey.

West Point has also made strides to support social connection and mental wellbeing. The city hosts a monthly senior lunch for older community members and is increasing awareness of mental health resources with signage, social media posts, newsletter items and emails to residents.

April Staff Salad Bar Lunch