College of Health Creates Center for Substance Use Research and Community Initiatives

Ball State University today announced a new initiative that strives to establish its college of health as a leading academic institution for addictions research and community interventions to address substance abuse.

The new Center for Research in Substance Use and Community Initiatives (SURCI) will operate as a paradigm for student and community engagement and research innovation, with a focus on facilitating the high-impact, interdisciplinary, evidence-based, community-engaged addictions research and interventions. These efforts, according to organizers, will foster and strengthen mental and behavioral capacities at the local, regional, state and national levels.

The imperatives of SURCI are also of particular importance to communities in Muncie County and Delaware, where recent studies have highlighted a critical need for substance abuse prevention and intervention.

“Ball State’s College of Health continues to boldly move forward in making interprofessional education, practice, and research its paradigm in each of its disciplines. The creation of the Center for Substance Use Research and Community Initiatives is the latest example of this direction,” said Dr. Scott Rutledge, Dean of the College of Health. “SURCI strives to become a national model for addressing addiction issues in local communities, and we are committed to continuing to work hand-in-hand with our community partners to expand and improve these essential services across the state of Indiana.”

Through the Centre’s partnership and affiliation with the
Delaware County Addictions Coalition

(ACDC), SURCI will work with local elected officials and leading community service providers such as Open Door Health Services, IU Health, Meridian Health Services, and Centerstone Health Services to achieve its research and service goals. The specific objectives of SURCI are to:

• Engage in new and innovative research that earns Ball State national recognition as a leading institution in the fields of addictions research and community engagement;

• Serve as a resource, communication, training and support center for faculty, staff, students and community members engaged in the provision of addictions services; and

• Increase evidence-based, community-based interventions that expand the availability of substance abuse services in the East Central Indiana region and improve access to these services for vulnerable populations

SURCI will be led by Dr. Dane Minnickassistant professor of social work, in collaboration with Dr. Jean Marie Placeassociate professor of health sciences, who will serve as director of community research and administration, and Dr Jonel Thallerassociate professor of social work, who will serve as director of community engagement.

Additionally, Dr. Munni Begumprofessor of mathematical sciences, will serve as the center’s director of data analysis, while SURCI’s community education and training team will consist of:
Dr. Kristin Trainorassistant professor of social work; Dr Beth Goldsby, Assistant Professor of Nursing; and Dr Sheila Abebeassistant professor of nursing.

Ball State faculty and staff interested in joining SURCI or proposing a collaborative project are encouraged to contact the Center at [email protected].

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