Integrated Community Engagement (ICE) Collaborative

Silhouettes of people surrounded by trees looking at a sunset.

Rural populations are consistently underrepresented in health-related research, resulting in a small amount of data with a contextual relevance for rural patients and communities. West Virginia, a predominantly rural state, ranks near the bottom of the United States in many chronic diseases and their associated risk factors. West Virginia is also at the epicenter of the current United States opioid crisis.

ICE operates under five guiding principles:

  1. Apply a primary prevention approach that is designed to enhance the social environment.
  2. Emphasize community action and embrace public schools as the natural hub of neighborhood/area efforts to support child and adolescent health, learning and life success.
  3. Engage and empower community members to make practical decisions using local, high-quality, accessible data and diagnostics.
  4. Integrate researchers, policymakers, practitioners and community members into a unified team dedicated to solving complex, real-world problems.
  5. Match the scope of the solution to the scope of the problem, including emphasizing long-term intervention and efforts to marshal adequate community resources

This prevention project engages local schools and coalitions to implement locally relevant interventions to address the social determinants of adolescent substance use. The setting is two rural West Virginia counties with different geographic, economic and social profiles.

Survey data will be collected from each of the participating schools. This data will illustrate the prevalence of substance use and risk and protective factors in that particular school community. Results of this data are used to select two or threes priorities and strategies for interventions over the next year.

ICE was created to affect middle and high school-aged children and their families from two rural West Virginia counties. The two counties (Wyoming and Fayette) have different geographic, economic and social profiles.