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Empowered Communities Initiative

Enrollment Status: Full/Closed

About the Program

The Empowered Communities Initiative (ECI or "Empowered Communities") involves a three-year intervention in Connersville, Fayette County, Indiana, with the dual aims of reducing prescription opioids use and increasing patient access to addiction treatment and recovery services in a rural area.

Five Focus Areas

  1. Community Collaboration Through Strategic Doing
  2. Prescriber Training
  3. Patient Empowerment Through Motivational Interviewing
  4. Pharmacist Instruction (and standing order adoption, including training of family and friends of people who inject drugs on the use of naloxone)
  5. Capacity Building Through Process Improvement (to ensure timely treatment of addiction)

Specifically, Empowered Communities aims to create and facilitate community collaboration that sets strategic direction for health and mobilizes local resources to achieve desired outcomes; educate the community’s providers on best practices for responsible prescribing, including training for patient education to avoid prescription opioid addiction; empower patients to change addictive behaviors through proven motivational interviewing techniques; instruct local retail pharmacies on the state-wide naloxone standing order to increase naloxone practical availability; and build capacity for the timely treatment of those who do become addicted to opioids, either through illicit or prescribed drugs, with the implementation of lean process improvement methodologies.

Program Update

3/12/2020:  As of March 2020, much progress has been made in Fayette County in relation to community collaboration as well as building capacity for treatment across organizations. The Empowered Communities Initiative (ECI) used Strategic Doing™, a collaboration-building platform designed by a Purdue University professor, to assist stakeholders in finding additional ways to work together to make small-step changes to address the opioid crisis. ECI's Lead Quality Advisor Tatlin Resetich said, "We are about halfway through the ECI and have made great progress in Connersville as we work toward our goals of decreasing prescription opioid misuse and increasing access to treatment and recovery services for those suffering from substance use disorder. Community stakeholders continue to stay motivated in spite of barriers and setbacks." Meridian Health Services, the Connersville Police Department, the Fayette County Probation Department, the Choices Emergency Response Team, and other stakeholders are using tools provided by the initiative to create strategy maps and uncover resources. One of those tools, Purdue Healthcare Advisors' Lean Daily Improvement, has been adopted by many of the stakeholders to streamline their processes, allowing for more efficient communication between stakeholders to increase patient access to treatment. Many individuals have been trained to be certified as Lean Daily Improvement Facilitators capable of improving daily processes. PHA also has facilitated a multi-day Rapid Improvement Event to develop a process for a new community resource network. Additional training and workshops are planned for the second half of the initiative.

To read about Purdue Healthcare Advisors' work on opioids in Allen County, Ind., and Tippecanoe County, Ind., visit the Small Care Neighborhood-Opioids Response initiative.


Empowered Communities is funded by the Office of the Secretary, Office of Minority Health, under funding opportunity number MP-CPI-17-004, CFDA number 93.137.

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