Drug overdose is the leading cause of unnatural death in Virginia, but a group of EVMS students want to change that statistic.
They are part of REVIVE!, a Community-Engaged Learning initiative that trains community members on how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose emergency with the administration of Naloxone.
The EVMS REVIVE! program began in January of 2019 with 58 student-volunteers. In itsfirst semester, they went on to help teach more than 400 participants during 18 community events.
Jonathan Taylor-Fishwick, MD Class of 2021, helped spearhead the initiative and says, “We hope to increase awareness about the opioid epidemic and how to respond to an opioid overdose, as well as increase the prevalence of naloxone in communities that are at high risk for overdose.”
Each student who enrolls in the program attends a “train-the-trainer” course administered by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Services. After completing their training, students work with community partners to lead events across the community. At a recent training at Centura College, students helped Medical and Dental Assistants learn how to recognize and respond to opioid overdoses.
As part of the initiative, students also participate in a ride-along bus tour with Peer Recovery Volunteers from the Norfolk Community Service Board. Peer Recovery Volunteers are those who have experienced a substance use disorder or mental health condition and have achieved some degree of recovery. “These volunteers have a unique perspective,” Mr. Taylor-Fishwick explains, “and we hope that this experience gives students a better understanding of the struggles their future patients may face. We also hope it allows them to better connect with Revive participants during trainings.”
Trained EVMS studetns are available to lead REVIVE! trainings with interested groups. If you are interested in having a REVIVE! training please contact Jon Taylor-Fishwick.