County Technical Assistance
While the Office of Prevention Science and Recovery (OPSR) was established by the Rutherford Opioid Board, the Office serves as a resource to other counties in Tennessee. Specifically, this is achieved through assisting counties with implementing data-driven, evidence based approaches to utilize opioid abatement county funding.
As stated in the Johns Hopkins 5 Principles for the Use of Funds from the Opioid Litigation, local jurisdictions should "use evidence to guide spending" and also "develop a fair and transparent process for deciding where to spend the funding." Technical assistance provided by OPSR seeks to do just that across counties in Tennessee.
Assistance Provided to Counties Include:
Creating Applications to Receive Community Proposals
OPSR leverages extensive experience in writing for and managing local, state, and federal grants for a variety of health related issues through oversight from the MTSU Center for Health and Human Services. Therefore, OPSR offers assistance to counties in creating a unique grant application specific to their county's priorities and constructed strategically with metrics that will measure success. Community organizations can complete this application to be reviewed by local officials to award funding directly to community organizations.
Constructing Systems of Review to Score Community Proposals
When having a comprehensive grant application that collects specific information from community organizations, it is imperative that review of this information is objective and is accompanied by a quantitative score. Because of this, OPSR provides assistance to counties in constructing an objective scoring rubric that can be used to evaluate proposals from the community requesting to utilize county abatement funds. This prioritizes awarding to funding proposals that are rooted in data and removes bias in evaluation that could result from solely receiving proposals through in-person presentations.
Reviewing and Scoring Community Proposals
Some Counties may desire to have an outside entity objectively score their community proposals in order to ensure no conflicts of interests occur, or to even acquire an expertise perspective on proposals. In both of these cases, OPSR offers assistance in constructing an objective review committee comprised of substance use disorder and grant writing experts to score all proposals on behalf of a county. This allows local officials overseeing utilization of abatement funding an opportunity to strengthen their consideration process when determining local uses of their funding.
Measuring Success of Funding Utilization
Because Counties are expecting to receive abatement funding from 2021-2038, it is crucial that counties have developed systems in place to measure success of uses with abatement funds. To assist in this process, OPSR provides assistance to counties in measuring success of funding utilization and measuring the impact of abatement funded activities on the community through oversight from the MTSU Data Science Institute. This is beneficial not only to inform the public on successful projects funded by the County, but also to identify what changes could be made to maximize the impact of County funded projects..
The MTSU Office of Prevention Science and Recovery (OPSR) oversees the screening and scoring review for all proposals received from local organizations requesting Rutherford County opioid abatement funding. This review process and application structure was created by OPSR and reserves the final determination of awarding funding to the Rutherford Opioid Board (ROB). In addition to acquiring all proposals on behalf of the ROB, OPSR monitors the implementation of funding by measuring the local impact and success of opioid abatement funded projects.
The MTSU Office of Prevention Science and Recovery (OPSR) has partnered with the Cannon County Opioid Abatement Task Force to format an application for local organizations to request funding from their opioid abatement funding. In addition to the application, OPSR has created a transparent review and scoring process to assist the task force in determining where to allocate their resources.