Health department part of national study

Published 1:28 am Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Clark County Health Department is taking part in a months-long training cohort with other health care groups across the nation to study preventative approaches to combating drug addiction.

The health department is participating in the second cohort for the National Council for Behavioral Health’s training program alongside 39 other organizations.

Director Scott Lockard said while health departments have always been concerned with disease prevention, they have been additionally evolving to look at ways to encourage health through other preventative strategies, such as discouraging drug use because of its dangers to individuals and communities.

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“That’s what this cohort is all about,” Lockard said. “We’re sharing what’s worked in other communities and trying to come up with other interventions.”

Lockard said that drug abuse is one of the biggest health crises the nation is facing in the modern day.

“All across the nation, the substance of choice may change but addiction is a problem,” Lockard said. “As bad as it is here in Kentucky we’re not alone.”

The department is currently participating in conference calls and webinars with other organizations from across the country to discuss strategies and interventions that have proven successful. He said the participants are also given homework tasks to complete in between meetings. During the first week of April, Lockard will fly to Seattle to attend an NCBH conference in person.

He said the cohort is very much in line with Public Health 3.0, an initiative aimed at using evidence-based research to address community health issues and having health departments act as public health advocates.

According to an NCBH press release, the program includes webinars, tailored in-person training, peer support, a toolkit of additional informational materials and a digest of innovative behavioral health resources.

Prior to the National Council’s 2017 conference participants will be trained in Mental Health First Aid and will be encouraged to take a deeper dive into their jurisdiction’s most pressing behavioral health needs and concerns.