Starting from Ground Zero: Building an Academic-Community Partnership to Address Addiction in Delaware County, Indiana

Jean Marie Place, Associate Professor of Health Education and Promotion, Nutrition and Health Science, Ball State University, Raegen Monk, undergraduate student in Health Science, Ball State University.

In less than a year, personnel of Ball State University and service professionals, practitioners, and administrators of community organizations, as well as the general public and people in recovery from substance use disorders, came together to form the Addictions Coalition of Delaware County.  We will discuss how we organized a community-wide symposium on substance use disorders – and how we leveraged this ‘coming together’ of stakeholders to create a coalition of members dedicated to making sure the symposium was not a ‘one and done’ event.  We will discuss how administration and analysis of stakeholder surveys was instrumental in developing a mission statement and strategic objectives.  We will also discuss university resources that complement coalition-building efforts and our real-life, honest experience in navigating institutional bureaucracy to effectively utilize such resources.  Finally, we will discuss the successes we have achieved during our first year and a pattern for others interested in implementing a similar academic-community partnership.

“Our presentation will contribute to the summit theme by discussing addiction and substance use as a common problem that affects every community. We will discuss how coalition-building with both academic and community stakeholders contributes to solutions for addressing addiction, which improves the community in which we all live.  Coalition-building is part of coming together for the common good of the community.  Our presentation also contributes to community engagement in higher education because we will focus on how coalition-building aims to build authentic, constructive, and productive relationships among students, faculty, university staff, and community partners.

Our presentation’s purpose is to describe how our academic-community coalition began and grew within the first year of operation.  We will describe key elements of our process in an effort to provide a template for others considering building a coalition in their respective communities.  Our objectives include the following: 1) Participants will be able to discuss the role of stakeholder surveys in informing mission statements and strategic objectives; 2) Participants will be able to describe the role of a community-wide symposium in being a catalyst for coalition-building efforts; 3) Participants will be able to identify university resources that can be leveraged for coalition-building efforts, including student-driven projects, guidance on logo design, the assistance of student interns, guidance on website development, and logistic support; 4) Participants will be able to name the drivers behind our coalition successes, which can be replicated in other environments.

We will share artifacts from our coalition’s first year, including a photo poster display, as well as survey and PowerPoint templates that can be modified and used by others.

The presenter is qualified to present based on her experience as a researcher who engages in community-based participatory research.  She also co-leads the coalition and has been present in the process of building the coalition from the outset.  The presenter is an expert in addiction services in Delaware County, Indiana.

In this presentation, we will have a poster to present and have copies of the artifacts to show attendees.  We will be sure to adhere to the time limit for Showcase Session presentations.  The four presenters will equally share the time and will each present on a separate objective.

The audience for this presentation includes those interested in service-learning and community engagement, or who have a specific interest in coalition-building or addiction.  We welcome those with all levels of experience in service-learning and community engagement, although this talk will be more focused on information useful for beginners.”