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OHIO’s Voinovich School awarded $1.5M federal grant for substance abuse prevention

Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs was awarded a $1.5 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to support the implementation of the Strategic Prevention Framework-Partnerships for Success Initiative (SPF-PFS). As part of the award, two community-based substance abuse prevention coalitions in Adams and Lawrence counties will be funded.

“The Adams County Medical Foundation is extremely pleased to receive SAMHSA funding to continue our SPF-PFS work. Our work will have a positive impact on communicating the dangers of underage drinking in Adams County and encourage data-driven decision making among our county’s organizations,” Sherry Stout, executive director of Adams County Medical Foundation, said.

According to the SAMHSA website, the grants are awarded at the community level to increase substance abuse prevention capacity and infrastructure while reducing substance abuse progression.

“This award is an amazing testament to the hard work that the coalition directors in Adams and Lawrence counties did to prepare for the grant. They were dedicated to mobilizing their communities, particularly school superintendents, to collect the data required by SAMHSA to measure outcomes,” Dr. Holly Raffle, project lead and Voinovich School professor, said.

Both coalitions were part of an Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) Mini-Grant Initiative from 2016 through 2019, which provided seed funding to develop community capacity for sustained data collection, analysis and reporting.

“Having strong community partners like Ohio University, Adams County Medical Foundation and Impact Prevention allows us to bring the community coalition model to these two Appalachian communities,” said Bobbie Boyer, deputy director of the Office of Prevention Services at OhioMHAS. “This grant opens more doors for stronger prevention and partnerships to help protect people from substance use disorder in southern Ohio.”

During the OhioMHAS Mini-Grant Initiative, through funding in the state budget from the Ohio Department of Higher Education Appalachian New Economy Partnership (ANEP), the Voinovich School provided intense training and technical assistance on the project at no cost to these communities.

“We are able to demonstrate time and again that the trust and investment made in the Voinovich School by the Ohio legislature and executive branch through the Appalachian New Economy Partnership makes a critical impact to our region,” Mark Weinberg, Voinovich School Dean, said. “By building capacity in these communities with a $33,000 investment of ANEP funding, they were able to attract and leverage an additional $1.5 million in federal funding to support their efforts to prevent and reduce substance abuse.”

This is the latest in local and statewide initiatives made possible through the work of the Voinovich School’s Programmatic Partnership for Community-Based Prevention. Since 2009, the Voinovich School has been involved in a dozen statewide initiatives related to substance use prevention and mental health promotion, alongside the OhioMHAS and various prevention partners, under the direction of Raffle.

 “I am proud that one third of this award will go directly to the coalitions to implement a comprehensive prevention approach that will impact one of the nation’s top substance abuse prevention priorities: underage alcohol use,” Raffle said.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website, underage drinking constitutes major health and safety risks, as alcohol is the most widely abused substance. 

The Programmatic Partnership for Community-Based Prevention at the Voinovich School draws extensively upon the rich array of resources offered by Ohio University – information technology, libraries, research resources, and finance and administration. They integrate the expertise of the engaged faculty and staff within the Voinovich School, as well as those in the broader Ohio University community. In the past decade, the partnership has collaborated with various stakeholders to provide services to 84 Ohio communities.

September 24, 2019
Staff reports