Award-Winning Academic and Community Partnership Earns Statewide Recognition

June 28, 2023 • News

Dana Litt Photo
Dr. Dana Litt

As part of her ongoing collaboration with Challenge of Tarrant County, an organization dedicated to addressing substance use and misuse the local community, Dr. Dana Litt, an Associate Professor in the School of Public Health, is a member of the Red Ribbon Week sub-committee, a group of multidisciplinary prevention professions, led by Challenge of Tarrant County Chief Operating Officer, John Haenes, aimed at developing innovative and impactful campaigns for Red Ribbon Week. Red Ribbon Week is the nation’s largest and longest-running drug awareness and prevention program observed annually each October.

This past year, the sub-committee embarked on an ambitious project to create a series of impactful videos addressing the fentanyl epidemic by sitting down with parents who had lost their teens to the epidemic. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid responsible for a significant increase in overdose deaths worldwide, particularly among young people. By utilizing their collective expertise and diverse perspectives, Dr. Litt and the team aimed to inform and educate the community about the risks associated with fentanyl use as well as provide tips and resources to parents related to talking with their teens about these important issues.  As an expert in this area, Dr. Litt drew upon the insights gained from one of her ongoing research projects to work with the sub-committee to develop an online and freely accessible  to supplement the videos. By leveraging the lessons learned from her project as well as the collective expertise of other prevention professionals on the subcommittee, the goal was to create a practical community resource that equips parents with the knowledge and tools necessary to guide their children away from fentanyl and other substances and make informed decisions.

AwardThe hard work and dedication of the Challenge of Tarrant County Red Ribbon Week sub-committee did not go unnoticed. On June 27th, at the annual Prevention Providers Meeting held in Austin, Texas, they were honored with the Community Partnership of the Year Award from the Health and Human Services Commission for their exceptional efforts during the 2022 Red Ribbon Week. This award recognized the sub-committee’s outstanding achievement in the field of substance abuse prevention and their innovative social media project, which effectively utilized digital platforms to spread awareness and engage the community in the fight against substance use and misuse.

Academic and community partnerships, such as the collaboration between Dr. Litt and the Challenge of Tarrant County Red Ribbon Week sub-committee have the ability to address complex social issues, promote evidence-based practices, and empower communities. By combining their resources, expertise, and perspectives, these partnerships maximize their impact and contribute to the well-being of individuals and communities.