Working Within Rural Communities: The Unique Benefits and Challenges for Substance Misuse Prevention Professionals

Working in rural communities can be as rewarding as it is challenging. Isolation and a lack of connectedness is an issue in all parts of rural life, prevention work is no exception. Prevention professionals working in small towns, rural communities, and frontier areas often feel isolated from others in the profession and can be misunderstood by funders and program developers. Finding connection and support can be the key to helping move prevention forward in rural communities.


In this webinar, we will discuss the unique benefits and barriers of working in rural communities. We will explore ways to make connections and share knowledge with prevention professionals working in similar settings. Our speakers will share their experience with The Rural Network in Washington state. The network brings together rural prevention providers to help share ideas, discuss challenges, and affirm and support each other’s work.



By the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand challenges facing rural prevention providers, and ways to overcome those challenges.
  • Access to an online Rural Prevention Toolkit, containing 4 categories of tools for success in rural communities.
  • Discuss ways to increase connections and networks.



Participants who fully attend the session will receive a certificate of attendance. Participants will need to confirm with their certification board to determine if these contact hours are accepted towards their specific certification requirements.



Isaac Wulff is a lifelong resident of and advocate for rural communities, who came to prevention work by way of leaving a career in construction to teach high school science. After working in an alternative school teaching teenage moms and dads from 14 different small school districts, he became fascinated by the dual nature of growing up in small towns with all their strengths and challenges. First drawn into student support and then prevention coalition work, he ended up working at the Washington State Health Care Authority as a prevention manager helping 10 coalitions and serving as one of the founding members of the Rural Prevention Network.

Sarah Meyers is the Coalition Director for the Pomeroy Partners for Healthy Families coalition in Garfield County, Washington -- the least densely populated county in Washington State with a county-wide population of 2,800. Sarah found her niche in prevention after leaving her hometown of Pomeroy and getting a bachelor’s degree in psychology and found herself back in her hometown (very much against her will!). Sarah became the coordinator of a brand-new, state-funded coalition in 2014 and became the director in 2021 after receiving a Drug Free Communities grant. Sarah is also the Testing Chair and board member of the Prevention Specialist Certification Board of Washington and serves on the Steering Committee for the Washington State Rural Network. Sarah has worked in rural prevention for 9 years and is passionate about serving our rural communities in a way that is culturally competent to each community’s needs.


The Great Lakes A/MH/PTTC is offering this training for individuals working in HHS Region 5: IL, IN, MI, MN, OH, WI. This training is being provided in response to a need identified by Region 5 stakeholders.

Starts: May. 16, 2024 1:00 pm
Ends: May. 16, 2024 2:30 pm
Registration Deadline
May 16, 2024
Event Type
Webinar/Virtual Training
Hosted by
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