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Recovery Talks: Fairbanks Tackles the Addiction Crisis

December 10th, 2019

Discussing the crisis of addiction, your host Kathleen Gill, and Robin Newhouse talk about Indiana University’s initiative that aims to address the crisis of addiction. Read the full transcript from the podcast below or listen to it here or on iTunes or Google.

 

Kathleen Gill:   Welcome to Recovery Talks, a Fairbanks podcast where experts from Fairbanks Treatment and Recovery Center, located in Indianapolis, Indiana, take time to discuss unique aspects of addiction, substance use disorder, and recovery, as well as other relevant issues with our guests.

Kathleen Gill:   I’m your host, Kathleen Gill. I’ve worked at Fairbanks since 2007, and I am a woman living in recovery. Today on Recovery Talks, we’ll be discussing the addiction crisis in Indiana with Dr. Robin Newhouse, the Dean of the IU School of Nursing.

Kathleen Gill:    Dr. Newhouse, welcome. Thank you for joining us today.

Robin Newhouse:   Thank you so much for having me, and congratulations. I’m so pleased to meet you and just congratulate you on your recovery and your sustained recovery. That is an accomplishment. It’s a lifetime accomplishment. I’m so pleased to meet you.

Kathleen Gill:   Thank you. It is an honor, and I am so very excited to learn about the Grand Challenge and the work that you folks are doing here with the research.

Kathleen Gill:   So, tell me a little bit about you. You started out in nursing. You started your career in nursing.

Robin Newhouse:    I absolutely did. I volunteered, when I was in high school, at the local hospital, Anne Arundel Medical Center. I had no idea what a nurse did, quite honestly. I was so impressed at the important role that they played in how well people did. I was assigned to the emergency room. I remember looking at them and watching, and realizing how important they were in recognizing the human response to different phenomena, pain, bleeding, and taking immediate action.

Robin Newhouse:   So, I had no idea how integrated they were into the healthcare team, and how important they were in the outcomes that patients achieved. It is a science. It is a career where you can work across many kinds of settings and with different kinds of people, populations, and communities. It is a career that was completely unexpected but I couldn’t have chosen a better one.

Kathleen Gill:   Fantastic. So, how did you transition into academia?

Robin Newhouse:   Well, I was in the clinical environment for quite a while, usually, critical care settings, operating rooms, emergency departments. The trajectory caused me to take a higher-level leadership job, one after another, a supervisor, then a manager, then a director of nursing.

Robin Newhouse:   At the time, every one of those steps was taken because I felt like I needed more information to assess the interventions, the staffing ratios, to make sure that we were providing a high quality of care. So, that took me back for a couple master’s degree, and I was a director of nursing at a large teaching hospital in Baltimore and a very big portfolio. I thought, “Gosh, my analytics from master’s degrees, I need a little more.” So, I went back for a PhD.

Robin Newhouse:   After the Ph.D., I continued as director of nursing and conducted a couple studies, and then was recruited to Johns Hopkins Hospital to be the nurse researcher with a joint appointment to the School of Nursing at Hopkins, and ended up being the PI of many, many studies there. I started my funding portfolio, received a (K) Award from Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The studies that were conducted during that (K) Award actually launched my career.

Robin Newhouse:   I ended up finishing the (K) Award early, and I had to finish early because I was funded for a cluster-randomized design testing a quality collaborative in 23 rural hospitals in five states. So, that launched the beginning. Once a URA Scholar and a researcher, you need to have an academic home that can support that kind of activity.

Robin Newhouse:   By the way, I figured out that I loved teaching students too, and mentoring students. It is one of the life pleasures of being in academia.

Kathleen Gill:   Wonderful. Wonderful. So, how did you launch into this passion and focus on the addiction crisis that we have going on here in Indiana?

