Michigan State University, through the Office of University Outreach and Engagement, is coordinating the Opioid Prevention and Education Network (OPEN-MSU), funded by the Corporation for National Community Service (CNCS).
The goal of OPEN-MSU is to build the capacity of local efforts to create or expand opioid prevention, intervention, and treatment opportunities in low-income Michigan communities. It is a cost-efficient way to leverage the human capital of organizations to build capacity and respond to the opioid epidemic.
How Does the OPEN-MSU Partnership Work?
MSU has been accepting applications from organizations across Michigan to become host sites. Host sites will house and supervise AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) members. VISTA members will strengthen their host sites’ ability to address the opioid abuse crisis in partnership with a network of MSU research and policy experts.
In the application to become an OPEN-MSU host site, organizations propose a project that can be completed by a VISTA, over the course of a year.
Host sites must be public agencies or 501c3 nonprofits, including community health organizations, collaboratives, justice systems, and other organizations working to prevent opioid abuse and overdose.
Because OPEN-MSU is a cost-share partnership, in which all parties contribute to the success and outcomes, host sites must be able to make the required financial contribution. Host sites contribute $7,500 per volunteer, office space and equipment, on-site supervision and logistical support, and position-specific training.
In return, host sites receive a full-time VISTA, 37-40 hours per week for one year. Host sites also receive professional development and resources to build capacity for opioid prevention and treatment and evidence-based practice. OPEN-MSU will provide assistance with recruiting and onboarding of VISTAs, training in project management and leadership for VISTAs and site supervisors, and assistance with grant-reporting, oversight, and management.
The OPEN-MSU program has been designed to be mutually beneficial to host sites and their communities and VISTA members.
What is AmeriCorps VISTA and What Will VISTA Members Do?
AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) is a national service program, administered nationally by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), through which members serve with nonprofit, faith-based, and public agencies for one full year on projects designed to lessen and alleviate poverty.
For the OPEN-MSU network, they will support local efforts to identify service gaps, improve communication within local collaboratives and organizations, and build the capacity of these entities to address the opioid abuse crisis in partnership with a network of MSU research and policy experts. MSU faculty and staff will participate in identifying resources and approaches for developing capacity for the VISTA members and their host sites.