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Dawn Farm Addiction and Recovery Education Series

Jun 25, 2019

Coordinating a Community Response to the Opioid Epidemic” was presented on June 18, 2019; by Molly Welch Marahar, MPP; WHI Opioid Project Coordinator, Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation; and Carrie Rheingans, MSW, MPH; WHI Project Manager, Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation, and a panel including Marci Scalera, ACSW, LMSW, CAADC, Director of Clinical & SUD Services, Community Mental Health Partnership of Southeast Michigan; Matt Hill, Program Manager, Washtenaw Recovery Advocacy Project, Home of New Vision; and Dr. John Hopper, MD, Addiction Medicine Specialist, St. Joseph Mercy Medical Group.

Opioid overdose was described as an “epidemic” by CDC Director Thomas Frieden in 2011.  Since then, this epidemic has had a catastrophic impact on families and placed tremendous strain on communities, and our Southeast Michigan community is no exception. What is being done to change this? 

The WHI Opioid Project is a cross sector coalition that was formed to address the opioid crisis in Washtenaw County. The Opioid Project has members from the health systems, local substance use agencies, government, schools, law enforcement, academia and the recovering community who come together to collectively design and implement policy changes to stem the tide of opioid overdose. From Red Barrel Events, to Naloxone trainings, to prevention education in schools, the Opioid Project is the touchpoint for initiatives at all levels of public health intervention, from prevention to treatment to harm reduction to policy advocacy. This program will discuss coordinating a community-level response to the opioid epidemic from a public health perspective, and ways for all to get involved. 

This program is part of the Dawn Farm Education Series, a FREE, annual education series developed to provide accurate, helpful, hopeful, practical, current information about substance use disorders, recovery, family and related issues.  The Education Series is organized by Dawn Farm, a non-profit community of programs providing a continuum of substance use disorder treatment and recovery support services. For information, please see


Molly Welch-Marahar, BA, MPP

 Molly Welch-Marahar is a Policy Fellowship Program Manager at CHRT. She manages CHRT’s Policy Fellowship and provides analysis of issues and trends in healthcare policy.

Before signing on with CHRT, Molly worked in substance use treatment for four years as both a counselor and a Recovery Support Specialist with Dawn Farm in Ann Arbor, MI. She was also an Omen-Darling Health Policy Fellow with Breast Cancer Action in San Francisco, CA where she supported their advocacy with her scholarship. Molly holds a Master of Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan and a Bachelors of General Studies also from the University of Michigan.

Carrie Rheingans BS, MPH, MSW

Carrie Rheingans is a Project Manager at the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation (CHRT, pronounced ‘chart’) in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She manages the Washtenaw Health Initiative (WHI) and other community implementation activities through the State Innovation Model and the Michigan Community Health Worker Alliance. Carrie manages the work of more than 200 social and clinical service providers, and manages 15 community-based projects to increase outreach and enrollment into health insurance, and improve access to mental health, substance use, dental, and primary care for low-income residents. As part of her work with the WHI, Carrie helped facilitate the first-ever joint hospital Community Health Needs Assessment and Implementation Plan for three nonprofit hospitals, and she helps implement Michigan’s State Innovation Model in one of the five test regions in the state.  Carrie is also an adjunct lecturer in the University of Michigan School of Social Work, teaching courses on health care policy, community organizing, management of human services, and social policy and evaluation. She also serves as a board member for Communities Joined in Action, which is a national membership organization of community coalitions working to improve health in communities across the country.

 Carrie is a June 2016 graduate from the Leadership Detroit program at the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, which trains mid-career professionals to be regional leaders. Before her current roles at CHRT and adjunct lecturing, Carrie was a co-founder, the Director of Civic Engagement, and most recently, the Executive Director of Casa Latina, Washtenaw County’s first Latino community center, which existed from 2011 – 2015. Carrie has experience working with the Washtenaw County Public Health Department and Unified, which is the AIDS service organization for ten counties across southeast Michigan. She was an AmeriCorps member with Team Detroit for the national AmeriCorps program on HIV and AIDS in 2008-2009. In addition to these local activities, Carrie has worked with HIV and AIDS organizations in Peru and China, a microfinance organization in Bangladesh, a developmental biology lab in Germany, and conducted youth violence research in South Africa. She worked with the national Campaign to End AIDS as a leader and peer trainer with their Youth Action Institute from 2008-2012.

 Carrie holds master’s degrees in public health and community social work from the University of Michigan, and received her bachelor of science there as well. She was born and raised in Michigan, and has spent the last seventeen years based in Washtenaw County.