Get Healthy Utah News and Blog

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...

You Can Earn the Healthy Utah Community Designation!

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 town is busy doing a lot of great things. Municipalities are often responsible for basic needs like keeping the water running, the roads clear and functioning, and providing police officers and firefighters and other public safety support. Our cities do a lot, and in many ways, they are the unsung heroes that protect our quality of life.

That’s why Get Healthy Utah, in partnership with the Utah League of Cities and Towns, created the Healthy Utah Community designation. Launched in 2020, the designation recognizes cities and towns that go above and beyond to improve their residents’ wellbeing. To date, 43 communities have been designated.

Fall 2023 Map Healthy Utah Community Instagram Post

How to Earn the Designation

To earn the designation, cities and towns must demonstrate a strong commitment to community health. The mayor must sign a letter of commitment, the community must organize a health coalition, and several evidence-based health strategies must be in place throughout the city or town. The number of strategies needed depends on population size, but no matter what, they must improve access to healthy food, mental health resources, and opportunities to be physically active.

The designation is valid for three years, so the city must also create a three-year health plan that will help them get redesignated. City leaders look at health data for their residents, identify areas of high need, then choose new strategies to implement that will meet those needs. If they are successful in implementing the new strategies, then will qualify for redesignation when it’s time.

Who Can Earn the Designation

Any city or town throughout the state of Utah–no matter their population size–is eligible to apply for the designation. In certain instances, unincorporated areas like census-designated tracts or metro townships can also apply, but in these instances, we recommend reaching out to Get Healthy Utah first to confirm eligibility.

Smaller areas like neighborhoods, or larger areas like counties, can play a role in helping a community qualify. However, the current designation can only be awarded on a city or town level.

Benefits of Earning the Designation

The Healthy Utah Community designation is valuable for several reasons. First of all, the application process helps city leaders make their community a better place to live. It encourages the mayor to prioritize health, creates a coalition that leads to sustainable outcomes, and provides a list of evidence-based strategies that can be implemented to improve overall wellbeing.

Then, once the designation is earned, communities are recognized in front of statewide leaders at the Utah League of Cities and Towns Conference. The designation provides a way to communicate to both residents and other communities around the state about improvements being made. Local efforts too often go unnoticed, and the designation gives statewide recognition for amazing work.

And if that’s not enough, the Healthy Utah Community designation also qualifies cities and towns for mini-grants provided by Get Healthy Utah! The grants are flexible and can be used to improve outdoor infrastructure, provide recreational opportunities, or improve access to nutritious food and mental health resources.

Apply Today!

So don’t wait! The benefits of earning the Healthy Utah Community designation are numerous, and every city and town across the state is eligible to apply. To start your journey, visit www.GetHealthyUtah.org/HealthyUtahCommunity and email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a fillable application. The application deadlines are March 1st and August 1st of each year.

Message from the Board: Farewell from Our Board Chair

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 created Get Healthy Utah. Our first executive director, Sarah Hodson, along with an all-star board helped establish Get Healthy Utah’s excellent reputation as a leading advocate for healthy eating and active living among Utahns. 

Modern life is drowning society in highly processed, high-calorie food. Poor diet choices combined with diminishing physical activity levels lead to increasing rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers—even among teenagers and children. These conditions have sidelined too many of us from living active, healthy lives.

While Utahns are blessed with world-class healthcare, much of the disease and disability—such as some heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and some cancers—we suffer from could be avoided by eating a healthier diet and living more actively. The best medicine of all is healthy living! That’s why Get Healthy Utah has focused singularly on influencing the “upstream” determinants of health.

Without the constant generosity and support of the Utah Hospital Association, Get Healthy Utah would not be “alive and kicking” today. UHA’s financial, staff and political support has been life-sustaining—and has advanced our hospitals’ missions of supporting Utahns as they seek and maintain wellness in their personal lives. 

I express my warmest thanks to our many other partners who helped us along the way.

I will retire from my role as president of the Utah Hospital Association in December, and I will also step down as Chair of Get Healthy Utah. Chet Loftis, Managing Director of PEHP Health and Benefits, who recently joined our board, has agreed to become the next Chair. I will remain on the GHU board. Chet and I go way back, having practiced law together in the 1990s. Besides being a friend to everyone he knows, Chet’s genius for innovation and his enthusiasm for improving health and healthcare have put him at the center of healthcare and wellness policy work in Utah. Elisa Soulier will continue in her new role as Vice-Chair. Elisa is Director of Health and Well-Being at Castell, an affiliate of Intermountain Health. Thanks to Chet and Elisa for their willingness to serve. They’ll bring new vision and enthusiasm to our work.

Finally, my sincerest thanks to our current executive director Alysia Ducuara and Sarah Hodson, our first executive director and our incredible staff. They have been phenomenal at their jobs. What a privilege for me to work closely with them and see their intense commitment to our work.

All my best, Greg Bell

Message from the Board: How to Add More Steps to Your Day

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 programs she is able to develop. Her main programming areas are health and wellness, youth leadership, and anything 4-H.

Congrats Morgan 2Regular physical exercise is one of the best things you can do to improve your health. Walking is a form of exercise that is available to most people, does not require any special equipment other than good supportive shoes, and can be fun to do with friends and family members. The Mayo Clinic reported the following benefits of regular walking: it can reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression.

One barrier to maintaining a consistent walking schedule can be a lack of time. Instead of adding extra activities into an already busy schedule, try incorporating more steps while at work and at home that will increase your activity level.