Robin Newhouse:   Well, interestingly enough, I am a health services researcher, so I study how health services are organized to improve quality care. Part of that is evidence-based practices, evidence-based interventions. Well, not surprising to you, turns out that back … It was probably in the early 2000s, probably the ’90s, that the Joint Commission recognized that a third of the people that were admitted to the hospital had risky alcohol use. So, starting to see that signal.

Robin Newhouse:   We certainly had other kinds of addictions that were on the radar. So, when I asked my clinical partners about what they were experiencing in hospitals, it was pretty clear that they weren’t screening using valid and reliable tools, they didn’t have a good process to refer people. So, I had a study funded, another one by Robert Wood Johnson, actually, which was to develop and test a toolkit using a cluster-randomized design in acute care hospitals.

Robin Newhouse:   So, all I did is follow what the clinical problem is and listen to clinicians that were working with patients, and provided something they need. Well, turns out the toolkit was pretty effective at implementation. That was followed by a study of 14 hospitals, another cluster randomized design, which was an implementation study. Turns out that nurses can use those tools, and we significantly improved the screening, the brief intervention, the referral to treatment. That study wasn’t as robust as we had hoped. So, we have another solution for that.

Robin Newhouse:   Turns out it’s putting evidence-based practices together in a toolkit and helping others use it, and giving them the tools that they need that are just implementation strategies that we learn about as implementation scientists. Of course, one study leads to another study. When you see that there are problems with referral to treatment, that lead to our study of the workforce in the 14 market zip codes of the hospitals that we were working with.

Robin Newhouse:   Working with Bowen’s workforce center here in Indiana, they surveyed the treatment centers. So, not only could we provide information back to the hospitals we worked with, but we learned a lot about the treatment centers and the workforce available. Then we looked at the state statute to understand where the different providers can work, and we looked for the intersectionalities and, actually, are now modeling that intersectionality because everybody doesn’t have to do everything, but everyone has something to do.

Kathleen Gill:   It is so important that our communities are coming together, the hospitals, the education fields, the law enforcement. It is so critical that we’ve got everybody participating in this addiction crisis that we have going on.

Robin Newhouse:   Absolutely. Then we developed a referral to treatment tool, and it’s gone through three phases of usability testing with patients, social workers, physicians, and nurses. So, we’re trying to solve that clinical problem too.

Robin Newhouse:   So, I’m just saying I study a lot of things that are evidence-based interventions, but there couldn’t be anything more important than addictions today in Indiana.

Kathleen Gill:   Do you find that the medical teams are being … that education is changing around how they are training the doctors and nurses about addiction?

Robin Newhouse:   Yes. That is one of the things that these horrendous statistics have taught us, that we need to do a better job not only teaching and education our own students that are graduating from Indiana University, but we also have needs in primary care. As you know, the primary care physicians and nurses, advanced practice nurses, have a waiver so they can provide medication-assisted treatment. So, it gets to be a bigger issue.

Robin Newhouse:   So, yes. One of the types of studies that we funded through the Grand Challenge, that I know you’ll ask me about in a minute, is interprofessional education. It’s interprofessional education on addictions.

Robin Newhouse:   Yes, more is needed. We, in nursing, provide minimum information about addictions. We have to do much more. I know when I talk to students about screening, brief intervention referral for treatment, and I see them giggling when I tell them, “If you’ve had four or more drinks in a day, which, of course, is binge drinking,” and when I see them giggling, I know that we need to talk about that at that point.

Robin Newhouse:   So, it’s here in our community. It certainly is something we have to have a conversation about. That’s sort of an education strategy and a screening strategy, too, that is not necessarily academic but nonetheless, important to have the conversations and help people recognize their own health behaviors.

Kathleen Gill:   So, tell me a little bit about this Grand Challenge, and how you and Governor Holcomb and IU Health have collaborated together and put so much focus on this very important project?

Robin Newhouse:   So, in 2017, Governor Holcomb put forth his state plans. He had done listening tours and was struck by the amount of Hoosiers, and the experience of Hoosiers, around addictions and death.

