Building vital communities that improve individual and population health and well being
JBS’s Community and Rural Vitality Center provides technical assistance and evaluation services that support the well-being of communities—especially rural, frontier, and Indigenous communities and populations that are hard to reach and underserved. A particular focus for our work is helping communities improve health care services along the full continuum of mental and substance use disorder prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery. Our work also targets improvements in maternal and child health.
We partner with communities to define the challenge they face and their objectives for change. Our researchers apply a rigorous and practical approach to assessing what is and is not working in a community. We collect, synthesize, and analyze data to present findings in understandable formats so that the community can make informed decisions on what actions to take. Our technical assistance experts then tailor evidence-based and best-practice interventions to fit each community’s distinct needs.
We know how important it is for us to be familiar with the communities we work with in terms of cultures, languages, strengths, and challenges. Acknowledgement and respect for their unique and particular identities allows us to meet them where they are and to deliver assistance in ways that make sense, align with their goals, and will be accepted.
Training and technical assistance on mental health and substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery
Development of resources, tools, and trainings
High quality data collection and analysis, research, and evaluation
Data reporting, visualization, and dissemination
Program design, implementation, and sustainability
Social determinants of health, health equity, and stigma reduction
Community capacity building, especially for hard-to-reach populations and rural and tribal communities
Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP)–TA
Since 2018, we have provided technical assistance to nine cohorts of RCORP grantees focused on reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with opioid use in their rural communities. We have responded to more than 9,000 assistance requests, sharing evidence-based and sustainable interventions to help communities build their capacity and increase access to behavioral health services and other supports. We provide developmentally staged, strengths-based technical assistance that is guided by our nuanced understanding of a community’s needs, organizational capacity, available community resources, and unique context and culture.
Real Results: Pivoting to Provide Technical Assistance Through the Pandemic
No recent event has highlighted our ability to successfully pivot as well as the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to the rapidly evolving situation, we formed an internal workgroup that met regularly to curate resources and to plan technical assistance, providing stability to grantees and ensuring their needs continued to be met. We delivered services on such topics as: mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on the rate of drug overdose; delivering services during a disaster; emerging epidemiological trends in COVID-19 for people who use drugs; addressing pandemic-related workforce stress and turnover; and ensuring continuity of care during the pandemic.