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Past Projects

Completed Projects Include:

The Roanoke Area Youth Substance Abuse Coalition is dedicated to reducing and preventing substance abuse in the Roanoke Valley. Through community events, community assessment, and collaboration, RAYSAC has led prevention efforts in the Roanoke Valley for 31 years. Since receiving a Drug Free Communities (DFC) grant in 2005, RAYSAC has experienced tremendous growth. The most recent Red Ribbon Week (October 2014) incorporated students from 27 schools in the Roanoke Valley. In 2014, eight valley-wide sites were established for a Drug Take Back Event in collaboration with the Roanoke Valley Prescription Drug Task Force, and over 1 ton of drugs were safely disposed of as a result of this event. RAYSAC continues to lead Youth Prevention Clubs in the region as well as adult education campaigns on substance abuse prevention. RAYSAC also continues to work to educate legislators on substance abuse issues in the Roanoke Valley. The Center conducted an evaluation on the program. More Details »

Virginia Commonwealth University provided funding to New River Valley Community Services to administer the SAMHSA-funded Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) State Incentive Grant (SIG) Program. CPHPR partnered with New River Valley Community Services to assess drunk driving tendencies among young adults in Montgomery County through a series of focus groups, community forums, and quantitative data analysis.

The New River Health District (NRHD) and the New River Valley Agency on Aging jointly offer the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) to residents of the New River Valley. CPHPR conducted an outcome evaluation of the CDSMP workshops. Topics covered included:

  1. techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, pain and isolation;
  2. appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance;
  3. appropriate use of medications;
  4. communicating effectively with family, friends, and health professionals;
  5. nutrition;
  6. decision making; and
  7. how to evaluate new treatments.

This Center-led evaluation was used to help the NRHD design a sustainability plan and evaluate the effectiveness of the workshops. If you are interested in attending a CDSMP workshop, contact the New River Health District at (540) 585-3300.

CPHPR partnered with the New River Health District (NRHD) to implement the Tobacco Use Control Project. The project, that ended February 2015, was designed to engage community partners and coalitions to promote positive and healthy behaviors to prevent and end tobacco use particularly in teens, young adults, and pregnant women. Project activities included a needs assessment of the tobacco policies of local businesses and college campuses, educational sessions about the health impact of tobacco use and nicotine addiction, tobacco policy review for the local school systems, and clinical training in the use of the Virginia 1-800-Quit Line to aid in tobacco use cessation.

CPHPR was contracted by the Community Services Boards of Region III East to develop a community-driven suicide prevention plan. By incorporating the beliefs and perspectives of key suicide prevention stakeholders from throughout this area and reviewing comprehensive data, CPHPR developed a 5 year plan supporting effective and appropriate local prevention strategies for the years to come.

The Farm to School Initiative, implemented by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), helps public schools across the nation incorporate local fresh foods into their daily lunches and cafeteria food. A wide variety of activities are created to help teach children about nutrition, gardening, living a healthy lifestyle, and making smart choices when it comes to food. Pulaski County Public Schools was awarded a planning grant, given to those who are just beginning the incorporation of local foods into their public schools. Pulaski County Public Schools is working with community partners, parents and students to help develop and implement this program. The Center evaluated their efforts in developing the Farm to School program. More Details » | Facebook Page »

CPHPR conducted a process evaluation of Martinsville's HEY Collaborative and produced a Key Performance Indicators dashboard. The dashboard measures processes, outcomes, financial data, youth and partner satisfaction and includes an interactive map of services.

The Tazewell County Cancer Prevention Project is a multi-disciplinary project looking at environmental and behavioral factors that may contribute to cancer in Tazewell County. Project components have included:

  • A statistical analysis of Virginia Cancer Registry reporting for a ten year period to determine the most frequently diagnosed cancers and ages of patients.
  • A survey of former and current cancer patients.
  • A representative survey assessing behavior and environmental exposures.
  • An on-line Facebook focus group to gain an understanding of what residents of Tazewell County know and how they feel about healthy (and unhealthy) communities.
  • A Photovoice project for high school students to gain youth perspectives on potential cancer risk factors.
  • Several key stakeholder interviews in the medical community to gain more knowledge about tumor reporting, and insight into risk factors in Tazewell County.
  • Map overlays that show the proximity of residences to infrastructure such as water systems, landfills, factories.
  • Environmental testing (water and radon).

