Addressing the Opioid Use Epidemic

Recently, Indiana has been in the news due to our rising rates of opioid use and overdose. To explore this issue, faculty and staff at the Fairbanks School of Public Health authored the Report on the Opioid Epidemic in Indiana and Marion County (September 2016) in partnership with the Fairbanks Foundation.

The Fairbanks School of Public Health is collaborating with the Indiana State Health Department and Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction to evaluate federally funded opioid prevention and treatment programs in order to measure impact and improve effectiveness.

To obtain an accessible version of this report, please email

We are working with more than 15 counties to develop syringe exchanges and primary prevention activities.

Founding Dean Paul Halverson and Associate Dean Joan Duwve are serving in key advisory capacities to the state and nation.

Assessing the Evidence: Health Impact Assessments (HIAs)

Students and faculty conducted a Health Impact Assessment in the Northeast Indianapolis Avondale Meadows Neighborhood (a food desert). The data were used to obtain a Tax Increment Financing District designation from the Indianapolis City Council and to successfully recruit a grocery store into the neighborhood that opened in the spring of 2017.

We also worked with Health by Design and Indy Connect on legislation to support transit expansion in Marion County. The legislation was passed in November 2016 and the Indianapolis City Council is working on implementing the expanded transit plans.

Health Impact Assessments Map

We completed an HIA with the Northwest Neighborhood to design a Quality of Life Plan for the neighborhood. From the community surveys nine action areas were identified. We have continued to work with the housing and food access committees.

An HIA was also part of an EPA grant the city of Indianapolis received to evaluate the Northwest Area for brownfield redevelopment. The recommendations were used and now the City has a request for redevelopment proposal out for bids.

IU FSPH is the home of the Chronicles of Health Impact Assessment, the first journal focused on HIAs. The journal is a partnership with the Society of Practitioners of Health Impact Assessment (SOPHIA).