ULM HERO Program surpasses first-year goal, training over 600 first responders

ULM Hero Program surpasses first year goal.
ULM Hero Program surpasses first year goal.(Srdjan Marjanovic | Source: University of Louisiana Monroe)
Published: Nov. 7, 2023 at 10:30 PM CST
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Last year the University of Louisiana Monroe’s College of Pharmacy was awarded a four-year multi-million dollar grant that was used to fund the HERO program - a project that focuses on providing harm reduction education to first responders in the state of Louisiana. The College of Pharmacy said that so far it’s been a success.

RELATED STORY: “ULM awarded multi-million grant aimed at harm reduction education”

According to ULM, the HERO program has trained over 600 first responders in its first year.

Dr. Alexis Horace - head of the program and the associate professor of clinical practice for the College of Pharmacy in New Orleans - said that she and her team have exceeded their goal for year one.

Their goal was to train 500 people during the program’s freshman year - they trained 688.

Their team trained 336 traditional first responders, 287 non-traditional community members, and 65 first responders in training.

They couldn’t be happier.

“We plan to host more community activities and provide education to community partners across the state through our partnerships with student pharmacists and osteopathic organizations,” Dr. Horace said. “We expect with the expansion of our service areas, we’ll be able to spread our harm reduction education to rural, underserved communities.”

So far the HERO program has served numerous underrepresented communities in the following parishes: Ouachita, Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, St. Charles, and St. John the Baptist.

Starting this month, Dr. Horace and her team will spread their outreach to additional parishes such as Union, Morehouse, Richland, Caldwell, Jackson, Lincoln, Livingston, Ascension, and LaFourche.

“We’d like to increase awareness about treatment/recovery centers services and increase access for people living with a substance use disorder,” Dr. Horace said. “We fully intend to ramp up our efforts to have a larger impact and ultimately help save lives.”

Looking ahead, Dr. Horace and her team have a goal to reach 750 people for year two of the HERO program. By 2026, they hope to have educated 4,000 first responders. They also hope to increase the program’s collaborations with local treatment and recovery centers by 80 percent, according to ULM.

The HERO program is funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

To learn more about the HERO program, visit ULM’s website.