The Center conducted surveys, focus groups, and key informant interviews in Martinsville/Henry County to assess community and agency perceptions of PCS' substance abuse prevention work. CPHPR collected and analyzed data and produced a comprehensive report. More Details »

Reversing the growing trends in obesity and reducing chronic diseases requires a comprehensive and coordinated approach that uses systems and environmental change strategies to transform communities into places that support and promote healthy lifestyle choices for all residents. Through funding from the Virginia Department of Health, the town of Christiansburg has been implementing such strategies. The project focuses on enhancing town infrastructure to support bicycling and walking. The town has also worked to enhance community partnerships through the Healthy Citizens New River network in order to create a healthier Christiansburg. The Center evaluated the effectiveness of the project. More Details » | Facebook Page »

The Center partnered with Blue Ridge Behavioral Health, Piedmont Community Services and New River Valley Community Services to implement their Partnerships for Success grant needs assessments. According to the Strategic Prevention Framework, the first step is to conduct a needs assessment around prescription drug and heroin abuse. Future steps will involve developing an implementation plan and evaluation plan. More Details »

The Center developed 45 data briefs for the Virginia Department of Health. Topics focus on youth behaviors such as: physical activity, nutrition, violence and depression, injury, alcohol and other drugs.

The Strengthening Families Program (SFP) is a weekly 10-12 lesson parenting program that targets 6- to 11- year old children and their families at high risk for behavioral, emotional, academic, and social problems. The focus of SFP is on family attachment and bonding, family supervision, family communication of values, and substance abuse prevention. Interventions consist of parent, children, and family skills training. 

Through parent sessions, parents are expected to learn to increase desired child behaviors by using attention and rewards, limit setting, clear communication, effective discipline, substance use education, and problem solving. In the separate children sessions, children are expected to learn communication skills, peer-pressure resistance, problem solving and social skills, as well as empathy and rule compliance training. Finally, family sessions provide time to practice therapeutic child play, family meetings, communication skills, effective discipline, and family bonding. The program provides for basic family needs such as childcare, transportation, meals, and other incentives for participation. The Center conducted a process and outcome evaluation of the programs for two Community Services Boards.

The Center is collaborating with the Virginia Department of Health and the Cancer Action Coalition of Virginia (CACV) to develop a comprehensive five-year cancer plan for Virginia. The Center is conducting a literature review, collecting and synthesizing quantitative and qualitative data, facilitating three working sessions with the CACV State Plan Committee, and coordinating an iterative process to develop and compose the five-year plan.

In June 2011, Piedmont Community Services received funding from The Harvest Foundation to implement the Community Recovery Program (CRP). The program is designed to reduce problems caused by substance abuse in Martinsville and Henry County, Virginia. The CRP helps individuals who have achieved at least three to six months of initial substance abuse recovery to continue their path of recovery by addressing and offering assistance and supports in the areas of education, employment, finances, family, support/leisure, mental health, sobriety, spirituality, physical health, and housing. The Center is conducting a comprehensive evaluation of this program. More Details »

The Center evaluated the Youth Health Equity Leadership Institute in Danville, Virginia. The goal of YHELI was to increase graduation rates in two High Schools in Danville. The Center monitored a variety of indicators around risk behaviors, self efficacy and self-reported leadership.

West Piedmont Health District implemented a prevention program focused on obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke prevention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded the Virginia Department of Health to implement the PPHF: State and Local Public Health Actions to Prevent Obesity, Diabetes, and Heart Disease and Stroke in West Piedmont Health District and four others in Virginia. The Center was contracted to conduct the evaluation of the West Piedmont Health District component of the project. More Details »

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded the Virginia Department of Health to implement the PPHF: State and Local Public Health Actions to Prevent Obesity, Diabetes, and Heart Disease and Stroke in five health districts in Virginia. The Center was contracted to conduct the statewide evaluation of the program. More Details »

The New River Health District received funding from the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth to implement an obesity prevention initiative in Pulaski County. The Center conducted an evaluation of the project.

The Center partnered with Cooperative Extension, the Institute for Policy and Governance and the Rural Health Association on an opioid abuse prevention project in Grayson County and Martinsville/Henry County. The Center evaluated the Hospital Patient Education Program, a family-level education program for adolescents and their families, and a life skills intervention delivered through local schools.

