WHI honors the Recovery Opioid Overdose Team

The Recovery Opioid Overdose Team (ROOT), a program of Home of New Vision, provides support to those who have experienced overdose within 24-72 hours of the incident. ROOT works with several partner organizations, including Washtenaw County Community Mental Health, Huron Valley Ambulance, Trinity Health Ann Arbor, Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan School of Nursing, Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, and other local emergency departments to carry out these activities. For example, HVA provides ambulance data on naloxone distribution to ROOT, so they can follow up with individuals accordingly. After the initial follow up, individuals are able to receive up to 90 days of case management services. 

Outside of direct engagement with people experiencing drug overdose, ROOT works with several local organizations in order to supply and operate free naloxone (commonly known as Narcan) nasal spray machines in three locations within Washtenaw County: Ann Arbor District Library Downtown, Washtenaw County Government, and Northfield Human Services in Whitmore Lake.

ROOT has been able to not only work with overdose survivors in Washtenaw County, but to cultivate a community that is both conscious of the dangers of drug poisoning, and supportive of those currently contending with substance abuse disorders.

The Washtenaw Health Initiative honored the Recovery Opioid Overdose Team’s work by naming it the 2022 winner of the WHI’s Collaborative Health Impact Award. The award was created last year in honor of the 10-year anniversary of the WHI, with the goal of recognizing local, collaborative initiatives that have positively impacted community health.

Matt Hill, WHI Project Manager, presented the nominees and announced the winner at a stakeholder meeting on Monday, December 5. “We went and sought out nominations for community collaborations that involve multiple different agencies working to improve health and health equity within Washtenaw County,” Hill said. 

The winner was selected through a confidential vote by WHI stakeholders, defined as someone who works for any WHI member organization. The vote was open from November 1 to November 30, and Hill said that just about 100 people cast a vote. 

Jade Hartsfield, Community Engagement Specialist and Recovery Coach for Home of New Vision, accepted the award and shared a few acknowledgements about the Recovery Opioid Overdose Team.

“Most importantly, thank you to our partners; they really make it possible,” Hartsfield said. “Without the connections of partners like Community Mental Health, Washtenaw County Sheriff, [and] Huron Valley Ambulance, we wouldn’t be able to respond to those needing our attention and be as strong of a resource as we are, so we really appreciate it.”

Home of New Vision is a non-profit organization centered around substance use disorder treatment. HONV offers a plethora of services along with ROOT, including clinical services, recovery housing and support, adolescent treatment, and assessments and referrals. 

Five initiatives were nominated for the 2022 award: Protecting the Latinx community during COVID-19, Fostering collaboration to meet community needs, In-home preventive care for high risk patients, Supporting individuals who experience overdose, and Preventing community violence. 

One key difference regarding the nominations was that last year, nominated initiatives promoted health equity specifically surrounding the COVID pandemic, but this year, the WHI accepted nominees in all health areas.

A central tenet of the Washtenaw Health Initiative is collaboration; not only is the organization composed of various individual and organizational stakeholders, but the WHI’s main goal is to improve community health through joint efforts by local departments and organizations. As such, the WHI is proud to celebrate these various collaborative initiatives, and looks forward to recognizing more each year through the Collaborative Health Impact Award.