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Sunday, Jun 16, 2019

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President Nellis announces creation of Ohio University Opioid Task Force

Task Force charged with assessing current University, regional initiatives, identifying best practices and developing solutions-based recommendations


Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis has announced the creation of the Ohio University Opioid Task Force.  

The Task Force, which is composed of both community members and University faculty, staff and administrators from the Athens and Regional Campuses, will join OHIO’s public and private partners to collectively elevate the impact of the region’s opioid-related initiatives.

The group has also been charged by President Nellis to analyze numerous existing efforts and develop future recommendations within the context of the following key areas:

  • Conduct a review of OHIO’s current efforts to combat the opioid epidemic and provide an assessment of untapped University experts and resources that will further position OHIO to be leaders in the region and strong partners within the state;
  • Provide additional coordination of the opioid-related interdisciplinary efforts taking place across OHIO’s campuses, including (but not limited to): education, research, clinical, family and child studies, student life, therapy and community engagement;
  • Leverage existing public-private partnerships across Appalachia, and the state of Ohio, to better identify and implement solutions that address the wide-ranging effects of opioid abuse; and
  • Develop an interdisciplinary model that advances the needs of the campus community’s unique, rural setting.


The creation of the Opioid Task Force aligns with President Nellis’ strategic pathway for building an engagement ecosystem and becoming a positive catalyst for economic and quality of life change for Appalachia.

“Right now, many of our communities are hurting because of this epidemic, and Ohio University has a moral obligation to assist the communities we serve.” said President Nellis. “By forming this task force, we can combat this epidemic in a concerted, coordinated manner and leverage our collective expertise to save lives and enact real change toward the betterment of our region.”

The Opioid Task Force will begin their work in the coming weeks.


Opioid Task Force Membership

Task Force Co-Chairs

Randy Leite
Dean, College of Health Sciences and Professions

Ken Johnson
Dean, Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine

Task Force Membership

Holly Raffle
Associate Professor, Voinovich School

David Hartman
Director, George Hill Counseling Center

Melinda Ford
Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine

Char Kopchick
Campus Involvement Center

Paul Abraham
Regional Campus Representative

Alex Reed
Counseling and Psychological Services

Patti McSteen
Dean of Students Office

Andrew Powers
Ohio University Police Department

Barb Nalazek
Legal Affairs

Sam Dodd
Director, Center for the Arts

Rebecca Robison-Miller
College of Health Sciences and Professions

Amber Epling
Ex-Officio, Office of the President