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Rural Health Information Hub

Arkansas Rural Health Partnership

  • Grant Period: 2018 – 2021
  • Program Representative Interviewed: Mellie Boagni Bridewell, President, CEO & Founder, and Amanda Kuttenkuler, Vice President of Programs
  • Location: Lake Village, Arkansas
  • Program Overview: Founded in 2008, the Arkansas Rural Health Partnership (ARHP) is a nonprofit healthcare network comprising 18 rural hospital members, three medical teaching institutions, and two Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) throughout rural Arkansas. ARHP's vision is to “advance the health and wellness of rural residents, providers, and healthcare organizations through dynamic collaboration, forward-thinking, and strategic leveraging.” ARHP's focus areas are rural health sustainability, health workforce continuum, health-social initiatives, and behavioral health initiatives.

    ARHP's behavioral health initiatives support individuals experiencing mental health and substance use disorders and strengthen the local systems of care. The program's behavioral health initiatives include Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training; an opioid crisis information video; Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) training; the South Arkansas Behavioral Health Task Force; peer recovery specialists; and Narcan training. ARHP uses community needs assessments to identify the areas in need of mental health training. Before implementing the MHFA training, ARHP conducted a thorough examination of existing barriers related to mental health awareness and then identified effective strategies for disseminating mental health information. This proactive approach reflects ARHP's dedication to breaking down obstacles and promoting a more inclusive and informed conversation around mental health.

    ARHP offers free MHFA training to community members, emergency responders, healthcare workers, college students, and youth throughout rural Arkansas. Seeing a growing need to engage with youth in spaces where they feel most comfortable discussing mental health, ARHP implemented MHFA trainings with teachers and coaches. Recognizing the profound impact these mentors have on the lives of young individuals, ARHP has actively sought to establish connections within schools. In addition to schools, teachers, and coaches, ARHP partners with the Arkansas Drug Task Force, hospital CEOs, police, public health departments, judges, the Born This Way Foundation, and peer recovery workers.

    ARHP attributes the success of their MHFA trainings to understanding community needs, building a dissemination platform, and finding partners who will make an impact.

Models represented by this program: