The CoP-RCORP Consortia originally came together when Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs and the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) supported five Ohio Counties to submit two $200,000 grants from the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the planning phase of the HRSA Rural Communities Opioid Response Program. included Fairfield and Ashtabula Counties were funded through partnership with Ohio University and Sandusky County and Washington County were funded through the proposal with PIRE. While Sandusky, Ashtabula, and Fairfield Counties have all partnered with PIRE and OU in the past, Washington was a County new to working with the PIRE-OU collaboration. CoP-RCORP was officially formed when both proposals were funded in 2018 and the initiative was able to use a shared services approach to include and support a fifth community, Seneca County.
The described approach was possible because OU and PIRE have a long-standing partnership that allows both organizations to work closely together on community-focused projects. The history of working together and in collaboration with communities brought to light the fact that shared experiences support cooperative learning in community members. Therefore, to make the most of existing relationships with community collaborators for this initiative, project directors from each community work with PIRE and OU to form a master consortium that provides leadership and management oversight for project activities. Each community then also has a community-specific consortium that leads project activities within the five Ohio counties. The community of practice approach made possible through shared services also supported the five communities in applying for the HRSA Rural Communities Opioid Response Program Implementation phase in collaboration with PIRE and OU. With the award of an additional $1 million each, CoP-RCORP will continue in the implementation phase of the HRSA Rural Communities Opioid Response Program through 2022.