Health & Wellness

USU's HEART Initiative and Substance Use Disorder at Blue Plate Research, August 19

By Thomas Sorenson |

Maren Wright Voss (left) from USU Extension speaks with Becca Brown, Education and Training Director at Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness (USARA). Voss will present on USU Extension's HEART Initiative at the next Blue Plate Research event on August 19.

Opioid addiction programs will be the focus of the next Blue Plate Research event hosted by Utah State University. Maren Voss, a health and wellness faculty member with USU Extension, will share research insights in these areas.

The event will highlight the HEART Initiative, a USU program that partners with communities to address the opioid epidemic and other public health issues. It will be held virtually on Thursday, Aug. 19, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and will include a presentation and a live Q&A session.

Those interested in attending can RSVP to receive the Zoom link at

The initiative uses four pillars to address opioid use and support individuals with substance use disorder:

  • Stigma reduction and harm reduction, such as community outreach programs in partnership with the Carbon & Emery Opioid & Substance Use Coalition, and the Ogden Civic Action Network.
  • Strengthening community ties, including community-led pain education and empathy classes, and partnering with local organizations.
  • Prevention and education, like the Pain Education and Opioid Monitoring Program that serves veterans in Emery and Tooele counties.
  • Resilience building through evidence-based practices and trainings.

Voss will lead the presentation and share some of the successes of the initiative and her work, which focuses on the administration of addiction and pain management courses.

Voss was also featured on a recent episode of the Instead podcast, produced by the Utah State University Office of Research. During the 42-minute episode, Voss walks listeners through a brief timeline of opioid addiction in the United States, what can be learned talking to people who have struggled with opioid abuse, how doctors can approach the health crisis, and the evidence-based programs developed and administered by Extension’s HEART Initiative to aid in harm reduction.


Thomas Sorenson
Research Team Lead
Office of Research


Thomas Sorenson
Research Team Lead
Office of Research


Extension 330stories Utah 323stories Health 252stories Mental Health 59stories

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