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Well Connected Communities

Utah State University Extension was one of five universities selected nationwide to advance a Culture of Health in conjunction with Robert Wood Johnson and 4-H.

The partnership will focus on three elements:

  1. designing a sustainable network structure to promote health and well-being in communities across the nation;
  2. creating and disseminating tools for healthier communities; and
  3. launching a training curriculum for local community advocates.

This intention of this approach is to increase the impact, and improve outcomes of local Health Councils to drive impactful, sustainable changes.

Utah hosted a competitive process from which three community partners were selected. These communities ranged in readiness to launch a health initiative from a planning phase to an implementation stage to a state of innovation. Each community will work from their respective levels of readiness to grow their health and community organizing capacity between September of 2017 to April of 2019.

Leadership Team

This initiative is lead by PI, Sandra Sulzer, Assistant Professor of Health & Wellness in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Science, and USU Extension. The leadership team includes Jaqueline Neid-Avila of the Wasatch Front, Stacey MacArthur from the state 4-H Office, Cindy Nelson of Beaver County Extension, and Carrie Durward from the Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Science Department of USU.

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Utah’s Culture of Health Communities

Zurishaddai GarciaClearfield Area, Davis County - Innovator
Zurishaddai Garcia
Community Project Leader

Background: The Clearfield area of Davis County has a population of more than 63,075.  Hispanic/Latino individuals make up 16.2% of the area.  Davis County is exemplary when it comes to having a community approach to assessing and addressing community needs.
Resources: The county has a Davis4Health steering committee that provides guidance for community health improvement efforts such as the Davis County Community Health Assessment (CHA) and Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP).
Data: In 2013 a Community Health Status Assessment was performed lead by the Davis County Health Department in coordination with community partners.  Many other health data sources were used to assess health outcomes and factors (over 50) as well as qualitative data.  The results of this health assessment were used to create the 2014-2018 CHIP.  The plan’s four health priorities (selected by community partners) for Davis County are suicide, obesity, access to mental (behavioral) health services, and air quality. 
Focus: Suicide-prevention will be the health priority addressed by the Clearfield Area Latino Community of Health initiative through mental health and wellbeing education. We will bring community youth and adults together with members of existing county-level councils and coalitions to form a council which values and is led by the voice of the Latino community. 

Suzi PrevedelUintah and Ouray Reservation, Uintah and Duchesne Counties - Implementer
Suzi Prevedel
Community Project Leader

Background: The Culture of Health grant will benefit the local community living on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation by directly engaging youth to help create healthier communities.
Resources: The Culture of Health Youth Coordinator and youth leaders will become part of the Ute Tribe Wellness Coalition and work closely with the Painted Horse Diabetes Prevention Program.
Data: Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in Utah. Approximately 145,000 Utah adults (about 7.1% or one in 14) have been diagnosed with diabetes. In Duchesne and Uintah Counties, about 10.2% of the population have been diagnosed with diabetes. Native Americans make up 4.5% of the population in Duchesne County and 7.8% of Uintah County. One in 10 Native Americans in Utah have diabetes. 9.4% of the adults are diagnosed with diabetes on the Uintah and Ouray Reservations.
Focus: The new Culture of Health Youth Coordinator position will assess current youth programming, identify community assets, and lead youth in Health and Wellness activities around Diabetes Prevention.

Christine JensenEmery County - Planner
Christine Jensen
Community Project Leader

Background: Emery County is a rural county in Eastern Utah with a large land mass and limited population. It is approximately the size of the state of Delaware with 10,500 residents. Its economy is based on coal mining, which at this time is nearly non-existent, and two coal-fired power plants. Trucking is a subsidiary of the mining industry but with only one mine open, many jobs have been eliminated. Many of the residents are older as younger families move to where there are jobs.

Resources: There are no hospitals in Emery county. There are two medical clinics staffed by physician assistants or nurse practitioners, and one mental health facility that operates as a satellite office. There is a shortage of primary care providers and mental health care providers, and no substance abuse treatment centers. The nearest hospital is 30 miles away from the county seat. Health insurance is limited and many lack access to basic health care.

Data: From 2013-15 Utah ranked seventh in the nation for opioid deaths. There were 12.5 deaths for every 100,000 residents in Utah in 2015. Emery/Carbon counties had a rate of 47.3 deaths per 100,000, the highest in the state.

Focus: Emery County will be developing an action coalition around opioid addiction and misuse. Often operating as a satellite to the more populous, neighboring Carbon County, this initiative will help Emery County to launch one of their first local efforts to support health and wellness as a local cultural priority.

Further Information

Contact Us

Sandra SulzerPrincipal Investigator: Dr. Sandra Sulzer
Department of Kinesiology & Health Science
7000 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322

Phone: 435-797-2925
Fax: 435-797-3759
Twitter: @DrSulzer

Sandra Sulzer
Co-Principal Investigator: Stacey MacArthur
Extension 4-H Volunteer Developement Specialist
4900 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322

Phone: 435-797-2202