College Receives HRSA Grant to Combat Opioid Epidemic in East Tennessee

Clinical Assistant Professor Sharon Davis

Clinical Assistant Professor Sharon Davis received an award from the US Health Resources and Services Administration. The project focuses on the opioid epidemic in East Tennessee, which has had a staggering impact on infants, children, adolescents, and adults, along with families, communities, and professional workforces (e.g., healthcare providers, judicial systems, and law enforcement).

The purpose of Davis’ project is to launch a consortium, co-led by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Nursing and community members representing ten rural Tennessee counties identified by the CDC as being at risk for HIV and Hepatitis C infections due to injection drug use.

Once the consortium is developed, a detailed analysis will be conducted and then a comprehensive strategic plan and workforce plan will be developed. It will address prevention, treatment, and recovery services and access to care. Additionally, a sustainability plan will be completed so that consortium activities can be operationalized beyond the one-year planning period.

Results and resources will be disseminated to consortium members and the broader community in the targeted areas, and health care provider training will be developed and delivered on how to effectively identify, assess, and manage substance use disorders. Education on the risks and side effects of prescription and illicit opioids, along with methods for proper administration of naloxone, will be provided to community health educators, who will then be able to train others in their communities.