Applied Research

Appalachian Rural Opioid Planning Consortium Community Assessment & Planning Project

The Appalachian Rural Opioid Planning Consortium (Consortium) was formed to conduct assessment and planning for service enhancement and development through a grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) provided to Prestera Center in partnership with Westbrook Health Services, Marshall University, local county coalition members, and Family Resource Network organizational partners.   The goal of the Consortium is to reduce opioid morbidity and mortality in rural communities in West Virginia (WV) by increasing the capacity to implement evidenced based prevention, treatment, and recovery services for those affected by opioid use disorders (OUD). The group will work to create a regional Consortium dedicated to the prevention of opioid misuse and OUD, assisting individuals and families in accessing services, and continuing support for recovery from opioid use and substance use disorders. The Appalachian Rural Opioid Planning Consortium’s Mission is to provide person-centered, culturally competent prevention, treatment, and recovery services utilizing evidence-based practices in order to assist individuals affected by opioid use disorders. The populations of focus for planning and service priority setting included at-risk and vulnerable populations of adults (18 and older), including pregnant and parenting women, veterans, and LGBTQ individuals residing in Calhoun, Jackson, Mason, Ritchie and Roane Counties in WV. Additional objectives of the Consortium include: conducting a need and resource assessment to determine the current and preferred state of the prevention, treatment, and recovery service systems to inform planning; developing strategic plans to increase workforce capacity and implement evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery services for those affected by OUD; and creating a regional Consortium to facilitate implementation of evidence based prevention, treatment, and recovery services for those affected by OUD. Project years: 2019-2020

FY 2019 RCORP Planning Needs Assessment


Fresh Start

Fresh Start is a comprehensive opioid treatment program of the Southwestern Regional Day Report Center, utilizing a region-specific interagency approach, agricultural and artisan programming, and community engagement and reintegration.The Program provides intensive evidence-based outpatient substance use treatment to offenders within Lincoln, Logan, and Mingo Counties of West Virginia.  The Fresh Start program is designed to improve quality of life through community connectedness, and prevent further deteriorations in quality of life through harm reduction services, and offer opportunities for real-life application of treatment principles.  The hub of the program is agricultural and artisan based cooperatives.  This reconnection to the community and the resources of the region will help to instill the traditional West Virginia values of pride, resilience, and work ethic. Opportunities afforded by Fresh Start are community mentoring, interagency teamwork, credit attainment through the local community college, apprentice based life skill development, life enrichment, craftsmanship, and artisanship.

The Fresh Start Program includes collaboration of various community agencies and resources.  Partners include Williamson Health and Wellness, Hungry Lambs Food Initiative, Jacob’s Well, Southern WV Community College and Technical College, Refresh Appalachia, WV Food and Farm Coalition, WVU Extension Office, Lincoln County Health Department, Logan County Health Department, Mingo County Health Department, Lincoln County Farmer’s Market, Williamson’s Farmer’s Market, and Marshall University. Marshall University, through a research partnership, will evaluate the effectiveness of the program.


Regional Partnership Grants

The Center of Excellence for Recovery and the Department of Psychology are working together to provide a comprehensive evaluation for the two Regional Partnership Grants in West Virginia. Marshall works closely with the National Evaluation Team, Mathematica, to implement a cross-site evaluation to demonstrate the success of WV’s programs and programs across the nation. The two Regional Partnership Grants serve families in the counties of Cabell, Lincoln, Wayne, Kanawha, Boone, Raleigh, and Wyoming. The grants are a partnership between several organizations who have partnered together to provide services to improve the well-being of children and families impacted by substance use disorder. The partners include Prestera Center for Mental Health, Children’s Home Society, FMRS and Southern Highlands along with DHHR for each county above.  Together, these organizations will implement wraparound processes, which use intense case-management techniques to ensure that each family member and the family as a whole receive tailored services to overcome trauma, recover from substance use disorder, and thrive. The main goal is for children to be able to remain with their families and to improve the child’s well-being, safety and permanency while strengthening the family.

