- Alton Burton
- Idethia Shevon Harvey, DrPH, MPH
- Whitney Garney, PhD, MPH
Research Project Description
Substance abuse is a growing public health issue in the United States, with approximately 21.5 million Americans reporting that they were battling substance abuse in 2014. While there are a number of substances that can be abused, prescription opioids and alcohol affect the most people, with illicit drugs following closely behind. While these are issues across the United States, substance abuse is especially challenging to address in rural areas due to a lack of access to health and social service resources to combat addiction. There is a greater stigma and misunderstanding of medications that help to treat substance abuse, which leads to an underutilization of these resources.
In addition to being underserved, rural areas frequently deal with issues like poverty, racism, and social division; while these problems are not limited to rural areas, they are oftentimes exacerbated by a lack of resources and a constant reinforcement of social structures that inhibit change. This research project plans to use a mixed-method and human-centered design to investigate the community history that contributes to substance abuse in Hearne, Texas, identify systems and structures that magnify the issue, and explore innovative, sustainable solutions to prevent and treat substance abuse in rural areas. The results of this project will help build leadership, outreach, and research skills within the community, which can be used to achieve greater equity in the region as well as build the evidence based for effective community interventions to address substance abuse.
Alton Burton is the Community Outreach Coordinator for The Brazos Valley Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse in Bryan, Texas. His expertise is in community mobilization; specifically, building community based action oriented coalitions utilizing the Strategic Prevention Framework; youth development and engagement; and tobacco prevention and cessation.
Idethia Shevon Harvey, DrPH, MPH
Idethia Shevon Harvey is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Sciences and Faculty Fellow for Inclusive Excellence in the School of Health Professions at the University of Missouri Columbia in Columbia, MO. Dr. Harvey's research examines how social conditions impact type-2 diabetes disparities among minorities in disadvantaged areas.
Whitney Garney, PhD, MPH
Whitney Garney is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health and Kinesiology at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Her expertise is in public health, specifically ecological approaches to public health problems; systems science methodologies for population health improvement; and community-based research and evaluation.
IRL Issue Brief: Hearne, Texas
Using Human Centered Design to Address Substance Use among Rural Adolescents