Take Action 4 Life is a non-profit organization, based out of Salt Lake City, Utah, founded by Jaynee Poulson and Bill Barberg to focus on inspiring and equipping individuals to take actions to address the opioid and addiction crisis. There are a few motivating factors that led to the launch of this website:
- It seemed that most articles and websites about solving the broader crisis tended to focus on the bigger actions, like expanding the use of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, which didn’t have clear pathways for the ordinary individual to take action. There are a variety of campaigns for individual-focused actions that have been done in different parts of the country, but it was not easy for a person to find those campaigns and quickly see a range of potential actions that they could quickly take. We wanted to create an easy-to-navigate website that provide people with a wide range of actions that are ideal for individuals to take.
- When articles or websites suggest specific actions for individuals, they rarely equipped that individual with the specific tools to make that action easy. For example, an article might suggest that the reader talk with their parents or grandparents about properly disposing of unused medications, but it typically wouldn’t provide them with the details for what to say, or tools like an e-mail template or a video to share with them. The goal of Take Action 4 Life is to become a place where people not only get suggestions for taking actions, but they are equipped to easily take actions that have an impact.
- We also believe that college and university students or graduate students are an extraordinary resource that can be tapped for good. Rather then have them spend countless hours doing fragmented blocks of uncoordinated research and writing reports or journal articles that few people see, we strive to engage them to systematically do research, gather information and develop knowledge-based tools that can be used by others around the country to more successfully implement a larger strategy. The Take Action 4 Life website, along with the Opioid Coalition Resource Hub (built on the same platform as Wikipedia), become a way for students to find valuable projects where their work can contribute to a set of resources that can be used by many communities around the country.
- We saw a lot of good resources for individuals who need help with addiction and those who love them, but they were not always easy to find—and searching the Internet was not a reliable way to get to the best resources. We didn’t want to expend resources to recreate these, but we wanted to connect more people with the organizations and websites that had their best interest in mind.
About Jaynee Poulson
Jaynee has worked in many roles related to addressing addiction. Most recently, she is the Vice President of Community Engagement for the A&E docuseries, Addiction Unplugged and she co-produced one of the episodes. She is currently co-producing an episode on the issues of suicide and substance abuse for a new series that will be on Netflix.
Her recent TEDx on how to give pain a REAL purpose was inspired by the Surgeon General’s call to action asking America for help with an “urgent health crisis” along with her desire to have open discussions to help remove stigmas around mental health.
Jaynee has an Executive Leadership certificate from Cornell University, is a nationally certified Professional Parent Trainer, and she is a Master Fundraiser that works with communities to give back to nonprofits. She teaches feminism at the University, continues to volunteer in the youth detention center and Utah State Prison for the REAL Transition for Women program she piloted. Poulson worked with schools as a k-12 comprehensive guidance counselor, served on the state PTA board as the Health Commissioner, and has worked as a licensed mental health counselor in treatment centers specializing in addiction, and eating disorders treating thousands of girls, and their families.
About Bill Barberg
Bill is the president & founder of InsightFormation, Inc., a Minnesota-based social impact company that combines training, consulting and technology to help communities and states address complex issues such as chronic disease prevention and the opioid/heroin/fentanyl crisis. He specializes in helping multi-stakeholder coalitions design and implement strategies that engage many different organizations and individuals in strategic teamwork to address issues that are too big for any of them to successfully address on their own. He authored the chapter on “Implementing Population Health Strategies” for the book, “Solving Population Health Problems through Collaboration” (Routledge, 2017). In 2018, he received the Health System Transformation Award from Communities Joined in Action for his work in helping communities address the opioid crisis.
Bill is a frequent speaker at conferences and was the subject matter expert for the new E-learning course on Collective Impact developed by the Public Health Training Center out of Columbia University in New York.
David Wright is an experienced leader of non-profit organizations who has used his passion for health and justice to help communities address complex issues of poverty and poor health since he started a community garden in 2006. He has a degree in philosophy with a passion for socio-political philosophy. His experience includes a peace and justice study in Northern Ireland focusing on sectarian violence. David has started or managed 12 community gardens, a couple of food pantries, and has experience in launching non-profit organizations. He currently teaches sustainable organic gardening classes and is an instructor for the Bridges Out of Poverty curriculum. In addition to his role as director of Take Action 4 Life, David is building sustainable neighborhood centers to foster community well-being and to help people help themselves and each other.