View a snapshot report of enrolled families here.


Supporting Children and Families in West Virginia 2019-2020: Foster Care, Kinship, and Adoptive Parents and Caregivers in West Virginia

In 2019, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WV DHHR) Bureau for Children and Families (BCF) and the West Virginia Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Parents Network, which is funded by the West Virginia Council of Churches through a grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, partnered with staff and faculty from Marshall University to develop and conduct a survey with foster, kinship, and adoptive parents and caregivers in the state. The purpose of this survey was to examine experiences, supports, trainings, and services, as well as other strengths and needs of the parents and caregivers within the West Virginia (WV) child welfare system to discover opportunities to improve services to aid in the retention of parents and caregivers.

Review the completed report here.

Strategic Prevention Framework Partnerships for Success Statewide Project Evaluation

The Center is contracted by the West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources Bureau for Behavioral Health to evaluate the West Virginia Strategic Prevention Framework, Partnerships for Success (SPF PFS) project. The goal of SPF PFS is to prevent and reduce underage drinking, intravenous drug use, and marijuana use of high-risk students aged 9-20 years. The SPF PFS is funded by a five-year federal grant received by the West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources Bureau for Behavioral Health from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP). The SPF PFS is carried out by six regional prevention lead organizations covering all WV counties. The population of focus for PFS is students aged 9-20 who are at higher risk or showing early signs of substance use disorder (SUD), including those in foster care, living in poverty, or showing serious emotional disturbance (SED) or serious mental illness (SMI).  The focus areas of this grant are: 1) increasing access to culturally and age-appropriate evidence-based practices (EBPs) through 2) building capacity to make data-informed decisions and selecting the most appropriate prevention services to meet the needs of high-need communities and high-risk populations of youth while 3) integrating selective and indicated prevention interventions into local youth-serving systems. Project years: 2018-2023

WV Prevention System2019


Strategic Prevention Framework Prescription Drug (SPF Rx) Statewide Project Evaluation

The Center is contracted by the West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources Bureau for Behavioral Health to evaluate the Strategic Prevention Framework Prescription Drug (SPF Rx) grant from SAMHSA.  The Marshall University evaluation team joined the project in late 2017. The goals of the project include the following. Goal 1. Enhance WV SPF-based prevention infrastructure to address prescription drug misuse among youth (ages 12-17) and adults (ages 18 and older). Goal 2. Prevent and reduce prescription drug and illicit opioid misuse. Project years: 2016-2021

Final Report: SPF Rx Needs Assessment

Prescription Drug Misuse Risk and Protective Factors table


Shield Project Assessment & Evaluation

The Center has partnered with United Way of the River Cities to evaluate and support implementation of their OJJDP FY 20 Opioid Affected Youth Initiative grant awarded by the US Office of Justice Programs.  The mission of the Tri-County Shield Project is to develop and implement a comprehensive data-driven coordinated plan to address challenges resulting from the opioid crisis that impact youth, their families and community safety in Cabell and Wayne counties.  The project will reduce traumatic stress for youth impacted by opioid use disorder. Shield will accomplish this by integrating evidence-based prevention, intervention, diversion, and problem identification and treatment services for children and their families with already existing education, justice, and treatment service systems, and by increasing the capacity of community organizations to better identify and serve youth and families suffering from traumatic stress due to the devastating effects of the opioid epidemic on our region. Project years: 2020-2023


West Virginia KIDS COUNT DataBook

The Center was contracted in 2020 by West Virginia KIDS COUNT to assist in the collection and analysis of data for the WV KIDS COUNT DataBook project. Data products including annual DataBooks and the online data center can be found at:  West Virginia KIDS COUNT provides data about the well-being of children and builds alliances to advocate for what kids need. The Data Book is WV KIDS COUNT signature program and provides an objective source of data for educating policymakers and the public about children’s needs. Project year: 2020