JULY 2020
Health Extension: Advocacy, Research, Teaching (HEART) is partnering locally and nationally to address the Opioid crisis and other pressing public health issues. The Health & Wellness faculty team serves the state of Utah. Five faculty are housed in nine counties where Opioid Use Disorder has had some of the most devastating effects. HEART seeks to coordinate on-the-ground efforts that advance evidence-based information, community-based solutions, and multi-sector partnerships.
HEART Team Highlights

HEART Recognized for Opioid Prevention Efforts

HEART has been awarded the Western Distinguished Team Award from National Epsilon Sigma Phi!

Mike Knutz, President of the ESP National Board said, “We are honored to extend this recognition of your professional work.” The HEART team will be honored for their accomplishments in community education and harm reduction during the 2020 Epsilon Sigma Phi National Conference, October 5-8, 2020 virtually.

Dr. Ashley Yaugher, the HEART Coordinator and Team Lead said, “The team has done amazing work these past two years and we are excited to continue to serve our communities and state.  We are proud to be saving lives and of our collaborative efforts across the state to bring additional programming, funding, and support to our communities.” 

Congratulations HEART team members for your excellent work in opioid harm reduction in Utah! To read more about HEART’s recent team awards, please see our press release here.

Did You Know? 

It Is Okay to Feel Alone

Yes, you read that right; it is okay to feel alone at times. In fact, feeling lonely is a normal, human feeling. According to PsychAlive, “as a tribal species, our brains adapted to rely on social connections as a means to survive.” However, today we often do not express our feelings of loneliness because we may think society would view such feelings negatively (Psych Alive, 2018). 

According to former U.S Surgeon General, Viveck Murthy, loneliness is a feeling that not only impacts a person's mental health, but also their physical health (Shah et al., 2020). He explains that loneliness can affect more than just mood. It can impact overall health by playing a role in illness, chronic pain, and addiction. He states in an interview on “Health Shots” by NPR, “I found that people who struggle with loneliness, that that's associated with an increased risk of heart disease, dementia, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances and even premature death” (Martin, 2020). He says there are three ways to help improve your feelings of loneliness.   

  1. You can open up to a trusted person, and express your feelings of loneliness; they may have had those same feelings too. 

  1. You can find a community -- a group of people with similar interests, (e.g., via Facebook, Zoom, Instagram, or socially responsible in-person settings, among others).  

  1. Think of ways you can help someone else; is there an act of service to lift someone? It can be good for you as well as the other person you help or express gratitude to. 

Community Highlight
Community Education Dinner Summary & Online Webinar Recording Available 

The Carbon & Emery Opioid & Substance Use Coalition educational event series is now complete and was a great success. With funding from the Utah Coalition for Opioid Overdose Prevention (UCO-OP, UDOH) and collaborative coalition efforts, six education events were held over the past year and distributed over 1,400 resource books within our communities. 

We are excited to report that the educational events served over 289 community members in Carbon and Emery counties and were rated overwhelmingly positive by attendees. Of the 133 attendees who completed the survey the majority Agreed or Strongly Agreed with the four main questions. Specifically: (1) 94% Agreed/Strongly Agreed to improved prevention and treatment understanding, (2) 87% Agreed/Strongly Agreed to improved perception of opioid treatment, (3) 92% Agreed/Strongly Agreed to improved resource awareness, and (4) 86% Agreed/Strongly Agreed to improved response likelihood during a medical emergency (Naloxone). Attendees reported that some of their main takeaways were “awareness is so important within the community”, “There are several resources to help with addiction & to prevent opioid [use disorder]”, and “Prevention works, treatment is effective, recovery is possible!”  

The final event was held on June 2, 2020 for Green River and was held online in a webinar format. The event materials (presentation slides and resource books) can be viewed online as well as the live presentation recording here.

Upcoming Events 
To prevent the spread of illness and promote health and wellness, USU Extension has moved some programming online. Please contact your county Extension office to see if they are offering in-person programs.
Carbon & Emery 
Opioid & Substance Use Coalition Meetings Now Online.

First Monday of the month from 11:00 am - noon 
Now held online
Please email Ashley Yaugher, PhD for the meeting link.
Peer Support Specialist Hybrid Online/Broadcast/In-Person Trainings will start in August 2020.

Contact Maren Voss at for more information.
2020 Intertribal Opioid Wellness Summit 
Hope, Healing, and Resiliency
Online Community Gathering for Adults & Teens 

July 28-31, 2020
9:30 am - 12:45 pm
Via Zoom
Registration is now open.
Living Well with Chronic Pain 
Now offered as a virtual class for the first time.

Contact Rebbi Burdett at for more information.

The Path to Opioid Prevention 5K & Half Marathon 
By the Bonneville Communities That Care Coalition

August 22nd | Riverdale, Utah
Register here.
Stories of Utah’s Opioid Crisis
In partnership with Utah Humanities and USU Libraries 

Registration is required to attend these online events.

Tooele County
July 14 | 6:30 - 8 PM | Register
Utah County
July 20 | 6:30 – 8 PM | Register
Carbon County
July 23 | 6:30  – 8 PM | Register
Emery County
July 30 | 6:30 – 8 PM | Register

For more information, contact Kandice Atismé at
Want more information on upcoming events?
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