College of Public Health's Center for Public Policy and Health Collaborates on Three Significant Research Projects

Drs. Deric Kenne and Kimberly Laurene Receive Funding Totaling more than $3.5M

Congratulations to Deric Kenne, Ph.D., Associate Director of the Division of Mental Health and Substance Use (DMHSU) within the Kent State College of Public Health's Center for Public Policy and Health, for receiving three grants totaling more than $3,530,000 in funding. 

The most recent of the three awards is a five-year, $2.6 million grant from the US Department of Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that will expand and enhance medication-assisted treatment (MAT) services for opioid use disorder in Summit County. The Center for Public Policy and Health (CPPH) will partner with CHC Addiction Services in Akron, Ohio, to provide medication-assisted treatment in combination with comprehensive opioid use disorder services, including counseling, behavioral therapies and recovery support services.

Led by Janet Wagner, Chief Executive Officer at CHC Addiction Services and Dr. Kenne, the project will implement outreach and engagement strategies to increase participation in and access to MAT services for diverse populations at risk for opioid use disorder, including tele-health and other innovative approaches.

"I'm particularly excited about our partnership with CHC Addiction Services - the largest substance abuse treatment provider in Summit County," said Kenne. "Not only will we be able to expand and enhance services to help more people, but we will be examining the impact those services have in terms of improving treatment outcomes and recovery for individuals struggling with opioid use disorder."

"Over the last five decades, there has been one constant: there are more people suffering with substance abuse disorder than we have the capacity to help," explained Wagner. "Our team at CHC is energized by this new opportunity to expand treatment for opioid addiction in a targeted, meaningful way. Working with Kent State's College of Public Health will further solidify the importance of comprehensive, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorder in our area," he continued.

Through another five-year, $625,000 grant from SAMHSA, the Center for Public Policy and Health will partner with the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Portage County to improve and support mental health in Portage County. The primary goals of the project are to provide mental health awareness training to teachers, administrators and staff in Portage County schools, create resource guides and referral mechanisms, and implement mental health stigma reduction campaigns.

The project, led by John Garrity and Karyn Kravetz at the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Portage County and Kenne, will also provide free training to community agencies and members annually.

"This five-year project has the potential to help hundreds of students in need to get connected with behavioral health services and improve mental health in Portage County," Kenne explained.

"Obtaining this SAMSHA grant in collaboration with Kent State University provides us an opportunity to increase mental health awareness and suicide prevention to our residents," said Garrity, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Portage County.

This summer, the Division of Mental Health and Substance Use (DMHSU) of the Center for Public Policy and Health also received the Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention Grant for $306,000. The three-year More Aware project aims to reduce the adverse consequences of serious mental illness and substance use disorders, including suicidal behavior, chronic mental health disorders and substance-related injuries. The project will be led by Doctors Kimberly Laurene and Kenne in the College of Public Health and Dr. Lamar Hylton, Vice President for Student Affairs, in collaboration with University Health Services, Student Support Services and other divisions across Kent State.

"People have already reached out to inquire about bringing mental health awareness trainings to their groups on campus. It's very evident the KSU community wants to continue to participate in mental health trainings and educational programs in order to support students, faculty and staff," said Laurene, Ph.D., Project Director for the grant. 

In addition to continuing to provide mental health awareness trainings and education to KSU faculty, staff and students, the new project will expand mental health training and education initiatives and will work collaboratively with the University's newly established CARES Center.

About Dr. Kenne

Deric KenneAs an Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management in the College of Public Health, Kenne has over 20 years of experience as a researcher and practitioner in the fields of mental health and substance use in both academic and nonprofit settings. He secured over $7.5 million in state and federally funded research and service grants while at Kent State and has authored or co-authored numerous articles. His undergraduate and graduate teaching experience at KSU includes program planning, implementation and evaluation, grant writing and introduction to public health. His research focuses on the early detection and intervention of mental health and substance use issues in an effort to improve outcomes for individuals struggling with their mental health and/or substance use. His current projects include mental health awareness and suicide prevention, and the use of machine learning and predictive modeling to surveil substance use and abuse trends.




About Dr. laurene

LaureneKimberly Laurene, Ph.D. graduated with a doctorate in psychology from Bowling Green State University in 2010. She serves as an Assistant Professor and is involved with More Aware and Medina County Aware. She has experience teaching undergraduate classes in statistics, general psychology, developmental psychology, adolescent psychology, and career issues in psychology and graduate courses in public health. She is an adult and a youth mental health first aid instructor as well as a CPR instructor. Laurene serves as the advisor for Active Minds. Her current research addresses mental health and substance abuse. 



POSTED: Thursday, October 21, 2021 - 1:21pm
UPDATED: Friday, October 22, 2021 - 10:31am