The Colorado AmeriCorps VISTA Community Opioid Response Program (CORP) is a statewide initiative to support local communities that are implementing strategies to reduce the impact of opioid abuse. In the 2018-2019 service year, 3 AmeriCorps VISTAs will work with partners of the Area Health Education Centers (AHECs) on capacity in local settings. The work will be focused on counties hardest hit by the opioid epidemic.
Central Colorado Area Health Education Center (CCAHEC) is the awardee for the Corporation for National Community Service (CNCS) grant with Serve Colorado. The CORP relies on a partnership between CCAHEC, the Regional Area Health Education Centers (AHECs), Rise Above Colorado, the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention (the Consortium), and the Colorado Attorney General’s Substance Abuse Trend and Response Task Force (Task Force).
The overarching goal of the partnership is to link the existing infrastructures of the AHECs, Rise Above, the Consortium, and the Task Force with local community coalitions. The CORP will use a “constellation model” approach that has been identified as a best practice, designed to bring together multiple groups or sectors and work toward a shared goal.
The CORP grant and AmeriCorps VISTAs will help the three partners increase support to local communities working to reduce the impact of opioid misuse.
AmeriCorps VISTA Activities
During the course of the program, three evidenced-based strategies will be used. The AmeriCorps VISTAs will work with local non-profits in the community to:
- coordinate and facilitate meetings with local stakeholders to identify opioid-related concerns
- explore opportunities for sustainable grants in the field of opioid use disorder (OUD)
- collect and manage data pertaining to opioid use, misuse, and potential deterrent strategies
The AmeriCorps VISTAs will also disseminate related messaging campaigns; initiate support, and enhance community-based collaborations; and assist in other opioid misuse efforts.
Goals and Performance Measures
The AmeriCorps VISTAs and partner organizations will work to jointly achieve pre-established goals.
- Community Partnerships –VISTAs will collectively engage 30 regional organizations to improve their understanding of opioids as well as potential strategies to be implemented throughout their community. Nine of the organizations are hoped to report that capacity building helped the organizations be more efficient with partner collaborations, financial resources, technology use, and volunteer recruitment.
- Data Collection and Research–VISTAs will work to develop a collection of data related to the opioid epidemic, housed at the host site. VISTAs will be easily accessible sources of information regarding treatment, overdose statistics, and local developments.
- Volunteer Recruitment – In addition to raising awareness, VISTAs will aid in recruiting volunteers with partner organizations through event coordination, local advertising, and targeted outreach.
Cori Wells, Central Colorado AHEC AmeriCorps Program Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org, 720-728-5236