Here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator
  • Set a timer to remind you to move every hour
  • Take a break at work and walk around your building 
  • Choose a parking spot further away from the entrance of stores, schools, etc.
  • Play active games with your kids
  • March in place while watching TV or while reading emails at work
  • Carry your groceries in one bag at a time
  • Walk while you talk on the phone, or when brushing your teeth
  • Skip the drive-up window
  • Walk your dog, or volunteer to walk someone else’s dog
  • Turn up the music and dance
  • Hide the remote so you must get up and move to change the TV channel
  • Be forgetful, embrace the “old syndrome”, “baby brain”, or “too much on my plate condition” --- forget things, make several trips, quit being so organized, carry things up and down the stairs
  • Forgo modern conveniences---wash your own car, mow your own lawn, vacuum your house

How many steps will you take today? Choose an idea from the list provided or identify a strategy of your own to increase your steps. Move more, walk more, and improve your health.

Get Healthy Utah 2023 Stakeholder Retreat

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 connection between physical and mental health, as well as the importance of societal connection for community wellbeing. Leaders from various sectors attended to learn more about their common goal: to improve the health of Utah communities. 

IMG 1228 A welcome from West Jordan's Mayor Dirk Burton and City Councilperson Pamela BloomIMG 1232

Opening words from Get Healthy Utah Chair Greg Bell

Get Healthy Utah Highlights

Alysia Ducuara, Executive Director, presented on Get Healthy Utah’s successes during the 2022–23 fiscal year. Over the past year, Get Healthy Utah developed a new five-year strategic plan, focusing on four pillars: Convene, Educate, Amplify, and Advocate. Get Healthy Utah presented at nine conferences and events, partnered with the Utah Worksite Wellness Council to hold an event for Utah businesses, and designated nine new cities a Healthy Utah Community. Get Healthy Utah also pursued policy efforts, including promoting policy work for public health and piloting Health in All Policies in three Utah cities.

To view the presentation slide deck, click HERE.

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Keynote Panel: Representative Steve Eliason, Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, and Mayor Jeff Silvestrini

Each of the keynote panelists this year work tirelessly to improve mental health for communities. Representative Eliason, who has served in the Utah State Legislature for over a decade, shared insights from his work on mental health legislation. Dr. Holt-Lunstad shared about her work on the Surgeon General’s report about the epidemic of loneliness, and emphasized the importance of social connection to improve community mental health. Mayor Silvestrini talked about the changes Millcreek has made to improve residents’ mental wellbeing. For example, Millcreek created the Millcreek Promise Program and designed new places for gathering in the city.

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Data Lightning Round

Three presenters shared about their work to collect data on the health and wellbeing of Utahns:

Utah Foundation: Community Health Reports

Shawn Teigen, President

The Utah Foundation produces objective, analytical research to support good policy choices in Utah. The Utah Foundation regularly surveys Utahns on their quality of life. In 2022, there was a sharp decrease in scores. Recently, the Utah Foundation started a Healthy Community series consisting of three reports. The first report focused on the importance of open spaces in creating healthy communities. Get Healthy Utah and the Utah Department of Health and Human Services partnered with the Foundation for the second report, “Advancing Safety and Wellness,” which focuses on how Utah policymakers can promote active living in their communities. You can view all of the reports at utahfoundation.org.

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Utah State University Wellbeing Survey

Dr. Courtney Flint, Utah State University

Utah State University (USU) partners with city and town leaders across the state to conduct a free Wellbeing Survey. The survey assesses residents' wellbeing and attitudes about community issues, and helps to promote sound planning and decision-making among community leaders. The project has collected over 25,000 surveys from Utahns across more than 35 cities. The next round of surveys will be administered in 2024. For more information, visit the project’s website.

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Built Environment for Healthy Aging

Dr. Andy Hong, University of Utah

Dr. Hong is Director of the Healthy Aging and Resilient Places (HARP) Lab at the University of Utah. HARP’s mission is to support research and other efforts that create healthy places to live across the lifespan. Policies can impact the entire population’s health. For example, the built environment can either hinder or promote active living for the aging. HARP has gathered examples of successful interventions that have supported health across the entire population, regardless of age. Visit harp.utah.edu to learn more.

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Get Healthy Utah Awards

Get Healthy Utah presented two partnership awards at the 2023 Stakeholder Retreat. First, Dr. Courtney Flint accepted an award for her work with the Wellbeing Project. The Wellbeing Project provides vital information that supports our understanding of community wellness in Utah. Second, Get Healthy Utah recognized the Healthy West Valley Committee for being a shining example of an effective health coalition. First organized in 2018, the Healthy West Valley Committee brings together community partners, residents, and city staff members to advocate for wellness in West Valley City. It is a strong example of what a community health coalition can become.

Health in All Policies Panel

Kiana Dipko, Millcreek City

Alex Kidd, West Valley City 

Kevin Nguyen, West Valley City

Julia Glade, SLCO Health Dept 

Beginning in 2022, Get Healthy Utah partnered with three Utah cities—Manti, Millcreek, and West Valley City—to pilot projects promoting Health in All Policies. Health in All Policies is an integrated, collaborative approach to improve the health of a community by considering the health impacts of policies and actions being made across sectors. Some of Get Healthy Utah’s partners in the pilot projects joined a panel to discuss their experiences implementing Health in All Policies. They emphasized the importance of communicating with city leaders in plain language. It takes time for change to happen, but sitting down one-on-one with people can help them to see the importance of health in policymaking. The ability to customize and adapt approaches to specific cities is also important.

To view the presentation slide decks, other resources, and more, visit linktr.ee/gethealthyutah2023

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