Get Healthy Utah News and Blog

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...

May 2021 Get Healthy Utah Stakeholder Retreat

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 session focused on the Healthy Utah Community designation program. 

During the Stakeholder Retreat, presenters and participants met in breakout sessions to discuss sections of the One Utah Roadmap and strategies to improve health in Utah. Summaries of the breakout sessions can be found below. You can watch the Annual Stakeholder Retreat HERE.

Improving Access to Mental Health and Wellness in Schools

Eric Tadehara, Assistant Director of Children’s Behavior Health, Utah Department of Human Services, Division of Substance Abuse

Christy Walker, Safe and Healthy Team Coordinator, Utah State Board of Education

Blog Post 2021 Stakeholder Retreat 300x300Great strides have been made to increase access to mental health services at schools. Legislation has increased funding for schools to hire mental health professionals and offer screenings for anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideations. The presenters discussed the importance of recognizing warning signs in children and teenagers, including sudden changes in behavior or mood. Participants were provided with a list of evidence-based programs, practices, and crisis services for schools. A variety of trainings are available for professionals who wish to implement such programs. Work is being done to promote telehealth services, which will play an increasingly important role in providing mental health services statewide.

Resources: Attending to School Based Mental Health

 

Social Determinants of Health

Anna Fondario, Director, Bureau of Health Promotion, Utah Department of Health

Caitlin Schneider, Senior Network Director, United Way of Salt Lake

Blog Post 2021 Stakeholder Retreat 1 300x300Social determinants of health are the conditions in which people live, work, and play that can affect overall wellbeing. The One Utah Roadmap seeks to improve health throughout the state by addressing the social determinants of health. To do this, the One Utah Roadmap outlines three steps: improve services and infrastructure, develop a statewide equity plan, and develop reports and action plans on racial and ethnic disparities. The group discussed these three steps, and emphasized the importance of using data to both identify areas that need improvement and to measure the impact of interventions. The importance of inviting a variety of voices to the decision-making table and building strong partnerships was highlighted.

Resources: One Utah Roadmap

 

Health Equity Framework for Utah

Brittney Okada, Senior Health Equity Specialist, Utah Department of Health

Blog Post 2021 Stakeholder Retreat 2 300x300Health disparities are unfair and avoidable health differences between groups of people. An example of a health disparity is the higher rates of COVID-19 transmission that occurred among ethnic minority groups, as compared to the general population. Health equity is the absence of such unfair differences. The group discussed how promoting health equity requires removing the obstacles to health that are often faced by vulnerable populations. Obstacles include an uneven distribution of power and unequal access to resources, such as education and healthcare. Addressing large-scale inequities requires every professional to lift where they stand, show compassion, and be willing to try new approaches.

Resources: Utah Health Equity Framework

 

Expanding the Role of Community Health Workers

Oreta Tupola, Community Health Worker, Utah Public Health Association

Tessa Acker, Community Health Worker Liaison, Utah Department of Health Community 

Blog Post 2021 Stakeholder Retreat 3 300x300Health Workers played a pivotal role in addressing community needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, and are of increasing importance to the field of public health. The presenters explored the emerging opportunities and settings for Community Health Workers to make a difference, and highlighted steps that can be taken to grow and utilize this workforce. Ideal settings for Community Health Workers include schools, universities, health departments, healthcare settings, law enforcement community teams, and more.

Note: Due to a technical problem, this breakout  session was not recorded.

Resources: Emerging Role of CHWs

Virtual Information Session: Medicaid Coverage of the National Diabetes Prevention Program

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 information session, Representative Suzanne Harrison introduced upcoming legislation that would allow Medicaid coverage of the National Diabetes Prevention Program in Utah. A recording of the information session can be viewed HERE.

Type 2 Diabetes, Prediabetes, and the National DPP

Ellen Maxfield, University of Utah

Prediabetes is when blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. If left untreated, prediabetes can turn into type 2 diabetes. People with diabetes have 2.3 times greater healthcare costs than people without diabetes. Therefore, it is most cost effective to prevent type 2 diabetes before it begins. The National DPP is a year-long class that can help people with prediabetes reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The class is taught by a trained lifestyle coach and focuses on promoting long-term improvements in healthy eating and physical activity. For those with prediabetes, the National DPP cuts the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%. Among adults over 60 years of age, it cuts the risk by 71%.

Medicaid 101

Laura Summers, Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute

Approximately one in five Americans are covered by Medicaid. Medicaid has 15 mandatory benefits that must be covered by all Medicaid programs. However, individual states can seek federal permission to cover additional services, such as chronic disease prevention programs. The National DPP is one such chronic disease prevention program. Thus far, 17 states have added Medicaid coverage of the National DPP as an optional benefit. For more information about national coverage, visit https://coveragetoolkit.org/participating-payers.

Bill Overview

Representative Suzanne Harrison, Utah Legislature

Representative Suzanne Harrison, a practicing physician, has filed a bill that would allow Medicaid coverage of the National DPP in Utah. Disease prevention is key to improving medical outcomes and healthcare costs. The bill includes an ongoing fiscal request, but also comes with federal matching funds.

Tell Your Story

Laura Keller, American Diabetes Association

The first step to engage with legislators effectively is to lead with a personal story. Tell a legislator why addressing diabetes is important and how it has affected you or a loved one. The second step is to share relevant and accurate facts. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say that you don’t know and get back to them later. The last step is to end with an ask. Ask the legislator to take action and support the bill.

Legislative Next Steps

Carrie Butler, Upstream Consulting

Citizens are permitted to lobby as a private citizen, separate from any organization they work for. The legislative website for Utah is le.utah.gov. This website is an effective tool for tracking bills. It offers information about whether or not a bill passed and which legislators voted for or against it. The website also provides information about legislative committees, including which legislators are members and how to contact them.

