BLOOMINGTON – Dr. Priscilla A. Barnes, associate professor in Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington’s Department of Applied Health Science, has been awarded a $1 million Health Resources and Services Association (HRSA) grant to bring health care services to Daviess County, Indiana. The project’s priority populations are residents living with an active addiction and individuals living in long-term recovery.
Daviess County, which is located in the southwestern part of the state and in 2019 had a population of 33,351 individuals, is a designated Health Professional Shortage Area and Mental Health Professional Shortage Area. The Daviess Advances Recovery Access Consortium (DARAC) will address this shortage through its 15 consortium members, including four health care providers and two state agencies, with Daviess County Peer Recovery Services Program as the core operating agency. The project will implement and test the efficacy of a coordinated care model to increase the number of individuals receiving peer support services and mental and/or behavioral health services and reduce the number of emergency department admissions due to unintentional overdoses or other related substance use concerns.
This grant continues an extensive collaboration between Dr. Barnes’ team at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington, the IU Center for Rural Engagement, and the Daviess County community, with support from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, to develop a community health improvement plan and implement strategies to address the community’s greatest health priorities.
“Community-academic partnerships are essential in creating participatory approaches to ensure that the voices of local residents are heard and represented in the development and sustainability of programs, administrative processes, and local policies,” says Dr. Barnes.
Consortium partners include REAL Recovery, DRPERK INC/Serenity House, Central Christian Church (Recovery Central), United Way of Daviess County, Daviess County Connections, Purdue Extension–Daviess County, Daviess County Economic Development Corporation, Mental Health Association of Indiana (Mental Health America of Indiana), Indiana Department of Health Division of Chronic Disease, Primary Care, and Rural Health, Daviess County Hospital (dba Daviess Community Hospital), Good Samaritan Hospital (Samaritan Center), PACE Community Action Agency, Inc., Daviess County Community Corrections, St. Vincent Evansville–Ascension Health, and Indiana University Bloomington.
Jimmy Hay, president of the board of REAL Recovery, says, “We at REAL Recovery (Reaching Every Addict with Life) are very grateful and excited for the opportunity to be partners with DARAC and our community. The REAL Recovery Board invested a lot of time in building a recovery community organization. It is important that the voice of the people in recovery be heard. We need to ensure services are offered to help individuals in active use as well as for individuals in long-term recovery.”
“I believe that the HRSA grant will greatly benefit and strengthen the community partnerships that have formed through the writing of this grant, and it will offer greatly needed resources for those affected by substance use and mental health problems,” says Brian Peek, Daviess Community Hospital Certified Addiction Peer Recovery Coach (CAPRC II) and Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC). “The partnerships of the consortium of Daviess County will also help change the attitudes and policies surrounding recovery and help create a better Recovery Oriented System of Care for our county.”
Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington Dean David Allison says, “Despite the pandemic of COVID-19, we must not forget the other pandemics plaguing humanity–the scourges of opioid addiction, of violence and self-harm, of disparity and despair throughout the world and right here at home in the rural communities of Indiana. Priscilla Barnes is a champion of engagement. As a professor, she consistently engages her students and helps them to engage with our fellow citizens, with our fellow Hoosiers, with those in need, and especially with those who might otherwise be isolated. And she herself deeply engages in these communities. She is not a ‘fly-by‘ investigator who collects some data and leaves. She is a vital contributing member to the communities of living people with whom she collects data, from whom she learns, and to whom she helps deliver vitally needed resources, including the most important of all… hope. There is no greater gift, and I could not be more proud and grateful than I am to count Professor Priscilla Barnes as a member of our team.”