The city of Fort Worth has awarded a $310,339 grant to SaferCare Texas, the patient safety department of The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, and the university’s School of Public Health to provide opioid intervention education to the community.
The project focuses on community-based intervention, and tasks SaferCare Texas clinical executives and School of Public Health staff with developing training education alongside HSC’s new College of Nursing and Fort Worth community-based organizations.
“It underscores our commitment to creating solutions for healthier communities, and I commend the teams for their dedication to saving lives and promoting a holistic approach to addiction prevention,” Dr. Shafik Dharamsi, dean of the School of Public Health, said in a statement.
HSC said the education will focus on train-the-trainer sessions using community-based organizations, HSC students, and community health workers to provide outreach in the community, schools, and home-based care settings.
Also, the grant will expose students and healthcare providers to virtual reality training to help incorporate a holistic approach and prevention model that empowers them with the tools necessary to incorporate addiction prevention measures, HSC said.
“Merging community health with cutting-edge technology—like VR—is the future of health care education,” Dr. Cindy Weston, dean of the HSC College of Nursing, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to bring this training to the Fort Worth community so we can broaden our reach in educating the public about opioid addiction prevention.”
Overdoses in Fort Worth are on the rise
HSC said that in 2022, overdoses in Fort Worth reached a three-year high, with MedStar Mobile Health treating an average of three patients a day in August of that same year.
HSC said it has taken a lead role in promoting opioid and fentanyl awareness and prevention by launching its own One Pill Kills campaign, which included the creation of a website with resources for anyone who knows someone struggling with addiction or who is struggling themselves, or those who want to get involved with prevention.
Dr. Teresa Wagner, SaferCare Texas interim director, said she hopes the grant will help spotlight and promote HSC’s efforts to decrease opioid use and opioid overdose deaths.
“This award is a great opportunity for SaferCare Texas and the School of Public Health to reduce preventable harm from opioid overdose,” Wagner said in a statement. “Along with the College of Nursing, we can take more action and equip our community with the skills and knowledge to save lives. I couldn’t be prouder of our campus for coming together on such a vital campaign.”
Located in the heart of the Fort Worth Cultural District, the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth trains the healthcare providers, public health workforce, and scientists of the future in an interprofessional ecosystem.
In its six schools, HSC said students learn to work in teams and to develop an innovative mindset that prepares them for a rapidly changing health landscape.
HSC Health, the clinical enterprise of the Health Science Center, provides patient-centered care to people across Tarrant County and its research enterprise provides a foundation to expand the frontiers of scientific discovery to improve health and well-being.
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