Community Outreach Day

Originally published to the April STR/SOR Newsletter Wed, May 01, 2019 2:55 pm

On April 19, 2019, a handful of staff from UMSL-MIMH and local partners from St. Louis City and County Health Departments partnered with the St Louis County Health Department to go out into some of the underserved, predominantly Black neighborhoods of St Louis to talk to business owners and everyday pedestrians about naloxone use, and how to access treatment. Below, four participants of the UMSL-MIMH outreach team: Sandra Mayen, Alex Duello, Kori Richardson, and Amber Bell-Christian, led by Dr. Kanika Turner, share photographs and thoughts on their experiences helping the community.

On April 19, 2019, a handful of staff from UMSL-MIMH and local partners from St. Louis City and County Health Departments partnered with the St Louis County Health Department to go out into some of the underserved, predominantly Black neighborhoods of St Louis to talk to business owners and everyday pedestrians about naloxone use, and how to access treatment. Below, four participants of the UMSL-MIMH outreach team: Sandra Mayen, Alex Duello, Kori Richardson, and Amber Bell-Christian, led by Dr. Kanika Turner, share photographs and thoughts on their experiences helping the community.

“I realized more work was needed in neighborhoods who have been neglected for years, especially when you still have people who have never heard of Narcan®. This was an amazing experience visiting communities of color and saving lives as a team!”
-Dr. Kanika Turner, MD, MPH, Family Medicine, Family Care Health Center, Associate Medical Director

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"After speaking with multiple business owners during outreach day, we learned that naloxone was very needed and most didn’t know where to access this resource. Some had previous experience using Narcan®, most did not, but understood they were in a high need community that would benefit from having access to it. One store manager shared that they experienced overdoses once a month on average and that he would love to receive more naloxone in the future. There were a few community agencies that expressed how far-reaching their work went in the community and how much they wanted to be an access point for the Black community."
-Amber Bell-Christian (Overdose Prevention Support Specialist, UMSL-MIMH)

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"I always knew that I loved community outreach, but this team and this issue meant and felt like so much more."
-Kori Richardson (Recovery Services, UMSL-MIMH)

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"Lack of knowledge was conspicuous in areas with high numbers of overdose deaths. Staff and laypeople were receptive, appreciative, and at times astounded that resources; such as Narcan®, and free of charge treatment services for the uninsured, exists. It was apparent, robust outreach efforts and collaborating with existing organizations would be key in reducing overdose incidents, thus, improving morbidity and mortality."
-Sandra Mayen (Overdose Reporting and Outreach Coordinator, UMSL-MIMH)

"By focusing on zip codes with the highest overdose death rate, UMSL-MIMH targeted businesses that witness overdoses on a regular basis but did not yet have the knowledge or resources to respond effectively. One auto repair shop we visited reported calling 911 when individuals pass out on the corner in which they are located. They noted that as the weather gets warmer they will experience more overdoses near their business. They were interested in learning about naloxone and how they can use it before first responders arrive on scene. Although the UMSL-MIMH Outreach Day coordinators called businesses ahead of time to ensure they were interested in learning about overdose response, it was still refreshing to see community members so open to learning how they can make a difference in their community. I think their openness reflects the reality that many of these community members have direct experiences with the overdose crisis in St. Louis. Outreach Day was a good reminder that although our team has no shortage of conferences and trainings related to the overdose crisis, there is still a huge gap in getting information and resources into the communities that are most affected."
-Alex Duello (Evaluation Coordinator, UMSL-MIMH)