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...

Using Analytics to Manage Deferred Care During COVID-19

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 distant and confusing to many Americans. Distant because unless one is tracking public health data, it can be difficult to see how this slow motion pandemic is progressing, and confusing because our understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on infected individuals is changing as we learn more about it each week. And it is more complicated than we initially understood.

The extraordinary effort by health care professionals to respond to COVID-19 and the impact of quarantine on patients has also meant that many other health needs such as routine immunizations and chronic illness care are going unmet. As the pandemic progresses, we need to broaden our attention to the additional impacts of deferred care. We must rely on numerous data elements to understand and articulate the importance of preventing, not only the complications of COVID-19, but also the unrelated acute care and chronic illness needs that may be overlooked or exacerbated by the pandemic. We need to creatively use data to monitor and reduce the risk of predictable non-COVID-19 conditions.

The list of non-COVID-19 health conditions that may go untreated during the pandemic is long. In addition to immunizations and chronic disease, it includes such things as behavioral health, domestic violence, pregnancy, frail elderly, substance use disorder, cancer screening and many other topics. A logical way to organize these topics is to specify for each condition what a potentially catastrophic failure would look like, what data flags we might be able to use to tell when patients are in danger and finally, determine what strategies could be put in place to mitigate the risk. The figure below shows such a framework for three such high priority health issues.

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Although the types of avoidable events that are potentially catastrophic in the lives of patients will vary by health conditions, there is a clear pattern in the type of data that can be used to monitor for risk of major increases in these events. There is also a clear pattern in the strategies that can be implemented now to mitigate these risks.

Data:

  • Enhance aggregation of data for population-based registries that will allow care teams to identify changes in key parameters that indicate a drop off in essential services such as immunizations, physiological parameters like glycemic control, monitoring of daily weight or simply checking in by telephone with a care manager.
  • Aggregate refill data to identify situations in which at-risk populations are not refilling crucial medications according to expectation.
  • Monitor when there are increases in calls for help to consulting nurses from patients experiencing worrisome symptoms.

Mitigation strategies:

  • Immunization administration could be offered at places beyond physician offices and public health departments. Pharmacies already give flu shots and zoster vaccine. Immunization accessibility can be expanded to other settings while assuring strict adherence to both safety protocols and State Registry reporting requirements.
  • Most chronic disease outcomes depend heavily on self-management. The effectiveness of peer support networks and community health workers in self-management support has been proven, particularly in the ability to link patients to local community resources. Funding that integrates them with clinical practice sites should be a public policy priority.
  • Primary care reimbursement policy should support care management via virtual visits and remote monitoring.
  • Data that can be turned into actionable, real-time information is at the core of all risk mitigation strategies.

Improving Employee Health Through Diabetes Prevention Virtual Summit

DPP Summit blog post 003 300x300Get Healthy Utah is proud to have partnered with Comagine HealthIntermountain HealthcareUtah Department of Health, and University of Utah Health to host the free virtual summit for worksites Improving Employee Health Through Diabetes Prevention: A Lifestyle Change Prevention Program That Works.

Prediabetes affects 1 out of 3 adults. Without intervention, 15-30% of these individuals could develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years. Type 2 diabetes is costly for both employees and employers.

Costs of diabetes:

Type 2 diabetes is often preventable. The National Diabetes Prevention Program is a CDC recognized evidence-based lifestyle change program that can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%, decrease the risk of other chronic health conditions, and lower healthcare costs.

Watch the summit recording to learn more about the role that worksites can play in type 2 diabetes prevention and how to best utilize the National Diabetes Prevention Program in your worksite.

Watch: General Sessions HERE

Watch: Type 2 Diabetes in the Workplace 101 Breakout Session HERE

Watch: Integrating Diabetes Prevention Into Your Worksite Wellness Program HERE

Watch: Capitalizing on Your Coverage: How to Get the Most Out of Your National DPP Benefit HERE

Improving Employee Health Through Diabetes Prevention: A Lifestyle Change Prevention Program That Works
Wednesday, October 28th
11am – 1pm

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Find the Outreach and Promotional Content Toolkit Here.

Find Speaker Bios Here

Questions? Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Ensuring That All Utahns Have the Opportunity to Be Healthy Now and in the Future

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 health care coverage. These conditions are connected and impact an individuals’ ability to be healthy. While Utah is typically recognized as one of the healthiest states, disparities exist that make it difficult for all Utahns to reach their full health potential.

Where do these disparities exist?

