Community Coalition Development

Community coalitions work to promote wellness and prevent unhealthy substance use. Virginia is fortunate to have more than 50 volunteer-driven community coalitions. Coalitions include individuals from diverse sectors of the community who share a passion for the health of people and places where they live.

Coalitions welcome partners such as: youth, parents, businesses, media, educators, youth-serving organizations, law enforcement, faith communities, civic and volunteer organizations, health providers, and other community activists interested in promoting wellness.

To support community coalitions, OBHW provides funding for collaboration between staff at the Community Service Boards and local coalitions. Using SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework, coalition members study local conditions and create a roadmap for addressing health issues through a data-driven, environmental approach.

For people who are interested in volunteering with a community coalition, there are many ways to get involved regardless of prior experience. Just a few examples of activities coalition members engage with include:

  • Conducting town hall meetings to address underage drinking or other topics of local concern
  • Surveying the community to understand attitudes and knowledge about vaping
  • Reaching out to community members to share information about the coalition
  • Hosting trainings and educational presentations
  • Collecting local data
  • Meeting with health professionals to discuss safe prescribing of medication
  • Recruiting youth to help design a social media campaign

To build the capacity of community coalitions in Virginia, OBHW promotes membership and training opportunities with global partner
Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), and state level partner Community Coalitions of Virginia (CCoVA).

For additional information about OBHW’s partnership with community coalitions, contact the State Opioid Response Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Farinholt at jennifer.farinholt@dbhds.virginia.gov.

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