Ohio University forms Opioid Task Force

Staff Report

ATHENS — Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis has announced the creation of the Ohio University Opioid Task Force.

The Task Force, which is composed of both community members and University faculty, staff and administrators from the Athens and Regional Campuses, will join Ohio University’s public and private partners to collectively elevate the impact of the region’s opioid-related initiatives.

The group has also been charged by President Nellis to analyze numerous existing efforts and develop future recommendations within the context of the following key areas:

Conduct a review of OU’s current efforts to combat the opioid epidemic and provide an assessment of untapped University experts and resources that will further position OU to be leaders in the region and strong partners within the state;

Provide additional coordination of the opioid-related interdisciplinary efforts taking place across OU’s campuses, including (but not limited to): education, research, clinical, family and child studies, student life, therapy and community engagement;

Leverage existing public-private partnerships across Appalachia, and the state of Ohio, to better identify and implement solutions that address the wide-ranging effects of opioid abuse; and

Develop an interdisciplinary model that advances the needs of the campus community’s unique, rural setting.

The creation of the Opioid Task Force aligns with President Nellis’ strategic pathway for building an engagement ecosystem and becoming a positive catalyst for economic and quality of life change for Appalachia.

“Right now, many of our communities are hurting because of this epidemic, and Ohio University has a moral obligation to assist the communities we serve.” said President Nellis. “By forming this task force, we can combat this epidemic in a concerted, coordinated manner and leverage our collective expertise to save lives and enact real change toward the betterment of our region.”

The Opioid Task Force will begin their work in the coming weeks.

Opioid Task Force Membership includes, Task Force Co-Chairs Randy Leite, Dean, College of Health Sciences and Professions and Ken Johnson, Dean, Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Other members include: Holly Raffle, Associate Professor, Voinovich School; David Hartman, Director, George Hill Counseling Center; Melinda Ford, Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine; Char Kopchik, Campus Involvement Center; Paul Abraham, Regional Campus Representative; Alex Reed, Counseling and Psychological Services; Patti McSteen, Dean of Students Office; Andrew Powers, Ohio University Police Department; Barb Nalazek, Legal Affairs; Sam Dodd, Director, Center for the Arts; Rebecca Robison-Miller, College of Health Sciences and Professions; and Amber Epling, Ex-Officio, Office of the President.

Staff Report