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Forest Trees



In 2016 two Ferris State University college deans, Dr. David Damari, Dean of the Michigan College of Optometry and Dr. Stephen Durst, Dean of the College of Pharmacy discussed the value of collaborative work to address opioid prescribing practices. In an effort to build relationships across the University and in the community, the discussions advanced to include the deans of the College of Health Professions and the College of Arts and Sciences, in addition to Spectrum Health, District Health Department #10 and Community Mental Health – Central Michigan.  From these discussions the Rural Opioid Task Force was developed to increase awareness across the community. The Task Force grew through collaboration with Ferris student groups such as the Criminal Justice Program, Students Against Narcotics, and CREW through Birkam Health.  One of the first tasks was to have Naloxone kits available in all FSU Campus Security vehicles. In 2019 the Task Force was awarded a HRSA Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) grant, funding a one-year community-wide strategic planning process. The Planning Grant project increased associate members to include Ten16 Recovery Services, J.K. Elder & Associates, Samaritan Counseling Services, and Family Health Center. In 2020 this group was awarded a three-year HRSA RCORP Implementation grant to implement this strategic plan. In 2021 the group was awarded a two-year Michigan Health Endowment grant in collaboration with Family Health Care to implement Pharmacy Telehealth and a Pharmacy Residency program. A four-year HRSA FORHP grant was awarded in 2023 to develop a Rural Health Network in the four-county region of Mecosta, Montcalm, Osceola, and Newaygo counties. This grant focuses the work to substance used disorder in four populations, those pregnant, homeless or unhoused, recently released from incarceration, and veterans. In March 2024, Lake County was added to form a five-county region within the HRSA FORHP grant. 

Image by Nikola Jovanovic


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