October 2016 – Odyssey House Louisiana (OHL) has received a three-year grant funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to expand and enhance outreach and trauma-informed substance abuse treatment services to African-American and other minority women who are high-risk substance abusers. This expansion of outreach and treatment services is called the Odyssey House Minority Empowerment Group for Addiction (OhMEGA) program. OHL has contracted with The Policy & Research Group (PRG) to provide an implementation and outcome evaluation.
Created in 2013 with support from SAMHSA’s Targeted Capacity Expansion HIV funding, the OHmega program is part of an integrated continuum of care provided by OHL that includes substance abuse treatment, HIV and Hepatitis testing, and trauma-informed interventions. OHL also aims to provide participants with case management and wraparound health services that include assistance with attaining housing, healthcare, and educational support. As part of this continuum of care, OHL offers HIV testing, counseling and prevention, trauma-informed substance abuse treatment, case management, as well as access to wraparound services, including primary health care, HIV/AIDS case management, housing support, and employment services. Through the OhMEGA program, OHL proposes to serve 125 minority women with grant funds over the project period.
SAMHSA works to initiate and increase public health efforts to advance behavior health in the United States by reducing the impact of substance abuse and mental illness. Through the Targeted Capacity Expansion HIV: Substance Use Disorder Treatment for Racial/Ethnic Minority Women at High-Risk for HIV/AIDS (TCE-HIV: Minority Women) funding program, SAMHSA has provided funding to awardees’ that provide substance use treatment and HIV services for different racial and ethnic groups, high-risk populations including men who have sex with men (MSM), young MSM, and minority women including lesbians and transgender individuals.
In collaboration with OHL, PRG will formalize implementation objectives and anticipated client-level outcomes. The evaluation will then assess the progress of the implementation and realized client outcomes against those specified in the plan. With this structured, formative approach PRG aims to help OHL with its mission to facilitate the healing process of addiction recovery using a research-based approach. PRG will produce implementation reports on a semi-annual basis that will allow OHL leadership observe how the intervention is realizing its implementation objectives on an ongoing basis. PRG will also report annually to OHL leaders a more comprehensive account of the initiative’s implementation as well as a descriptive account of client-level outcomes targeted by the program.
PRG is committed to the development of effective public policy through the production of rigorous research and evaluation. PRG works with federal, state, and local partners in the development and evaluation of programs that aim to improve social, behavioral, health, economic, and employment potential. Since 2004, PRG has developed expertise across an array of policy areas including education, public health, child welfare, work and income, housing, and adolescent risk reduction.
TCE-HIV: Minority Women is part of the Congressional Minority AIDS Initiative, which was developed to improve HIV-related health outcomes for racial and ethnic minority communities disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS and to reduce HIV-related health disparities. The program also supports the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and SAMHSA’s Strategic Initiative: Health Care and Health Systems Integration.