Adult onset diabetes is a prevalent and increasing health issue. Rural communities of Virginia are disproportionally suffering from the morbidity, mortality, and social and financial costs associated with this disease. In response, Cooperative Extension at Virginia Tech implemented Balanced Living with Diabetes (BLD), which was targeted for implementation in 16 rural counties in Virginia. The Center traveled across the state to evaluate the effectiveness of the BLD programs. More Details »

The Center collaborated with the New River Health District to conduct a needs assessment of contraceptive need for incarcerated women in the New River Valley Jail. Findings helped inform educational sessions delivered by New River Health District educators.

The Virginia Rural Health Association received funding from the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) to conduct opioid abuse prevention education with providers and high risk patients in rural hospitals throughout Virginia. The Center conducted the evaluation of the program.

In partnership with the Institute on Policy and Governance, the Center conducted research on the impact of substance use disorder on families, the community and employers. Utilizing a socio-ecological model, the Center conducted research in two Virginia communities – rural Pulaski County and urban Roanoke City. This research provided a foundation on which to build community-engaged collaborations and strategic approaches for the prevention and treatment of opioid and related substance use disorders. This funding was made available through a Virginia Tech Vibrant Virginia Seed Grant.

In partnership with colleagues in the Department of Apparel, Housing and Resource Management and the Institute on Policy and Governance, the Center assessed the impact of Age Friendly Cities and Communities designation on residents' quality of life and communities' planning strategies.

The Center has partnered with Blue Ridge Behavioral Health (Roanoke Area Youth Substance Abuse Coalition and Roanoke Prevention Alliance) and Piedmont Community Services (Drug Free MHC and FRESH coalition) to evaluate their Drug Free Communities and Partnerships for Success community projects. The Center will be developing logic models and evaluation plans, developing data collection tools, analyzing data and providing yearly comprehensive reports.

The Center is working alongside the Roanoke/Alleghany Health Districts to complete community health assessments and community improvements plans for Alleghany/Covington, Botetourt and Roanoke counties, utilizing a MAPP (Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships) framework. Center responsibilities include facilitating Community Health Assessment Team meetings, gathering community-level secondary data, collecting primary quantitative and qualitative data, analyzing data and preparing reports, and sharing results with the teams.  The Center will also assist teams with determining health priorities, developing SMART objectives for each priority, selecting evidence-based interventions for each health priority and developing evaluation strategies.

The Center is receiving funding from Piedmont Community Services to evaluate the expansion of the Community Recover Program. This expanded program focused on people with current substance issues who cannot find a job, and focuses on finding them treatment and employment.

The Center will conducted an evaluation of in-school substance abuse prevention programs taking place in the New River Valley.

The Virginia Higher Education Opioid Consortium (VHEOC) is a collaboration of five Virginia public universities working together to support local efforts to prevent and treat opioid and other substance use disorders with cutting edge academic resources. 

The mission is to assist Community Services Boards (CSBs) to address the opioid crisis with services in the prevention, treatment/recovery, and collection and analysis of data related to substance use disorders, including opioids. 

The model provides CSBs with a dedicated channel to access research expertise and technical assistance from member universities. 

Services are funded under the SAMHSA State Opioid Response grant to the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

VHEOC member universities: George Mason University, Old Dominion University, Virginia State University, University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech. More information is available here.

In collaboration with colleagues on campus and through the iTHRIV research partnership, Center faculty conducted a sequential mixed methods research study to determine how Virginians receive, interpret, and respond to COVID-19 prevention messages.

The Center conducted a process evaluation of the Connection to Care project (in collaboration with the Virginia Tech Institute on Policy and Governance, the HOPE initiative and the Virginia Harm Reduction Coalition). Connection to Care provides care backpacks and connection to resources and peer recovery specialists to people in need throughout the Roanoke area.

In partnership with the Virginia Tech Institute on Policy and Governance, the Center served as external process evaluator on the implementation of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics for New River and Mount Rogers Community Services Boards.

Facilitation of the Tobacco Free Alliance of Virginia Strategic Plan toggle Center faculty are serving as facilitators to help the Tobacco Free Alliance of Virginia update their Strategic Plan.