Consistent collaboration and communication with stakeholders was key in ensuring jurisdictions’ success in all stages of the JVA project. From identifying and prioritizing indicators to implementing the plan to address intervention gaps, stakeholder engagement allowed jurisdictions to achieve buy-in for the assessment and build the partnerships necessary to address gaps in services. Jurisdictions were encouraged to take an asset-based approach  to engaging stakeholders and establishing partnerships. The asset-based approach is focused on identifying community assets that can be mobilized for improvement. This approach fosters a sense of independence, pride, and possibilities among stakeholders, and creating a positive sense of engagement is important in avoiding stigmatization of jurisdictions at high risk. An asset mapping tool is available to assist with the process of identifying and developing collaborative relationships with individuals, community organizations, and institutions. The technical assistance team also provided a webinar on how to disseminate the findings of the assessments, and how to tailor messages to different audiences for engagement. A communication and dissemination process model tool to assist with target audience profiling is also available.
Rhode Island Vulnerability Assessment Project
Rhode Island’s 2019 Opioid JVA project employed a more sophisticated statistical model approach featuring machine learning techniques. The model was proposed by Brown University partners as the best approach and ultimately included more than 300 variables which explored geographic units as far down as census tracts and ZIP codes. Rhode Island’s administrative geography is limited to five U.S. counties, so to look closer at population characteristics it was important and helpful to look at census tracts and even ZIP codes in some cases. The granularity of census tract data helped the state health department understand and implement community-level approaches with greater detail and accuracy.