Rural Funders Series - Addressing Substance Use

Rural Funders Series - Addressing Substance Use

Woman with pills indoors at home, mental health and drugs addiction concept photo.

Event details

Wednesday, December 8, 2021
10:00am to 11:30am PST

About this event

Join Philanthropy Northwest for a virtual convening of rural funders from across the country to discuss topics and learn best practices alongside peers who serve rural communities. The discussion topic for December is addressing substance use in rural communities. 

When asked about the “most serious” problem facing their rural communities, a national sample of rural residents listed opioid and other drug addiction as their top issue, with only local economic issues at a similar level of concern. In the same survey, 49% of rural residents indicated they personally knew someone who was suffering from opiod addiction. Coupled with consistently higher rates of smoking, binge drinking and youth alcohol use, as well as a renewed presence of methamphetamine, rural communities are often struggling with where to turn for help with substance abuse advice and support. Join us as we hear from national and regional funding, technical assistance and research organizations about opportunities for funders to engage or replicate on behalf of their own rural communities to address this issue.


Kamu Aysola, Program Coordinator, Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

Kamu Aysola is currently a program coordinator for the Rural Communities Opioid Program within the Rural Strategic Initiatives Division housed in the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP). Prior to her work in FORHP, she was a public health analyst in the Bureau of Health Workforce and the Office of Regional Operations. She received her bachelor's degree in psychology from Michigan State University and her master's degree in public health from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She resides in Silver Spring, Maryland with her 8-month-old daughter, Kavya, and husband, Vivek.

Nate Conklin, Outreach and Engagement Specialist, The Fletcher Group

Nate Conklin's experience and expertise are extensive to say the least. A Certified Alcohol and Drug Addiction Counselor (both CADC II and NCAC II) as well as a Qualified Mental Health Associate (QMHA), Nathaniel comes to the Fletcher Group from Baker House, a residential substance abuse facility in his hometown of Baker City, Oregon where he served as program director. Nate is well versed in conflict resolution, crisis management, mediation, negotiation, public relations, diversity issues and age, race and socio-economic determinants. He has worked closely with healthcare professionals, medical institutions, nonprofit organizations and the criminal justice system, including probation and parole departments, drug courts, STOP courts, federal judges and prosecutors, federally mandated clients, the DHS and Oregon’s Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners Program. Nathaniel earned his associate's degree from Portland Community College in Oregon, his bachelor's degree in nonprofit management from Bellevue University in Washington and is currently working on earning an MBA in healthcare through Western Governors University in Utah. 

Dr. Ernie Fletcher, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer, The Fletcher Group

Fighter pilot, board-certified physician, statesman and healthcare visionary, Ernie Fletcher was elected in 1998 to the first of three consecutive terms in the United States House of Representatives. In 2003 he was elected the 60th Governor of Kentucky. As founder of the Fletcher Group, Ernie continues a legacy of innovative public service that promises to extend the company's unique model of "Recovery Ecosystems" to states across the country. 

Tressie White, Program Director, Montana Healthcare Foundation

Tressie White directs all of Montana Healthcare Foundation's American Indian health programming with calm leadership and tireless dedication to improving health and reducing disparities for American Indian people in Montana. Tressie and her team provide funding, programming support, strategic guidance and technical assistance for all of their grantees participating in the American Indian Health focus area and initiatives and the Meadowlark Initiative. Before joining our team in 2017, Tressie served as executive director of the Helena Indian Alliance, and the director of the Wakina Sky Multicultural After School Program. Tressie is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians and a descendant of the Rocky Boy Chippewa Cree Tribe. She currently lives in Helena and enjoys spending time with her three children.

Rural Funder Series Background

Philanthropy Northwest is partnering with Allen Smart of Philanthropy Worx to present this Rural Funder Series. In 2021, we will co-facilitate a series of six sessions where we will explore issues relevant to rural funders. 

Please contact Sharayah Lane with any questions.

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Who Already Registered
NorcChampions for a Drug Free Muhlberg CountyFletcher GroupSouth Coast Regional Early Learning Hub