MAY 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
Overdose Data to Action Project

Utah State University (USU) Extension’s Health Extension: Advocacy, Research, & Teaching (HEART) Initiative in collaboration with faculty from the USU Department of Psychology have been awarded over $250,000 by the Utah Department of Health’s (UDOH) Overdose Data to Action. The project will focus on reducing stigma of Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) in three opioid overdose hotspots across Utah. According to UDOH (2019) rural Carbon and Emery counties (47.7 deaths per 100,000 population) along with urban downtown Ogden (39.1 deaths per 100,000 population) lead the state and are substantially higher than the state average (17.4 deaths per 100,000 population).

HEART will continue to partner with local coalitions and care providers in these areas to reach those experiencing OUD, and family, friends, and community members. The project will provide communities with information about OUD, evidence-based treatment and prevention, and local resources to reduce the stigma around OUD.

Stigma is a major barrier for individuals with SUD (Luoma, 2010), as stigma reduces the likelihood of both seeking and completing treatment as well as maintaining recovery. The project aims to decrease stigma by communicating evidence-based information at in-person community events, with an ultimate goal of decreasing the harm caused by the opioid epidemic by promoting treatment. The project will also evaluate the effectiveness of the stigma-reducing strategies used. This will ensure that the information that is provided is impactful, is communicated effectively, and that HEART continues to provide valuable information to the communities we serve.

For this program, we welcome 2 new team members aboard who are focused solely on this grant and programming. Please welcome, Riley Marshall (Carbon & Emery County); and Chapel Taylor-Olsen, BA (Carbon & Emery County). We are also thrilled to welcome Hailey Judd, MPHc (HEART Graduate Student Intern) to the HEART team this summer to partner on this grant as well as other team projects.

Did You Know? 
May is Mental Health Month

May is Mental Health Month! This is a time to reflect and build our resiliency or coping skills together. It is also a time to reach out to loved ones, family, or friends and talk to share support during difficult times.To learn more and get involved, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness website.

If you or a friend is struggling or just need someone to talk to, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for 24/7 free support. Call 1-800-273-8255 or visit the National Suicide Prevention website for more information.

Community Highlight
Living Well with Chronic Pain Virtual Class

Stanford developed evidence-based Self-Management programs for health that are held across the country. Each course is a 6-week workshop of 2.5 hour long sessions. These classes have been held for over two decades, always in-person. For the first time in their history, the Living Well with Chronic Pain class is being offered in a virtual format to allow participants to take the workshop from home. This class has proven to be effective in reducing participant reports of pain and increasing mobility and function. To find out more about the class, visit the website or contact the program coordinator for the virtual class, Rebbi Burdett, at for more information.

Upcoming Events 
To prevent the spread of illness, all in-person USU Extension events have been postponed through June 1st.
Community Education Dinner - Green River (Webinar)

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020
5:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Visit the website for more information about the webinar event.

Click here to register.
Living Well with Chronic Pain being offered as a virtual class for the first time.

Contact Rebbi Burdett at for more information.
Peer Support Specialist Hybrid Online/Broadcast/In-Person Trainings will start in August 2020.

Contact Maren Voss at for more information.
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 the meeting link.
Utah County (Orem area) and Tooele County are signing up Mentors and Mentees for Health Rocks! starting June 2020.
Contact Maren Voss at for more information.
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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