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
Welcome to the Team!

Gabriela Murza joined the team in February 2020 as Professional Practice Extension Assistant Professor of Health and Wellness and a Health Extension: Advocacy, Research, & Teaching (HEART) Initiative Team member in Utah County. Gabriela received her Bachelor's in Psychology and Master's in Health Education and Behavior from the University of Florida (UF). She comes to Utah State University from UF, where she served as a Family and Consumer Sciences Extension faculty for nine years. Her focus areas include life-skills development, food systems, and resilience-building, which relate well to her new role in health and wellness, and decreasing opioid use/misuse among adults and youth. Gabi looks forward to working with the Utah County community and exploring Utah overall. She loves to read, work out, and travel.

Did You Know? 
Healthy Eating and Recovery
We know that eating well helps boost energy, decreases the risk for developing chronic illnesses, and can improve mood. However, did you know that healthy eating is an essential part of recovery from substance use disorder, including opioids? According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, regular substance use deprives the body of essential nutrients, in part because the person may eat sporadically or may choose unhealthy foods, such as sweets and sugary beverages. Additionally, substances such as opioids can induce feelings of nausea and vomiting which impacts nutrient levels in the body. Some effects of poor nutrition include headaches, lethargy, and sleep problems, which may also be experienced during withdrawal. This can make recovery more difficult. Incorporating a healthy diet into substance use disorder treatment plans can help reduce these symptoms, allowing the recovery process to be more manageable. Learn more about the role that Medical Nutrition Therapy plays in substance use disorder recovery, and why it’s important to include. 
Community Highlight
COVID-19 Update

As you may have heard, USU is continuing to take actions to prevent COVID-19 on campus and in our communities. All USU events have been postponed or moved to an online/virtual structure until further notice, including our upcoming HEART Initiative events through at least April 8th.  

USU Extension has created a website for research-based information (fact sheets, links, videos, etc.) for how to navigate the challenges this new virus brings. Resources on this website include parenting, sanitization, emergency response planning, finance, food, work, self-care and self-reliance, and other topics to prepare you and your family. Please visit the USU Extension COVID-19 Resources for these resources.

Additionally, health officials are reminding everyone to be careful about where they get information about COVID-19. Rumors on social media are causing confusion and spreading misinformation. Please do not share items on social media without confirming them through reputable health organizations, such as the Utah Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information about everything Utah State University is doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, please visit their website

Reliable & Official Information About COVID-19

Virtual or Online Recovery Support

Many recovery groups will continue to meet in person, but if you become ill or your local groups are postponed, there are options for virtual meeting platforms and support groups that are online.

A brief list of online recovery meetings that may be helpful are:

You can also reach out to your local chapter to see if they have alternative meeting plans. 
Upcoming Events 
Community Education Dinner - Green River

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020
5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Green River
Senior Center
335 East 175 South
Green River, UT 84525

Click here to register
Carbon & Emery 
Opioid & Substance Use Coalition Meetings

First Monday of the month from 11:00 am - noon
Now held online
Please email Ashley Yaugher, PhD for meeting link 
Want more information on upcoming events?
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*Please note that all of the resources provided in our Newsletter are for educational purposes and USU does not specifically endorse their services. The above resources are intended to provide information, not to treat substance use disorder or other mental health concerns. USU does not control the websites or organizations referenced above. 

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