Monongalia County QRT awarded $1 million federal grant for data collection
Oct. 24, 2023
Contact: MaryWade Burnside
Public Information Officer
Monongalia County Health Department
Morgantown, WV 26505
(304) 598-5152 | www.monchd.org
For Immediate Release
MORGANTOWN, WV (Oct. 24, 2023) — The Monongalia County Quick Response Team (QRT) plans to use a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to employ a full-time data improvement coordinator, increase data collection efforts and create stronger relationships with other community organizations.
The data improvement coordinator “will be looking at the systems we have in place and working to improve our data collection and analysis,” said Brittany Irick, Monongalia County QRT coordinator.
“Our QRT has a lot of data coming in and it is going to take an in-depth look at what we are collecting and how it can be used as successfully as possible. This will also include site visits to programs that have been successful and seeing how we can implement those strategies in Monongalia County.”
The grant, titled Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant and Substance Use Program (COSSUP) was announced on Sept. 26 as part of a federal funding initiative led by U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.). The DOJ funding aims to protect victims of domestic abuse and stalking, address youth opioid addiction and provide new equipment for local police departments and sheriffs’ offices.
COSSUP was awarded to the Monongalia County QRT, a comprehensive collaboration among public health, first responders, peer recovery support specialists (PRSS) and other health-care and private partners. Launched in 2019, the team meets weekly to strategize, with specialists aiming to connect individuals who overdose within 72 hours to counseling and support services.
“We are overjoyed to be named the recipient of this level of federal grant,” said Dr. Lee B. Smith, health officer of Monongalia County Health Department. “We’re especially pleased to be able to improve services to individuals and families dealing with substance use disorder, as well as to be able to have the ability to better target harder-hit areas.”
This year was the third time the Monongalia County QRT applied for the grant and the first that they received it.
“Being awarded the grant was definitely a team effort,” Irick said. “We applied two other times and even though we were unsuccessful, we received really helpful feedback that allowed us to get the grant proposal to a good place.”
Anthony DeFelice, MCHD’s executive director, credited Irick and other team members for securing the $1 million grant.
“We are very excited that Monongalia County Health Department and the Monongalia QRT have received this level of DOJ funding,” he said. “This will enable the great work of Monongalia County QRT to continue to move forward in providing these vital services to the community.”
The QRT’s vision for the three-year grant period, which ranges from Oct. 1, 2023 to Sept. 30, 2026, will be split into three parts. In the first year of the grant, MCHD will hire a full-time data improvement coordinator, who will work in close collaboration with MCHD and QRT leadership to identify innovative approaches to further enhance the lives of individuals impacted by substance misuse.
The second year of the grant will be aimed at streamlining data capture processes and establishing crucial partnerships and data sharing agreements with entities possessing valuable data metrics. One such entity is the West Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME).
"A big goal is to improve our relationship with the county medical examiner's office,” Irick said. “They aren’t currently involved with the QRT, but they would provide valuable insight on overdose fatalities as well as current drug trends.”
The third and final year centers around translating data into tangible actions. Enhanced data and information systems will empower the QRT with a more comprehensive understanding of the areas that need targeted interventions.
"The Monongalia County QRT would like to define success and learn how to accurately measure success,” Irick said. “Not only will an answer help tell the story and timeline of substance misuse in Monongalia County, but it will help guide resource allocation to where they are truly needed.
"Having a better understanding of necessary data will help us see where QRT efforts can be maximized and how to reach people before they fall through the cracks," she added.