Key Points

As part of an effort to address health inequities in Appalachian and rural Ohio, the state’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services developed an upstream intersectoral health innovation that specifically addressed the lack of infrastructure and other capacity issues that create barriers to obtaining federally funded prevention services among communities with the highest need for those services.

The department partnered with two nonprofit organizations and a university to create a performance-based, stepping-stone investment strategy that provided monetary awards to community organizations and included intensive, customized training and technical assistance that promoted capacity- building for data-driven strategic planning.

This article discusses successes and lessons learned from implementing this infrastructure development initiative, which strengthened capacity of local prevention workforces in six Appalachian and rural communities. The findings will be helpful to foundations as they structure and evaluate funding opportunities to sustainably address persistent inequities in health and mental health.

Open Access