Robin Newhouse:   As you know, we’re starting to see escalating overdose deaths. We were seeing data about the economic impact on Indiana. We were hearing stories of suffering. We were hearing from employers about drug screening and drug use in employment. So, there wasn’t a sector that hadn’t experienced this problem.

Robin Newhouse:   So, President McRobbie called Governor Holcomb and said, “What can we do to be helpful?” After that conversation, he called and asked me to complete a report of our capacities, IU, to respond to addictions, in partnership with another group of people from across, or faculty members across IU.

Robin Newhouse:   So, we came together and examined the kind of work we’re doing now, the investigators that were working in this space. We asked investigators to provide us with a two page brief on what have they learned in their research and what would they do tomorrow if they had the opportunity. We recognized a number of things in that process.

Robin Newhouse:   Number one, we had great capacity, particularly in five areas. Data sciences and analytics, for example. The people that were dealing with addictions were looking for the signals and data to be able to tell if we were improving or going in the wrong direction. We need common data elements, not only working in the research arena for addictions but also working with the state, the management performance hub, to be able to evaluate what’s happening, where it’s happening, who it’s happening to and with.

Robin Newhouse:   So, providing data was one of the first things that we were certainly asked about. That was one of our areas of capacity. Education, training, and certification was another very important academic organization. We’re pretty good at education and training.

Kathleen Gill:   Especially there.

Robin Newhouse:   Yes. Policy analysis, economics, and law. Many of our elected officials were asking, “What can we do in this legislative season? How can we help? What are the policy options that we can use?” That was certainly one of the important areas.

Robin Newhouse:   Basic applied and translational research, basic being bench research, trying to understand, maybe, in animal models, mechanisms of action of addictions, environmental pressures that enhanced or inhibit the likelihood of addictions. Those kinds of things applied. So, evidence-based kinds of interventions that would test and translational research evidence that we know to work. The implementation kinds of studies to the population, to people in the community.

Robin Newhouse:   Then community and workforce development was the last area where we had the capacity. So, those areas … We also knew very early that we had to have partnerships in this. It wasn’t just science. It’s never just science. A paper never does the trick. It’s about working with people to make sure that the evidence is trustworthy, that it’s used in populations, that it’s tailored in the way.

Robin Newhouse:   We also knew that we had to think about this in a socioecological framework. So, it’s not just about patients. It’s about the families they live in, the societies and communities that they live in, the organizations that they intersect with, the policymakers. So, we knew we had to approach this at multiple levels. We also knew that we had to learn quickly, be iterative, encourage teams to work together and learn from each other and expand their thinking.

Robin Newhouse:   So, that report went to the president. It was about a week later he called and asked if I would be the lead investigator for the Grand Challenge. So, that’s how that happened. What an important … It is just exactly what a public university should be doing, is working toward the health of the people. What an honor for us to be able to work in this way, in an investment of 50 million dollars in those five areas, in partnership with not only the state, Eskenazi, IU Health, and over 140 other partners and settings since we have deployed in 2017.

Kathleen Gill:   Well, the evidence-based practices are so critical when you get into the treatment standpoint. It is imperative that we have evidence-based practices. There is a lot of money being offered. There’s going to be so many more treatment facilities that will be evidence-based practice, and Fairbanks was very, very proud to be evidence-based. In 75 years in the community, I know that Fairbanks has worked a lot with IU Health in the research department, and it has been a wonderful partnership.

Kathleen Gill:   We’ve had many of the researchers attend our Susan Lee Conference. You were mentioning about the animal studies. It’s just fascinating to see the work that you are all doing with that.

Robin Newhouse:   Well, we work strategically along with three primary goals. Those were to decrease the number of people with substance use disorders, to decrease the number of people that die as a result of an opioid overdose, and to decrease the number of babies born that have been exposed to substances in utero, unplanned substances in utero.

