Kevin Lorson, professor and director of Wright State University’s Physical Education Licensure Program, was honored with a Chancellor’s Award for helping create a statewide opioid prevention curriculum for Ohio schoolchildren.
The award was presented to Lorson at Wright State on April 17 by John Carey, chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
“The work that he’s done with the curriculum reaches beyond Ohio’s borders,” said Carey. “We can’t overestimate the lives that will be saved, the lives that will be impacted, the teachers that are empowered.”
The Chancellor’s Award recognizes exemplary students, faculty and administrators who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in using the power of higher education to impact their campus, their community and for the greater good of all of Ohio. It was the first Chancellor’s Award presented to a university faculty member.
“The transformative work and leadership of Dr. Kevin Lorson is developing Ohio’s health education standards and the health and opioid prevention education, or HOPE, curriculum,” said Wright State President Cheryl B. Schrader. “It embodies our university’s mission beautifully.”
Lorson received a grant from the Ohio Department of Higher Education to organize a statewide team of health educators, administrators and higher education faculty to develop the Health and Opioid Prevention Education (HOPE) curriculum. It is designed to help schools address state requirements and be adaptable to the needs of each school district in Ohio.
“There was a need for something to help our kids make healthy choices,” said Lorson.
The curriculum is a series of lessons aimed at helping students develop the knowledge and skills to make healthy choices with opioids and prescription medicine.
The curriculum is used in health education classes to teach important concepts and skills to prevent opioid and other drug use, including taking medicine only under the direction of a trusted adult, not sharing or taking someone else’s medicine, avoiding driving under the influence or riding in a vehicle with someone under the influence, using refusal and assertive communication skills and supporting others in making healthy choices.
In addition, teachers, school personnel, administrators and families are encouraged to provide consistent messages about healthy decisions and reinforce the importance of using medicines appropriately.
Over the past year, Lorson and his colleagues have held 38 HOPE workshops around the state. And 10 other states have contacted Lorson asking for access to the curriculum materials.
Lorson said he is thankful for the recognition that comes with the Chancellor’s award. Also working on the project were Judy Jagger-Mescher, director of the Health Education Licensure Program; Mary Huber, associate professor of human services; and Tracey Kramer, director of the Office of Partnerships and Field Experience.
“The work of Dr. Lorson and his colleagues exemplifies commitment in the health of Ohio’s children, families and schools,” said Schrader. “Dr. Lorson’s passion and dedication is indicative of the commitment of so many here at Wright State University.”