Fall 2021 Get Healthy Utah Stakeholder Retreat

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 healthcare, public health, city leadership, businesses, transportation, and education. The retreat focused on the importance of leveraging cross-sector collaboration to improve the conditions in which Utahns live, work, and play. Leaders across Utah, from all fields and specialties, have a role in promoting access to physical activity and healthy food.

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During the retreat, Alysia Ducuara, Executive Director, presented on Get Healthy Utah’s successes during the 2020-2021 fiscal year. Get Healthy Utah successfully designated 22 cities and towns a Healthy Utah Community, provided over 7,000 servings of fruits and vegetables to 22 school pantries across 4 school districts, and supported awareness of and coverage for the National Diabetes Prevention Program.

To view the presentation slide deck, click HERE.

 

SPEAKERS

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Elizabeth Joy, MD, MPH

Senior Medical Director for Wellness and Nutrition at Intermountain Healthcare

The 4 P’s: Leveraging Public Health Policy and Partnerships to Improve the Health of People 

Get Healthy Utah 04 Highlights 300x227Dr. Joy presented research on the health benefits of regular physical activity. Regular exercise can increase lifespan, safeguard against cognitive decline, improve mental health, and prevent chronic disease. Regardless, most Americans are not meeting the recommended guidelines for physical activity. Through health-promoting policies and effective partnerships, much can be done to change this trend. Dr. Joy reviewed the existing public health programs that support physical activity in Utah, and recommended future directions.

To view the presentation slide deck, click HERE.

 

Speaker

Ted Knowlton

Deputy Director for Wasatch Regional Front

Transforming Community-Driven Walking and Biking in UtahGet Healthy Utah 05 Highlights websize 272x182

An important aspect of promoting physical activity is ensuring access to safe infrastructure. Ted Knowlton discussed the importance of building communities with safe routes to walk and bike. Research has shown that when safe biking routes are built, the rates of biking increase and citizens benefit. Biking is associated with numerous improvements in physical health, such as a reduced risk of heart disease and an improved immune system. The key to developing highly utilized infrastructure is moving forward on short-term improvements and partnering for lasting changes.

 

Speaker

Kate Wheeler

Child Nutrition Specialist at Utah State Board of Education

Finding Common Ground: Healthy Food Access

Get Healthy Utah 21 Highlights websize 300x200Hunger is a persistent state of poor nutrition, exacerbated by a lack of healthy food. Addressing hunger requires a two-fold approach: feeding the immediate need and addressing the causes of poor access. In her presentation, Kate Wheeler identified opportunities for long-term solutions. Such opportunities include improving transportation options, supporting local agriculture, improving access to food at schools, and incentivizing businesses to provide nutritious options.

To view the presentation slide deck, click HERE.

 

CITY PANEL

In addition to the three speakers, a panel of four city leaders discussed the role that community leaders play in improving population health. Nick Jarvis, ChiefGet Healthy Utah 12 Highlights websize 1200x800 Operating Officer for the Utah League of Cities and Towns, moderated the discussion. The panel consisted of:

  • Kelleen Potter, Mayor, Heber City
  • Damon Cann, Mayor, North Logan City
  • Julie Fullmer, Mayor, Vineyard City
  • Bev Uipi, Councilmember, Millcreek City

Each city represented was a recipient of the Healthy Utah Community designation. The panel discussed what motivated them to pursue the designation and address community health. City leaders want their communities to be places where people desire to live, which requires providing a good quality of life. Residents appreciate opportunities to be connected, engaged, and healthy. Addressing mental health was also a high priority for panel members, as well as the importance of partnering and coordinating efforts to ensure that all health improvements made are sustainable.

2020-2021 Get Healthy Utah Partnership Awards

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 Stakeholder Retreat, Partnership Awards were presented to five recipients. Three awards were presented for work done in 2020 and two awards were presented for work done in 2021.

2020 Awards

Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT)

The Utah Department of Transportation introduced Utah’s Transportation Vision, which looks to improve quality of life through good health, connected communities, better mobility, and a strong economy. In combination with their work on Safe Routes to School, TravelWise, and Move Utah, UDOT is working to build communities that  improve quality of life for everyone. 

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Utah Worksite Wellness Council (UWWC)

For over 40 years the Utah Worksite Wellness Council has worked to help build and support effective worksite wellness programs in Utah. The UWWC provides the opportunity for employers to come together, learn from each other, share experiences, and share resources. This important work is helping Utahns have healthier work environments and healthier lives.

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Utah Produce Incentive Collaborative

The Utah Produce Incentive Collaborative is a multi-sector coalition focused on increasing equitable access to healthy food throughout Utah. The collaborative successfully secured both national and local funding to support Double Up Food Bucks and Produce RX. These programs are a triple win for Utah. They help low-income families bring home more healthy food, support local farmers, and stimulate local economies. 

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2021 Awards

Utah Public Health Association (UPHA) Community Health Workers Section 

The Utah Public Health Association’s Community Health Worker section began on May 19th, 2016. In the five years since its creation, the Community Health Worker section has recognized, embraced, and advocated for better health in diverse communities. Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Community Health Worker section ensured that Utahns from a wide variety of backgrounds had access to needed resources and culturally-appropriate support. 

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Mike’s Food Town / Utah State University Extension Beaver County 

Mike’s Food Town and USU Extension Beaver County partnered with Get Healthy and the Beaver Valley Hospital to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among children in Beaver, UT. With funding from the United Fresh Start Foundation, weekend bags of fresh produce were provided monthly to students at Belknap Elementary School. Vouchers to purchase additional fruits and vegetables at Mike’s Food Town were also provided, and healthy taste-testing events were provided throughout the community. 

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