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The Mountain Maryland Forward (MMF) Team first met in 2019 when the Maryland Rural Opioid Technical Assistance project (MarylandROTA, now MarylandROPTA) was launched by the University of Maryland Extension (UME) in coordination with the University’s Center for Substance Use, Addiction & Health Research (CESAR).

The two-year MarylandROPTA project provided training and outreach for practitioners and people using drugs in rural Maryland. CESAR was the subject matter expert for this joint effort funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Stephanie Hutter-Thomas, PhD. (UME educator/consultant) and Erin Artigiani, M.A. (CESAR) both helped guide MarylandROTA’s training and dissemination initiatives. That effort led to the formation of partnerships with many local agencies to support the leveraging of resources in the rural communities of Appalachian Maryland. This collaboration also supported successfully winning a Recovery-to-Work planning grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) in 2020. The planning grant enabled the project team to develop the recovery strategy used to identify the focus and goals of MMF.

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