UNITE Rural Health Opioid Program (RHOP)

Virtual Provider Education Summit: “Hope Continues”

Operation UNITE’s Rural Health Opioid Program (RHOP) held its second Provider Education Summit, “Hope Continues,” on Thursday, January 14, 2021. Most presentations were approved for continuing education credits from the Kentucky Medical Association (KMA), Southern KY AHEC, and Kentucky Board of Nursing (KBN). Credit was pending (as of 12-14-20) from the Kentucky Board of Alcohol and Drug Counselors, Kentucky Board of Licensed Professional Counselors, and Kentucky Board of Social Work.

Continuing Education

To claim your Continuing Education credits, you will need to create an account with Southern Kentucky AHEC by clicking on the link below. Once you create your account you will be able to complete the survey and download a certificate of completion.

If you do not have an ID number, enter the last 4 digits of your social security number.

Summit Presentations

Below are PDF versions of the PowerPoints from the UNITE RHOP Summit. The five “Stories of Hope” are also available to view.

KY Response to the Opioid Epidemic – Van Ingram

KY Opioid Response Effort – Eric Friedlander

Adolescent Screening – Fletcher Group panel

Innovative Resources – Tim Robinson, Veronica Cecil & Beth Davisson panel

Trauma-Informed Care – Terrah Combs

Re-Licensure Ethics Parts 1 & 2 – Geoff Wilson

Meth 101 & Polysubstance Use – Judge Kevin Mullins

Equipping the Faith Community – Monty Burks

Appalachia HIDTA OD Strategy – Joe Kuehne and Greg Roberts

Harm Reduction Services & H.E.L.P. – Scott Lockard and John Isfort

Increasing Access to Treatment – Dr. Holly Russell

Perspectives of an Obstetrician and Public Health – Connie White

Recovery Connectors – Matt Brown

Program Details

Visit our 20 virtual exhibitor displays starting at 8 am.

Summit programs begin at 9 am and continue through 5 pm.

Morning plenary presentations include:

  • “Kentucky Response to the Opioid Epidemic,” Van Ingram, Executive Director of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy
  • “Impact COVID has had Regarding Substance Abuse, Domestic Violence, and Reporting in Kentucky,” by Eric Friedlander, Secretary, Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Morning breakout sessions include:

  • Adolescent Screening for SUD (Panel Discussion) – Dr. Ernie Fletcher, Founder and Chief Medical Officer; Lori Baier, Director of Employment Services; Dave Johnson, Chief Executive Officer; and Dr. Margaret Ng-Cadlaon, pediatrician; The Fletcher Group
  • Innovative Resources of Reentry (Panel Discussion) – Tim Robinson, Chief Executive Officer, Addiction Recovery Care; Veronica Judy-Cecil, Senior Deputy Commissioner, Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services; Elizabeth Davisson, Executive Director, Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center
  • Trauma-Informed Care – Terrah Combs, Director, The Rising Center, Kentucky River Community Care
  • Re-Licensure Ethics for Social Workers, Alcohol and Drug Counselors, and Other Counselor Professions – Part 1 – Geoff Wilson, Therapist & Trainer, Lexington Counseling and Psychiatry

A working lunch will include a presentation on “Meth 101 and Polysubstance Use in Rural Communities,” by Judge Kevin R. Mullins, Kentucky 47th Judicial District Court.

Afternoon plenary presentations include:

  • “Equipping the Faith Community with Evidence-Based Tools to Address Community-Based Issues,” by Monty Burks, PhD, Director of Faith-Based Initiatives, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse and Substance Services
  • “Substance Abuse Disorder – Perspectives from the ER and Public Health,” by Dr. Connie White, Deputy Commissioner for Clinical Affairs, Kentucky Department for Public Health
  • “Recovery Connectors,” by Matt Brown, Senior Vice President of Administration, Addiction Recovery Care

Afternoon breakout sessions include:

  • Appalachia HIDTA and the Overdose Responses Strategy – Edward “Joe” Kuehne, Deputy Manager, Investigative Support Center, Appalachia HIDTA; Greg Roberts, Overdose Response Strategy Coordinator and Tennessee Drug Intelligence Officer, Appalachia HIDTA
  • Harm Reduction Services during the COVID-19 Pandemic & H.E.L.P (Healing, Empowering and Living Program) – Scott Lockard, Public Health Director, Kentucky River District Health Department; John Isfort, Project HOME Network, Mercy Health Marcum and Wallace Hospital
  • Increasing Access to Treatment for OUD Within Primary Care – Dr. Holly Russell, University of Rochester Medicine Recovery Center of Excellence
  • Re-Licensure Ethics for Social Workers, Alcohol and Drug Counselors, and Other Counselor Professions – Part 2 – Geoff Wilson, Therapist & Trainer, Lexington Counseling and Psychiatry

Updated 1-13-21

Stories of Hope

The UNITE Rural Health Opioid Program (RHOP) began in January 2019 utilizing a Rural Health Opioid Grant provided by the federal Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA). The goal of the three-year grant is to reduce morbidity and mortality related to opioid use disorders.

UNITE created a Kentucky River Opioid Outreach Consortium that brings together community partners to discuss needs in the seven-county service region – Knott, Lee, Letcher, Leslie, Owsley, Perry, and Wolfe counties – and how to address these needs.


For more information about the UNITE Rural Health Opioid Program, contact Program Director JoAnn Vanzant at 606-407-1360, or email to jvanzant@centertech.com.

Goals of RHOP include:

  • Provide 90-day residential treatment vouchers for those who are suffering from an opioid use disorder (OUD). To be eligible, a person must reside in one of the Kentucky River region counties for at least the past six months. (For those living outside this area, but within Operation UNITE’s 32-county service region, you may be eligible for the UNITE Treatment Voucher Program.)
  • Provide personalized case management for those in treatment to assist with resources during transition and aftercare, including transportation services.
  • Identify individuals at-risk of overdose and guide them toward recovery by providing outreach and education on locally available treatment options and support services.
  • Educate community members on opioid use disorder, treatment options, and methods for preparing and referring individuals with OUD to treatment.
  • Support individuals in recovery by establishing new or enhancing existing behavioral counseling and peer support activities.
  • Hold an annual provider education summit.

2019 Provider Education Summit

Operation UNITE’s Rural Health Opioid Program (RHOP) held its first Provider Education Summit, “Providing Hope to Our Communities,” on Thursday, September 26, at Hazard Community & Technical College.