Robin Newhouse:   Those three were our guiding light of the kinds of studies we would fund. The portfolio was pretty broad in those areas, five areas of our capacity.

Kathleen Gill:   That is so important too. We hear so much in the news about all of the negatives, and this is just so exciting.

Kathleen Gill:   So, 50 million dollars is what has been provided to do these studies. Tell me about some of the recipients. What is happening in our community with this amazing program?

Robin Newhouse:   So, 50 million dollars is intramural. So, the funding is through the schools, through the campuses, and this is all the campuses, and through the Office of the Vice President for Research and the President.

Robin Newhouse:   So, these are funds, generally, that when we conduct research, we have indirect money that comes back to the school that provides infrastructure for research. So, it’s these funds that are being used to reinvest in the research infrastructure.

Robin Newhouse:   The interesting thing that has happened is that as investigators have moved along, they have submitted for funding and have been very fortunate to be awardees in funding. So, that is the idea, that we not only build capacity for this emergency, but we always want to create teams and sustainability for the next emergency. Getting extramural funding is part of that. So, that’s a collateral outcome, I think, that we’ve achieved.

Robin Newhouse:   The kinds of projects that we have funded include the animal model that I mentioned a little bit early, trying to understand the environmental effects. We have investigators that are developing new computer-adaptive screening tools that can assess not only for mental health kinds of issues, but also for addictions quickly, with fewer items. Those investigators are working with the criminal justice system and other settings.

Robin Newhouse:   We have investigators that are working in schools, that are working toward helping children with disruptive behaviors, using dialectical behavioral therapy to help children be aware of their emotions and responses that have had some very good results at this point. We’re very early, I should say that. Our first set of projects were funded in January of 2018, and the second set of projects in October. So, we’re learning as we go.

Robin Newhouse:   We’re working in 29 counties, as well, throughout the state. So, the data, data infrastructure, a number of projects that are secondary data analysis to understand the characteristics of prescribing and some of the influences of prescribing in different areas. We have studies … Let’s see, I talked about some of the applied studies.

Robin Newhouse:   Policy analysis. Some of the first projects that came out were really policy analysis of the evidence-based policy options that our elected officials could consider, and a follow-up survey of some of the policy leaders in the environment to understand the likelihood, or their appetite, for different policy options, which, I think, is always helpful to understand those opinions.

Robin Newhouse:   Community and workforce development. I think one of the examples I gave you of our work in the workforce assessment and trying to understand the type of people that are working in the areas, their scope of practice in the state, and where those opportunities may be, is an example of one of those.

Kathleen Gill:   You mentioned the education. I think it’s a great opportunity just to let our listeners know about Hope Academy High School, which is a free charter high school that is completely focused on young kids that are struggling with substance use disorders, and bringing that education and therapeutic process into their school and in their education.

Kathleen Gill:   So, how big of a problem is substance use, specifically opioid addiction, in Indiana?

Robin Newhouse:   Well, I would say it’s right up there at the top. I think some of the early work in 2017, the rate of drug overdose deaths had significantly increased from about 22.5 per 100,000 people all the way up to 29.4. So, that’s a big increase.

Robin Newhouse:   The statewide costs were estimated to be about 4.3 billion dollars of addictions in 2017. Furthermore, one of the first things we did at the Grand Challenge is trying to understand the experience of our community. We did a survey of Hoosiers. In 2018, early, we learned that two out of three residents knew someone that was battling with addictions.

Robin Newhouse:   One of four reported a friend with an opioid addiction. So, one of five or a family member. That’s pretty compelling.

Robin Newhouse:   Not only that, it not only involved our people, but the issues around neonatal abstinence syndrome were prevalent and high. It was high nationwide. But then what happened in the state was that there was an initiative where they were drawing cord blood in 21 hospitals to understand the exposure of babies that were born in Indiana. More than 25 babies that had cord blood drawn, there was an estimate of 14% tested positive for opioids. 20% of all tests confirmed the presence of multiple substances.

