In a project to address opioid addiction among pregnant women, Ball State junior Erin Simons of Fort Wayne is working to make connections within the Muncie community to provide a healthy and safe environment for these expectant mothers.
“In this immersive learning project, we ultimately hope to show the public how real of a problem the opioid crisis is not only in America, but in Delaware County,” said Simons, a graduate of East Allen University. “The hope is that through our presentation, those without knowledge of the crisis will understand the problems, and those who are struggling with an addiction will find the support and information they need to get help.”
A graduate of East Allen University high school, Simons is collaborating with her classmates to analyze data and create questions to pose to community members to assess the current resources for pregnant women with opioid addiction and uncover gaps that might exist.
Pursuing her bachelor’s degree in health education and promotion, along with a minor in interpersonal relations, Simons hopes that this project makes a positive impact within the Muncie community. The project, led by Dr. Jean Marie Place, has given her the opportunity to work within the community and to collaborate with teammates to create a successful community presentation of their findings in order to take a step towards enhanced community education on the opioid crisis.
“Everything I am learning in this class – from basic facts about the crisis to skills needed to plan an effective intervention in the community – will give me essential skills to be that knowledgeable professional in the future,” Simons said.
Simons, set to graduate in 2020, hopes to eventually work in maternal fetal health or as an advocate for children’s health, focusing on fighting childhood obesity.
“Ball State has given me numerous opportunities to not only go out into the Muncie community and learn about my surroundings, but also have practical applications to everything I am learning,” Simons said. “I have been able to develop my skills for interviewing people, creating and setting goals for health programs, as well as learning how to do all the research I need in order to create effective programs.”
About Ball State
Founded in 1918 and located in Muncie, Ball State is one of Indiana’s signature universities and an economic driver for the state. Ball State’s nearly 22,000 students come from all over Indiana, the nation, and the world, and its 780-acre campus is large enough to accommodate premier facilities and 19 NCAA Division I sports but small enough to ensure the friendliness, personal attention, and access that are the hallmarks of the University.