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Holladay Journal

How healthy is Holladay? Coalition uses data to help bolster well-being of residents

May 08, 2023 10:21AM ● By Zak Sonntag

The group is also gearing up to promote a jump rope event with the Holladay-Lions Recreation Center. (Stock photo)

Happy Healthy Holladay Coalition is a mouthful of a name, but it’s surprisingly fun to say aloud. 

And despite its alliterative playfulness, the group—a civic organization whose mission is to bolster mental, physical and social well-being—is tackling serious issues.

Happy Healthy Holladay (HHH) presented new data in April showing that city residents are coping with above average levels of negative health outcomes. 

For instance, drug and opioid related deaths in Holladay occur at a significantly higher frequency rate per capita relative to the countywide population, according to an HHH report presented to the city council in April.

Additional problem areas include higher rates of asthma, hypertension, suicide, depression prevalence and other negative outcomes compared to the countywide population on a per capita basis. 

“We want to address those problem areas,” said Holly Smith, Holladay assistant city manager and HHH chair. “We’re really trying to look at data to inform the coalition activities.”  

The data is drawn from a wide variety of sources—including Salt Lake County Health Department, Utah Department of Health, Census Bureau, Utah Healthy Places index, American Cancer Society and the U.S. Department of Labor.

“There is a lot of health data out there. But what’s difficult is that for people who are not in the public health arena, that data can be overwhelming,” said Smith, who explained that the coalition’s partnerships help it compute and work with data.

By partnering with SLCO Health Department, HHH is able to localize and contextualize health statistics as a starting point to create targeted programing to improve local health outcomes for residents.

Although rather than creating new programs, for now Smith says HHH is focused on enhancing and promoting existing programs through partner organizations. 

For example, the group will promote and market programs like the Holladay Branch Library’s gun lock program and its Naloxone kits for opioid addiction recovery; and the Holladay Unified Fire Authority’s “Baby Sitting 101” class.

The group is also gearing up to promote a jump rope event with the Holladay-Lions Recreation Center, with tutorials, challenges and free jump ropes the group hopes will encourage more physical activity for residents.

Despite health challenges, the data indicates that Holladay is a bright spot in other areas of healthy living. It fares better than the county at large in areas like lower teen pregnancy rates, fewer child injuries, more vegetables consumed, along with lower death rates from lung, breast and prostate cancers. 

Happy Healthy Holladay Coalition’s big 2023 goal is achieve the “Healthy Utah Community” designation from the Utah League of Cities and Towns.

The award will require the city to show progress and achievements in categories related to active living, access to healthy food and mental health support.

To this end, Smith meets monthly with other community health coalitions to glean insight and support. 

“We are learning things from other coalitions that we can bring back to ours,” said Smith. λ