Prevention Insights will work with agencies in the rural Indiana county of Fayette to plan the groundwork for improved access to opioid-related prevention services. The project will focus on reducing morbidity and mortality associated with opioid overdoses by improving the county’s prevention infrastructure and available services.
Dr. Ruth Gassman, Executive Director of Prevention Insights, and Dr. Alison Greene, an assistant professor in the department of Applied Health Sciences at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington and affiliate member of Prevention Insights, have been awarded a one-year $200,000 federal planning grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for the Fayette County Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Planning project.
Prevention Insights will partner with Family Services and Prevention Programs (FSPP) who will serve as the community lead agency. Continued funding is anticipated in the future to implement, evaluate, and sustain the strategic plan that is developed during the planning phase.
“We are enthusiastic to apply our academic research-based knowledge in working with concerned community members in Fayette County, including professionals, healthcare organizations, the law enforcement community, schools, and ministerial groups,” said Greene.
According to Greene, the challenge to effectively applying research-based programs, policies, and practices in rural regions is adapting them to properly fit the particular culture. One-size-fits-all approaches are generally not effective in rural communities, therefore the plan needs to be tailored to reduce the harm associated with opioid use in Fayette County.
“A systemic planning model outlined by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention will be used to complete a comprehensive analysis of the opportunities and gaps related to opioid misuse in Fayette County,” said Gassman.
IU researchers will use local data to assess the strengths and gaps in the region, adapt evidence-based practices to fit the local rural culture, establish plans to enhance the rigor of implementation through training, technical assistance, and evaluation, and finally assist in delineating strategies for long-term sustainability.
“Community-university partnerships like this demonstrate how IU can be an important asset to the citizens of Indiana,” said Gassman.