Ohio – and especially rural Ohio – faces formidable challenges when it comes to health and wellness. Helping to alleviate Ohio’s myriad health and wellness issues has long been a priority for the Voinovich School. We provide training, technical assistance and evaluation services to assist health-related programs better understand and meet local needs. Examples of our work in this area include:
- Healthy Children and Families
The Voinovich School provides evaluation and project redesign services for many initiatives focused on improving the health of children age 0 -18. This includes projects to reduce infant mortality, maternal smoking and childhood trauma, particularly in families dealing with addiction and/or incarceration. Others focus on improving childhood food access and nutrition, increasing behavioral health services, and preventing teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
- Substance Use Disorders and Mental Health Promotion
The Voinovich School has worked with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services for more than 10 years to bolster community-led efforts to identify, prevent and respond to issues related to substance use, including opiates, and mental health. This includes providing training, technical assistance and evaluation services for community-based initiatives, youth-led coalitions and public entities located in 69 Ohio counties. Specifically, we work with groups interested in utilizing a data-driven process to: assess and prioritize community needs and assets; select and implement evidence-based programs, policies and practices that are culturally relevant and sustainable; and monitor and evaluate outcomes.
- The Ohio Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Prevention and Promotion (The Center) supports and connects the broader prevention community across Ohio and is coordinated through a partnership between The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS), Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service, and the Pacific Institute of Research and Evaluation (PIRE). The Center uses a centralized, current, and culturally relevant approach to build infrastructure and capacity to address substance use disorder, early intervention, and promote mental, emotional, and behavioral health among Ohioans.
- Chronic Disease
Southeast Ohio has higher than average rates of many chronic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. The Voinovich School has worked with others inside Ohio University and throughout the region to determine their prevalence, identify barriers to care, and develop culturally appropriate approaches to preventing the onset and progression of these illnesses through medical and lifestyle interventions. The School is also currently working with the Ohio Department of Health on a five-year, statewide needs assessment to improve care for people living with HIV / AIDS.
As part of our educational mission, the Voinovich School engages MPA students and Voinovich Undergraduate Research Scholars to work closely with faculty and staff on these projects. Experiences vary, but opportunities include conducting and analyzing surveys, focus groups, and interviews; learning to use specialized statistical software; assisting with community workshop facilitation; and developing public reports, presentations and infographics.