Robin Newhouse:   So, is it a big problem? It’s a problem. Yes. It’s a problem for adults. It’s a problem for young people. It’s a problem for older people. We also had problems with an increased prescribing rate for opioids. It’s a problem for babies.

Kathleen Gill:   Yes. It truly, substance use disorder does not discriminate. It is affecting all of our communities. This is so encouraging and hopeful to see the work that you all are doing to bring light to the crisis, but also the solution. So, we definitely thank you for that.

Kathleen Gill:   So, tell us about the Grand Challenge. What is it? What are you investigating? I know we’ve already spoken about that a little bit. If you would …

Robin Newhouse:   Yeah. So, our idea, of course, is building on our capacity and the expertise that we have here, and deploying our efforts in partnership with the governor, with, originally, it was IU Health and Eskenazi, but now it’s many other more.

Robin Newhouse:   There’s so many other now that are involved and engaged. It is not uncommon for people to reach out to us for conversation. It’s not uncommon for people to email or just wants to talk privately about what they’re experiencing.

Robin Newhouse:   So, it has been one of these efforts that it’s true that we have efforts that are focused about reducing substance use, decreasing opioid deaths, and decreasing babies born that are exposed. It’s true that we are deployed in our greatest areas of capacity. The Grand Challenge is also about profound sustainable partnerships that are win-win, where the community has benefit, IU provides that benefit, but quite honestly, a partnership is a wonderful benefit to an investigator too.

Robin Newhouse:   It signals that this is evidence that’s important. It signals that this is evidence that is trustworthy and people will use it. Quite honestly, these great partnerships will not only provide sustainability, but also provide opportunities for dissemination and implementation in their own communities, because there’s nothing like a partner that has a heart for partnering and fixing a problem, that can powerfully deploy those results in a way that’s either with their own community or with our policymakers, or other organizations.

Kathleen Gill:   The addiction crisis, there is a large passion and force that is riding up to tackle this crisis that is happening in our city.

Kathleen Gill:   What would you say is the most eye-opening thing that the Grand Challenge has revealed?

Robin Newhouse:   I think the most eye-opening thing has been the response, the community response. The science, we’re sort of used to. That’s what we do. We are doing it with partners. I can’t say I’ve ever had a time in my career where people have reached out to me about research. People, not other scientists. They’re hungry for a result. They’re eager for not a five-year study, a shovel ready study, that can help them tomorrow.

Robin Newhouse:   After the announcement in October of 2017, I had so many emails that I had to get help to respond to people and contacts, people that wanted to tell their story, people that wanted to know more about the Grand Challenge, companies, sometimes, that had some aligned interest. In fact, one of the things that we did early is set up a conceptual model of engagement, of community engagement, so that we could think again about how do we involve as many people as we can, instead of one person at a time. Because the requests for engagement ranged from, “We’d like to be on a listserve and see what you are doing,” to, “We’d like to be involved in one of these studies,” to, “We’d like to partner with you in this way, in this win-win.”

Robin Newhouse:   So, we ended up developing it, and then from that framework, trying to figure out who can help people, because as one person, there could be great delays. This was not the kind of thing that you wanted to have a delay in connecting people. So, we connected many, many to teams. We had many partner conversations. We continue to have many partner conversations. It’s still not unusual today for someone to reach out just for a conversation, to say, “Is there a way we can work together in this way?”

Robin Newhouse:   We’ve had community partners that have reached out to us, that we’re working with towards, for example, stigma reduction strategies. I think that was the most surprising. It came from the heart of Hoosiers that were experiencing problems with addiction, reaching out to say, “I know I’m the other part of you, so what can we do together to fight this problem that can make a profound difference?”

Kathleen Gill:   How long do you see the Grand Challenge continuing?

