Leaders from 16 counties across Indiana are working together to address high rates of substance use disorder and opioid-involved overdoses in their communities through a new initiative called the Indiana Communities Advancing Recovery EffortsExtension of Community Healthcare Outcomes (IN CAREs ECHO). ECHO is an evidence-based learning model used around the country to disseminate best practices among medical and public health professionals.
The project is a collaboration between the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health’s IUPUI ECHO Center and the Indiana Department of Health’s Division of Trauma and Injury Prevention. The program creates a learning community that shares community-based solutions that have demonstrated effectiveness. The ECHO cohort meets virtually via Zoom for 90 minutes once a month to discuss public health strategies and receive group feedback on local case studies.
The IN CAREs ECHO includes key sectors within local communities such as local health departments, EMS, healthcare providers, law enforcement, government officials and non-profit agencies to learn about successful interventions from each other, adopt initiatives locally and advance community recovery efforts across Indiana.
Topics will include:
- Eliminating the stigma of substance use disorder;
- Increasing access to naloxone, the opioid-overdose reversal medication;
- Using data to better understand overdose deaths
“A major challenge in communities is caused by organizations within counties working in silos,” said Alexander Buchanan, IN CAREs project manager. “The IN CAREs ECHO creates an opportunity for community leaders to break out of those silos and come together to address their challenges with regards to substance use disorder and overdose.”
The first ECHO session took place on Tuesday, February 25, but due to COVID-19 the program was put on a hold to allow community leaders to address emergent pandemic needs. The IN CAREs ECHO resumed on Tuesday, August 25, with over 135 participants in attendance.
IN CAREs ECHO connects a group of 12 hub team experts who have experience in responding to the opioid epidemic and reducing opioid-involved overdoses with the 16 spoke teams made up of key members of the community.
“Being part of IN CAREs allows for many sectors dealing with addiction to come together and work towards common solutions,” said Chief Tom Synan, police chief of Newtown Ohio Police Department and a hub team member. “Sharing experiences, you find someone else has faced that same challenge and see how they were able to overcome it. Building a network of like-minded and passionate people translates to real, actionable steps that can be taken back to help each of our communities. There is never a meeting you do not walk away from saying to yourself, ‘I never thought of that.’ It is the benefit of solving community problems with a community.”
The IN CARES ECHO Hub Team Includes:
- Alex Buchanan, MA, IN CARES ECHO Project Manager, Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health
- Amnah Anwar, MBBS, MPH, Senior Director & Epidemiologist, Indiana Rural Health Association
- Andrea Janota, MPH, IUPUI ECHO Center Interim Director, Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health
- Benjamin Gonzalez, MPH, MHA, Administrative Fellow – Steele Institute for Health Innovation, Geisinger
- Britt Borden, MD, Addictionologist, Community Physician/MOUD Provider
- Kelly Hans, HIV Prevention Outreach Coordinator, Scott County Health Department
- Kelly Mollaun, Mayor, Lawrenceburg County
- Tom Synan, Police Chief, Newtown Ohio Police Department
- Thomas Felts, JD, Judge, Allen County Circuit Court
- Paul Miller, Firefighter/EMT, Crawfordsville Fire Department
- Stephanie Rubel, MPH, Project Manager, CDC Division of Overdose Prevention
The Indiana Department of Health Team includes:
- Katie Hokanson, BS, Director, Trauma and Injury Prevention Division
- Klaudia Wojciechowska, BS, Drug Overdose Prevention (DOP) Program Director
- Carrie Bennett, BS, Lead DOP Community Outreach Coordinator
- Laura Hollowell, BA, MA, DOP Community Outreach Coordinator
- James Carroll, BS, DOP Community Outreach Coordinator
For more information, visit http://www.echo.iu.edu