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NVRH Receives $450,000 Grant to Build Prevention Network

by | Jan 21, 2021 | In the News

ST. JOHNSBURY, VT (January 21, 2021) – Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital (NVRH) has received the Vermont Prevention Center of Excellence’s Grant. This grant is a one-year grant opportunity with goals to reduce underage drinking, high-risk alcohol consumption, marijuana and tobacco misuse, prescription drug and stimulant misuse, and illicit stimulants and opioids. In order to build prevention capacity and infrastructure at the community, as well as regional levels, NVRH is partnering with Umbrella Inc.

The grant, which totals $450,000, tackles two components of prevention: the promotion of healthy lifestyles and norms that reduce the risks associated with the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs and the reduction of the impact of those at higher-than-average risk for substance misuse. This includes individuals currently experiencing problems related to use.

“This is a unique opportunity to collaborate with Umbrella, support others in their efforts to reduce substance use disorder throughout the entire Northeast Kingdom and Wells River,” NVRH Director Substance Misuse Prevention Cheryl Chandler said. “This grant will enhance the great work that is being done in the NEK around substance misuse.”

The best way to prevent substance misuse is to review data to identify existing conditions that either promote risk or protect from risk, assess a community’s readiness and capacity to address the conditions, and then identify strategies and programs. Therefore, funds will go towards staffing, analysis, workforce development, and evaluation of archival data. Funds will also be focused on developing a needs assessment. $200,000 of the funds will include sub-awards that will go towards local partners whose missions support the goals outlined above. Information around proposal requests will be announced at a later date.

While Umbrella has been providing prevention-based programming geared at ending domestic and sexual violence for decades, they have only recently developed a more holistic approach to prevention. This includes working to prevent substance misuse as well as tobacco use.

“This grant program will lift up and support work happening around the Kingdom related to substance misuse and pave the way for more capacity for prevention down the road,” Umbrella Inc. Executive Director Amanda Cochrane said. “Umbrella is very pleased to partner with NVRH on this exciting opportunity.”

Umbrella focuses on initiatives in the schools and in the community that aim towards preventing gender-based violence; advocates for survivors of domestic and sexual violence such as stalking, teen dating violence, human trafficking and any other gender-based violence; and provides child care subsidies, referral and specialized child care support. It also supports women with significant barriers to employment.

“We’re grateful that the Vermont Department of Health Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs and the Agency of Human Services chose us to be the recipient of this grant,” NVRH CEO Shawn Tester said. “It’s an exciting opportunity. When it comes to tackling prevention work in our community, this grant will allow us to continue our work upstream and really make a difference.”

A Steering Committee has been appointed to bring unique knowledge and skills and multi-sector input to the Prevention Center of Excellence Grant Project. Members include Lila Bennett, Executive Director, Journey to Recovery Community Center; Susan Cherry, Executive Director, Community Restorative Justice Center; Michael Costa, CEO, Northern Counties Health Care, Inc. Lon Davis, Catamount Arts Open Stage Program; Karen E. Geraghty, Economic Development Specialist, Northeastern Vermont Development Association; Sheriff Jennifer L. Harlow, Orleans County Sheriff’s Department; Jim Kisch, CEO, President, Passumpsic Bank; Suzanne Legare-Belcher, Field Services Director, Newport and St. Johnsbury Districts, Vermont Agency of Human Services; Laurna Noyes, ECSD, Deputy/SIU/Office Administrator, Essex County Sheriff’s Department; Chantelle Paradise, Recovery Coach, Kingdom Recovery Center; and Samantha Stevens, M. Ed., Equity and Community Outreach Coordinator, North Country Supervisory Union.

To learn more and contact the Prevention Center of Excellence Program Managers Cheryl Chandler and Amanda Cochrane, visit

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