Robin Newhouse:   So, this Grand Challenge, it was a five-year time limit. So, it ends in 2022. The idea was we deployed quickly, phase one, which was those shovel ready projects. Second phase two in October, which we did a lot of work around scoping reviews, discussion groups, dialogues, and ideas lab to try to generate some interesting ideas that we’ve never thought of before. We brought communities together in these discussions. The teams went forth and developed proposals that were scientifically reviewed and selected. They began in October.

Robin Newhouse:   So, we have a very good group of projects that are underway now. The results will be emerging by the end of the year and into next year. Some of them are going to be a little bit longer, so they’ll be closer to 2022. We are seeing this interplay with partners, interplay with the projects that are progressing and showing some interesting results. So, we need to imagine what the next phase will look like. I imagine it’s not going to be a public call like we’ve had in the past. It’s going to be more of targeted, high impact kinds of initiatives that we’re starting to see emerge from the projects that are underway now, or with the partners we’re engaged with.

Kathleen Gill:   So, that’s a good segue into how can facilities like Fairbanks help?

Robin Newhouse:   Well, I think there is any number of ways that facilities like Fairbanks can help. First of all, Fairbanks is Fairbanks. The work that’s done there is amazing, inpatient, outpatient. The high level of evidence-based practices that occur there and compassionate care, as well as the Hope Academy. I have to say, personally, I’ve been to a number of the graduations. It is inspiring. I just love to see the young people graduate with such resilience and hope.

Robin Newhouse:   I am an admirer, I would say. Fairbanks can keep on doing what they’re doing so well, number one, but, I think, on a more technical aspect, there are always opportunities to volunteer for advisory boards, for studies. So, I know in my own studies, we have advisory boards. Those advisory boards, sometimes, they even start before the study is submitted for funding. They help us generate the questions that we’re going to raise. They help us pick the design and methods, and the outcomes that are most important to people. Sometimes they work with us throughout the study and the dissemination and results.

Robin Newhouse:   So, there are those kinds of opportunities, I think, to engage. In terms of the Grand Challenge, we have a community advisory board that is guiding the Grand Challenge, that we look for community input. So, those are ways that aren’t high time utilization, that you can be helpful in intermittent ways. But then there are opportunities. I do believe there are things that partners can think about together, like a network, a learning network, or participating in studies together to go for additional extramural funding. So, that goes from advice to being a partner, either a partner with IU or with investigators.

Robin Newhouse:   I think there’s unlimited opportunities to think about what might be possible, to not only build relationships with IU and others, but also to bring other people into this network to learn together.

Kathleen Gill:    Yes. Indiana has such a strong recovery community, and there are so many partners and organizations that are passionate about making a difference and making an impact in this crisis. I know there are many organizations that are coming together and working together so that we’re not reinventing the wheel, but it is very important to have that collaboration with different pockets of the community.

Robin Newhouse:   I also know … So, I think it reminds me, I did an oped last year, Five Things Anybody Can Do To Help Fight Addictions. A couple of the things related to knowing where the treatment centers are and knowing what the volunteer efforts are in the treatment centers. So, learn about them and volunteer.

Robin Newhouse:    I think that’s one of the wonderful things you can do for the community because it not only helps the people you serve, but it helps the community you serve to learn about addictions and help in a way that they can.

Kathleen Gill:   I actually am the Alumni Relations Officer at Fairbanks, and I work with our volunteers and our alumni. At Fairbanks, we have 180 volunteers that help out in various aspects and, of course, boards and committees, that it is … We’re always looking for people to come in and help. So, I’m sure that, along with the Grand Challenge, it looks like there are more and more opportunities to get involved as we continue to battle the addiction crisis.

Kathleen Gill:   So, when it comes to addiction issues, are you hopeful about Indiana’s future?

