Cheyenne Regional Medical Center was recently awarded a grant of more than $900,000 from the Wyoming Department of Health to address substance abuse and suicide prevention efforts in Laramie County.
The grant was originally awarded to the Laramie County Board of Commissioners, which sub-granted the award to CRMC’s Wyoming Institute of Population Health based on the Institute’s successful track record of community health improvement.
Funds will be distributed through an application process to local organizations working on prevention efforts and that actively participate in the 60-plus member Laramie County Community Partnership, said Amy Spieker, CRMC’s Community Health and Analysis director.
As part of the agreement, $80,000 will also go to Grace for 2 Brothers, a local group working on suicide prevention.
“This grant takes a community prevention approach, with the understanding that one organization working alone will not have as great an impact as many organizations working together,” said Phyllis Sherard, CRMC’s chief strategy officer and vice president of population health and governmental affairs.
The grant takes effect immediately and will help CRMC build on the work of the community needs assessment that is coordinated every three years by CRMC and the LCCP, Spieker said.
The most recent community needs assessment identified substance abuse and suicide as two of the most significant health issues in Laramie County.
“More than 21 percent of Laramie County adults smoke,” Spieker said. “That’s a higher percentage than is found in all of Wyoming or the United States as a whole. Similarly, the suicide rate in Laramie County over the last decade has been nearly double the suicide rate of the United States.”
The Institute will administer the grant, and two staff will be hired to facilitate the work. The Institute will also provide in-kind contributions that include staff support, office space and supplies.
“Complex problems like suicide and substance abuse require an entire community’s focus,” Spieker said. “This grant will allow us to work together to identify evidence-based strategies to address these problems and put them into action.”
The next LCCP meeting will be held on Feb. 5, 12:15 p.m., in the Laramie County Library’s Cottonwood Room. The meeting will include a discussion of the needs assessment and community health improvement process and is open to the public.