GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A nearly $900,000 grant has been awarded to ECU to allow students to be trained in opioid abuse treatment.

The purpose of the grant is to train future psychologists to more competent in providing mental health and opioid use disorder related care to patients as part of a multi-disciplinary team.

The grant will provide training for psychology students in integrated primary care settings as well as specialty care settings.

Students will also be trained in more rural primary care facilities as well as the Greenville homeless shelter medical clinic.

Another part of the grant is to provide training to the communities first responders.

The grant is a partnership between ECU’s Department of Psychology and the Brody School of Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine.

“So we’re recognizing that the opioid crisis is real and that if we are going to address it, we have to find ways to meet people where they are. We have to show up where they’re showing up in medical settings like primary care and other settings to really make an impact” said Dr. Marissa Carraway, principal investigator and clinical assistant professor in the Departments of Family Medicine and Psychology.

Doctoral psychology students will participate in several different rotations during the one-year training program.

Here is an overview of the training:

  • Provide behavioral health services in the family medicine clinic
  • Train at PORT Health, substance use, and rehabilitation clinic
  • Provide training for first responders
  • Work with patients at the Greenville homeless shelter clinic

Dr. Carraway says more potential partnerships are in the works to provide the students with training in more rural areas.

“Even with Telehealth through our family medicine clinic to work with patients in more rural settings that we otherwise don’t work with or don’t have access to behavioral health care and substance use services,” said Dr. Carraway.

The grant was awarded by the Health and Resources Service Administration (HRSA).

“HRSA is an organization that has really focused on closing the gap for rural health care,” said Dr. Carraway. “So, training and researching strategies that will help provide better care for people in rural places throughout the country, including eastern North Carolina.”

Dr. Carraway says the grant benefits not only the students receiving the training but the patients who would not have had the opportunity for certain treatment options it wasn’t for the training program.