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Wendy Welch
May 21, 2019 : Ohio Southern to Host Workshop on Opioid Impact on Children in Appalachia
Ohio University Southern is hosting a special workshop for area employees who are on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic working with families and children. The workshop, "Opioid Epidemic Impact on Children in Appalachia," is funded by a Rural Business Development grant from the USDA.
Sarah Diamond Burroway, director of Southern’s Workforce Success initiative said the session will provide attendees with information gleaned from research on rural Appalachia. “The region’s opioid struggles have created new issues for children who lose parents to long term treatment, overdose death, or incarceration and we hope the session brings new information to our community workforce who deal directly with children and families,” Diamond Burroway said.
The featured speaker for the workshop, which will be held Wednesday, May 29th, is Wendy Welch, author of Fall or Fly: The Strangely Hopeful Story of Foster Care and Adoption in Appalachia.”  Welch will share insights the foster care system, and the strengths and limitations of policy that guides it. Her book, published by Ohio University Press, also discusses advocacy related to foster care and supports for children impacted by opioids.
The workshop will also feature a presentation by founders of a special program for children affected by the opioid crisis.  Kristi Whitaker, special education assistant and Jalina Wheeler, counselor, co-founded “Kids Rising Up Through Support and Healing,” or KRUSH at Russell-McDowell Elementary School in Flatwoods, KY.  KRUSH is a special program designed to support children whose parents are incarcerated or impacted by Substance Use Disorder.
Nicole Pennington, dean of Ohio Southern and Interim Executive Dean of Regional Higher Education, said the USDA grant provides needed resources to provide training for people “who work in the helping industries.” Pennington said, “Southern understands training resources for employers in our community are often limited and workshops such as this provide an excellent opportunity to bring relevant information to our tri-state workforce.”
The workshop will be which includes nurses, teachers, social workers, counselors, first responders, children’s services workers, and people who work in the foster care system. In addition to those working in the field, local area college and university students pursuing careers in the targeted disciplines are invited to attend. The workshop is set for Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at Ohio University Southern’s Ironton Campus, located at 1804 Liberty Avenue.  Sign-in begins at 9:30 a.m. with the workshop beginning at 10:00 a.m. in the Bowman Auditorium of the Collins Center.  Advance registration is required by calling 740-533-4593, or, via email to
Continuing education credits are pending for nursing, social work, counselors, and teachers. For more information about continuing education, contact Burroway, 740-533-4593. Ohio University School of Nursing is an approved provider of continuing nursing education by the Ohio Nurses Association an accredited approver of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation. (OBN-001-91) (OH-455, 2/1/2020).