NKU’s Institute for Health Innovation receives grant to fight opioid epidemic

The IHI is housed in NKU’s Health Innovation Center

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — Northern Kentucky University’s Institute for Health Innovation (IHI) recently received a $200,000 federal grant to address the opioid epidemic in rural Kentucky. The Health Resources and Service Administration’s (HRSA) grant will support expanding interventions for opioid misuse in Owen County, Kentucky.

The IHI will also use the funds to develop innovative approaches for health-related workforce development in Owen County which could serve as ba lueprint for other rural communities. Owen County has one of the highest risk rates for drug overdoses in the region – combined with very limited treatment facilities and multiple barriers to accessing them.

“We are excited to maximize the resources of NKU and its commitment to population health to leverage national best practices and regional collaboration to close gaps in opioid use disorder services and expand early intervention and access to treatment and support in Owen County”, says Dr. Valerie Hardcastle, IHI executive director and vice president for Health Innovation. “This multi-pronged approach to opioid use disorder will significantly impact not only Owen County, but our entire region.”

Additional partners for the project include Northern Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, Three Rivers Health District, Owen County Schools, Owen County Drug Prevention Coalition and NorthKey, Owen County’s designated community mental health center.

The IHI opened earlier this year to develop pioneering solutions to the health challenges facing the region. It drives change that directly addresses urgent unmet health needs. It is housed in NKU’s newest building on campus, the Health Innovation Center.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $200,000 with no percentage financed with nongovernmental sources. The contents are those of the recipient institution and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

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