Dr. Holly Raffle, professor at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, played a key role in the production of the Ohio Opioid Online Curricula Series. Developed by expert healthcare professionals to educate a variety of disciplines, this free 23-part course launched officially in July.
Raffle worked on the Fundamentals of Prevention of Opioid Abuse & Dependence section of the curriculum as an invited content curator.
“I learned so much from being in this group. My colleagues were true experts in prevention; and while the group was diverse in many ways, the members truly respected the talents, beliefs, and backgrounds that each member brought to the work. It was one of the most amazing experiences in my career,” Raffle said.
This curriculum was made possible through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as part of the Opioid State Targeted Response (STR) grant funding allocation created by the 21st Century Cures Act. It took the work of many professionals coming together to make it possible.
According to Julie Spohn, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) state opioid response implementation manager, Raffle was one of approximately 52 Ohio subject matter experts who contributed to the online curricula series. Participating subject matter experts were from a range of specialties, including the medical field, as well as other community systems such as criminal justice, child welfare and first responders.
To coordinate the development and production of the curricula, OhioMHAS partnered with Health Services Advisory Group, an organization with expertise in developing tools and resources to improve healthcare. OhioMHAS also developed Clinical Advisory Groups (CAGs) for each course topic. Each CAG was comprised of roughly three to five Ohio based subject matter experts, from a variety of agencies and settings, including, but not limited to, state agencies, hospitals and other medical settings, and community behavioral health agencies.
As the opioid epidemic keeps shifting and the research is expanding, OhioMHAS and the Voinovich School recognize the importance of staying up-to-date and maintaining involvement.
“The landscape of substance use disorder is changing all the time, so we have to stay current. The Ohio Opioid Online Curricula Series helps to show a comprehensive response to the opioid epidemic. Ohioans who engage in the training get a sense of the opioid response in Ohio, while those from outside of the state get to see exemplars from across Ohio,” Raffle said.
The series highlights evidence-based practices for medication assisted treatment for opioid use disorders, in conjunction with behavioral health services, such as counseling and psychosocial supports.
The format of the course is intentionally simplistic and user friendly, while still covering a variety of knowledge.
“The series covers a vast range of specialties and topics, as it is intended to reach a variety of professionals and community members, regardless of whether the learner has time to complete one, one-hour course or all 23,” Spohn said.
By making the course easily accessible, creators hope it will encourage more people to learn about this pressing issue.
“The courses are also offered in a convenient mode to reduce barriers in receiving the education, as it provides immediate, self-paced education to learners in the comfort of their own workspaces or homes,” Spohn said.
The hope is that this educational platform can inform a variety of stakeholders and help break the stigma surrounding opioid use disorder while bringing community together.
“If we work hard to create nurturing, stigma-free environments, that is prevention as well. The prevention curriculum is designed to help people see the big picture; it shows that there are interventions that go beyond reaching individuals and can actually reach entire communities,” Raffle said.
For more information on the series, view here.
To access the entire free series, click here.