Robin Newhouse:   You bet I am. I think together is a very important concept of the partnership, and I would say we’re already starting to see better outcomes. So, most recently, I heard data that the drug overdose death rates have declined by 12% in 2018, which is more than the national average. The opioid prescriptions in Indiana are down 12%. Again, we’re ahead of the curve.

Robin Newhouse:   The number of addiction treatment providers in Indiana has increased by 42% since 2014. You may know that the Medicaid waiver expanded addiction treatment to 1.6 million Hoosiers and more than 56,000 people in Indiana have received care utilizing the waiver. So, definitely in the right direction. We’re starting to see more residential treatment increasing as well.

Robin Newhouse:   So, in addition to having profound partnerships, I do believe we’re going in the right direction. The data is telling us, and we see it. So, I’m hopeful that we are going to help build a resilient community together.

Kathleen Gill:   Yes. Governor Holcomb said that this Grand Challenge, there’s the desire for more hope to the far too many hopeless, that we can deliver more hope to the far too many hopeless.

Kathleen Gill:   Is there anything else you’d like to add about how we should address the opioid crisis in Indiana?

Robin Newhouse:   Well, is this time for a together statement?

Kathleen Gill:   Not quite.

Robin Newhouse:   Okay.

Kathleen Gill:   I’m coming to that.

Robin Newhouse:   All right. Very good.

Kathleen Gill:   I’ve got one more question I’m going to add on here too. Let me ask you this. How do you foresee the research eventually benefiting patients, such as the ones that we are serving at Fairbanks?

Robin Newhouse:   Oh, I think we’re going to see a better understanding of what treatment works for whom. There are some questions that aren’t answered, for example. As we get these results, I think each result will impact significant numbers of people. I also have to say that these unique partnerships that we have made are sustainable. So, with those partnerships come many opportunities, not only to solve this problem but to solve future problems.

Robin Newhouse:    I think one of the collateral things about the Grand Challenge is we’ve done a lot of training. It’s collateral training because they’re trained as part of our research team. So, for example, 55 community mental health staff and providers were trained in evidence-based intervention techniques to reduce substance use in one of our projects, and that’s the Family-Based Justice Improvement Project in Wayne and Tippecanoe counties.

Robin Newhouse:   We also have had a number of conferences to help to translate some of the evidence-based practices that are available, have a dialogue about harm reduction strategies, and those kinds of effects that, I think, were incredibly important in spreading. I think that we not only have seen changes in education because of our work, we’ve started to anticipate the results of very positive signals about learning more about how we can do better.

Kathleen Gill:   So, the Grand Challenge focused on reducing the incidents of a substance use disorder, decreasing the number of open wound fatalities, and to reduce the number of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. That is a grand challenge, indeed.

Kathleen Gill:   We are so grateful for IU and for you, Dean Newhouse, to be involved with this project. It really shows a lot of compassion and care and concern for the community. At Fairbanks, we like to say, “together we can.” It’s a rather open-ended statement that means we can do more and overcome more when we do it together. It sounds like the Grand Challenge is very much focused on that.

Kathleen Gill:   So, I ask you, what does … I might just say that again. So, examples of … Let’s see. Sorry.

Kathleen Gill:   So, what does … How would you finish the statement? “Together we can,” what?

Robin Newhouse:   I would say together we can build a resilient community to support health and recovery from addiction.

Kathleen Gill:   Fantastic. That is the goal. That is my hope, my desire, as a woman in long term recovery, from the education standpoint, from every pocket of our community, I hope and I pray that we can do that.

Kathleen Gill:   This has been Recovery Talks, a Fairbanks podcast. If you or a loved one need support in the journey of recovery, the experts at Fairbanks Treatment and Recovery Center can help. Visit our website at fairbanksrecovery.org for recovery resources, or call 800-225-HOPE for immediate help.

Kathleen Gill:   Dr. Newhouse, thank you so much for being with us.

Robin Newhouse:   Thank you for the invitation and your partnership.

Kathleen Gill:   It is our pleasure. Thank you for listening.

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