Background: The opioid crisis is a major public health priority for most United States communities and requires multi-disciplinary and multi-pronged approaches. Despite this, there is considerable unfulfilled potential for engagement of academic pharmacy with community partners to form mutually-beneficial relationships. Objectives: This study sought to determine how an opioid-focused Engaged Department Initiative might increase partnerships with rural community members and positively impact faculty teaching, service, practice and research while addressing a critical public health crisis in northern Minnesota. Methods: A multidisciplinary department at a College of Pharmacy participated in an 18-month Engaged Department Initiative focused on building community partnerships to address the opioid crisis in rural communities of northern Minnesota. This initiative included internal, departmental-specific components, as well as external components focused on meeting opioid-related needs in the community. Results: This initiative resulted in statistically significant increases in faculty understanding of and appreciation for community engagement, as well as the creation of impactful community-led programming focused on prevention and intervention of opioid use disorder. The community partnerships that were formed and strengthened throughout the Engaged Department Initiative have led to continuing opioid-related engagement activities with an ever-increasing number of surrounding communities. Conclusion: An Engaged Department process allowed one department to bring a higher level of attention to community engagement to the entire College of Pharmacy and to incorporate goals and initiatives related to community engagement into a new collegiate strategic plan.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge the dedication and support of the faculty and staff of the Pharmacy Practice and Pharmaceutical Sciences Department, including the members of the community engagement leadership team: Grant Anderson, Tim Stratton, Paul Ranelli, Karen Bastianelli, and Mark Schneiderhan. The authors acknowledge the University of Minnesota - Office for Public Engagement who provided a grant focused on community engagement. The authors acknowledge the statistical analysis assistance of Scott Lumos. The authors declare no conflicts of interest. This work has not been published or presented elsewhere. IRB exemption granted.
© 2018 Elsevier Inc.
- Engaged Department