Supporting Families amidst the Opioid Epidemic: Connecting Campus and Extension Efforts across New York

Worksite Location
Tompkins and Ulster Counties
Project Dates
June 1 - August 1
Faculty Sponsor
Laura Tach
Other Campus-Based Mentors/Supervisors
Elizabeth Day
Field Mentors/Supervisors
Anna Steinkraus and Jared Buono
Wages Up To
$4,000
Project Summary and Intended Outcomes

The opioid epidemic has devastated families across New York, and Extension Educators have experienced the consequences first-hand through programs in a variety of service areas. Educators have sought feedback and resources from campus regarding model programs, best practices, and innovative approaches for supporting these vulnerable families, yet the unique needs of individual counties and a lack of cohesion between researchers on campus has made it hard for meaningful information to flow among counties and campus. The overarching goal of this project is to enhance efforts being made among counties and between campus and counties to share research, resources, and best practices about the opioid epidemic. More specifically, a CHE-CCE intern would collect data regarding county needs and campus resources, including: 1) surveying CCE offices to learn about unique needs, strengths, and challenges related to how they’re approaching the opioid epidemic, 2) creating profiles of standout counties including programs, funding, and best practices, 3) starting a more formal network of researchers doing work on opioids across campus, and 4) connecting the campus network to CCE offices based on needs and interests. These efforts would culminate in a series of informational briefs that could be distributed across the state. Information gathered from this project would also provide meaningful insights for developing future CCE in-service trainings. 

Roles and Responsibilities

A CHE-CCE intern would play a critical role in shaping efforts to bridge opioid research and practice. He or she would work closely with CCE partners in Tompkins and Ulster Counties to develop and conduct surveys (or interviews) with county offices across the state and create profiles of particularly successful efforts currently in place to support vulnerable families. Understanding the unique strengths and challenges of each county will be an important first step towards creating meaningful connections among counties and between counties and campus. He or she would also work closely with campus partners to connect the network of researchers at Cornell studying opioids and their effects on families. The CHE-CCE intern would be responsible for developing a dissemination plan for key findings, as well as for facilitating meetings between CCE offices and campus resources. 

Qualifications and Previous Coursework

The CHE-CCE intern will be most successful if he or she has prior experience and/or coursework in survey design, project management, and research dissemination. Strong communication skills and organizational skills are also important, given the role the student will play in connecting campus and CCE offices. 

Benefits and Skills

At the conclusion of the project, the CHE-CCE intern will have gained an understanding of the benefits and challenges of bridging research and practice. More specifically, the student will have gained skills in 1) collaborating with stakeholders to design a survey and collect data, 2) assessing county needs, strengths, and challenges, 3) connecting stakeholders across contexts (research and practice), and 4) effectively disseminating findings to public audiences.