Economic Stability: Income and employment affect our ability to access healthy foods, make time for physical activity, afford medical care, find adequate housing, and manage stress. Low-income communities often have added barriers such as longer distances to healthy food and low-quality housing. In Utah, rates of poverty are higher among minority populations and individuals living in rural areas. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hispanics have been hit particularly hard with higher unemployment rates and increased pay cuts.

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Neighborhood and Physical Environment: Our built environment, including the transportation system as well as access to parks, trails, and other outdoor spaces impacts our ability to be physically active. When individuals have safe and accessible outdoor space, they have more opportunities to be active and engaged with the community. Research also shows that those who live closer to safe sidewalks, parks, and trails are more likely to be active. At the beginning of the pandemic, Utahns started spending more time outdoors. In fact, visits to parks increased significantly. With the weather getting colder, it can be difficult for all individuals to stay active. Not all Utahns have access to indoor physical activity opportunities such as gyms and recreational facilities. Low-income and communities of color already have greater challenges accessing physical activity opportunities.

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Education: Academic support and enrollment in high-quality education leads to longer lifespans, less likelihood of being exposed to violent crime, greater educational attainment, and improved economic opportunity.  Utah schools are offering a variety of learning options including online, hybrid, and in-person. Social interaction for children is limited in order to help slow the spread of COVID. Low-income and families of color have disproportionately faced challenges with educational changes including managing schedule changes, finding child care, and having to stay home instead of going into work to take care of kids.

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Food: Nutritious diets are linked to reduced risk of chronic diseases and improved cognitive function. Lower rates of obesity and diabetes are found in areas with increased access to healthy foods. However, many individuals do not have access to healthy food either because they cannot afford it or do not have access to a grocery store that provides healthy food options. During the COVID-19 pandemic rates of food insecurity across the country have increased. Increased unemployment rates have also led to an increased demand at food banks here in Utah.

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Community and Social Context: In 2018, Utah ranked 51st in a national analysis of mental health measures by Mental Health America. A number of factors impact mental health including support systems, discrimination, income, and stress. Communities with social cohesion and civic participation have more support networks, social trust, higher rates of physical activity, and reduced stress. The COVID-19 pandemic has understandably caused stress and anxiety among many individuals. Some have lost their jobs, some may be taking care of the sick family members, and many fear the unknown. Maintaining social distancing can also mean that people may feel isolated and unable to have the social support, engagement, or resources that they need.

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Health Care System: Access to adequate health care allows people to receive preventive screenings and appropriately manage diseases. A lack of access to a health care facilities, limited provider availability, and lack of health insurance coverage are barriers to accessing care. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to skipped or postponed medical care for nearly 50% of the population. Maintaining proper preventative care is important to reduce further health problems and reduce health care costs down the road.

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Moving Forward After COVID-19

COVID-19 did not cause disparities in our communities, but rather highlighted disparities that already existed and will continue to exist. Minority populations have had disproportionately higher case rates as well as hospitalizations related to COVID-19. People with pre-existing medical conditions also have higher COVID-19 related hospitalizations and deaths.

Addressing underlying social determinants of health is critical to improving the conditions that increase the cases and severity of this pandemic. We must ensure that all Utahns have the opportunity to be healthy, now and in the future, by improving the communities where people live.

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The Benefits of a School Wellness Policy

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, food service professionals, physical education teachers, school health professionals, community health partners, school nurses, the LEA board, and administrators) is encouraged to participate in the development and assessment of wellness policies.

Why should my school or district have a wellness policy?

Research shows that students who are physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially healthy during and after the school day have positive outcomes. For example, student participation in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) School Breakfast Program is associated with higher grades and test scores, lower absenteeism, and better performance on cognitive tasks. In addition, students who are physically active by participating in walking and biking to and from school, recess, physical activity breaks, high quality physical education, and extracurricular activities perform better academically.

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What is in a wellness policy?

A comprehensive wellness policy will address students and staff physical, mental, and social health. This includes nutrition, physical activity (PE and recess), air quality, injury prevention, disease management, substance misuse prevention, and mental health.

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How do I know if my school or district has a policy?

Most districts and some charter school already have wellness policies that address nutrition and physical activity. This can usually be found on the district or charter website.

What if my school or district does not have one?

You can support your school in creating a wellness policy. The Utah State Board of Education has a model policy that schools and districts can use to create or improve their wellness policy. You can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

Resources

Utah State Board of Education

Utah State Board of Education Model Policy

Alliance for a Healthier Generation Model Policy

USDA Wellness Policy Resources

CDC Wellness Policy Resources

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