Supporting All Californians to Address the Opioid Crisis Through a Multi-Pronged, Community-Based Approach

The Center at Sierra Health Foundation works to promote health and racial equity throughout California with a community-first funding model that centers the voices and priorities of marginalized communities. With more than 30 years of grantmaking experience, Sierra Health Foundation launched The Center in 2012 to best leverage its leadership, operational, and funding support to establish investment partnerships to make a deeper collective impact. With its infrastructure, experience, and health equity focus, The Center is partnering with DHCS to expand the reach of medication assisted treatment (MAT) services and wrap-around care to all who need it. The project is centered on increasing access to comprehensive prevention and education for substance use disorder (SUD), opioid use disorder (OUD), and MAT for people suffering from OUD, and to improve health outcomes for communities of color disproportionately impacted by and penalized for SUD. The goal is to increase awareness of and access to MAT for California’s most underserved communities by providing racially and culturally responsive outreach and education, prevention services, and referrals to MAT providers.

The MAT Access Points Project funding strategy includes the following components:

  • Support to organizations that want to increase access to treatment services by building their capacity to provide MAT.
  • Infrastructure support for California tribal health organizations to improve facilities to offer MAT.
  • Funding for community-based organizations to conduct racially and culturally responsive prevention and educational activities focused on: 1) increased understanding of SUD and OUD, 2) stigma reduction and recognition of the chronic nature of the disease of addiction, and 3) increased access to MAT services.
  • An ethnic media strategy to develop and promote a communications campaign tailored to racial and ethnic groups to increase community understanding of SUD, OUD, and the availability of MAT services and treatments.
  • A training and technical assistance program for partners around SUD, OUD, and MAT to build sustained capacity among community organizations to provide outreach and education and support MAT access.

To implement the first component, The Center at Sierra Health Foundation has, to date, awarded more than $16.2 million to 119 organizations representing 265 MAT access points throughout California. Continued funding will now focus on the remaining four components of the strategy.

The MAT Access Points Project will create a network of organizations throughout the state that work in partnership to address the opioid crisis for all Californians. With health and racial equity at the forefront of the model, the foundation is being laid for a sustainable, statewide system of education, response, and care that will help communities remain resilient and ready to tackle any challenge. Learn more at mataccesspoints.org and shfcenter.org.