SURCI is a new initiative that strives to establish Ball State’s  College of Health as a leading academic institution for addictions research and community interventions to address substance misuse. The newly formed Center for Substance Use Research and Community Initiatives (SURCI) will operate as a paradigm for student and community engagement and research innovation, with an emphasis on facilitating high-impact, interdisciplinary, evidence-based, and community-engaged addictions research and interventions. These efforts, organizers believe, will promote and strengthen mental and behavior capacities at the local, regional, state, and national levels.

SURCI’s imperatives are also of particular importance to the Muncie and Delaware County communities, where recent studies have highlighted a critical need for both the prevention and intervention of substance misuse.

“Ball State’s College of Health continues to move boldly forward in making interprofessional education, practice, and research its paradigm across each of its disciplines. The formation of the Center for Substance Use Research and Community Initiatives is the latest example of this focus,” said Dr. Scott Rutledge, College of Health dean. “SURCI strives to become a national model for addressing addictions issues in local communities, and we are committed to continue working hand-in-hand with our community partners to expand and enhance these critical services across the state of Indiana.”

Through the Center’s partnership and affiliation with the Addictions Coalition of Delaware County (ACDC), SURCI will collaborate with local elected officials and key community service providers such as Open Door Health Services, IU Health, Meridian Health Services, and Centerstone Health Services to achieve its research and service objectives. The specific goals of the SURCI are to:

  • Engage in new and innovative research that brings national recognition to Ball State as a leading institution in the fields of addictions research and community engagement;
  • Serve as a resource, communication, training, and support hub for faculty, staff, students, and community members engaged in the provision of substance misuse services; and
  • Increase evidence-based, community-engaged interventions that expand the availability of addiction services in the East-Central region of Indiana and enhance access to those services for vulnerable populations

SURCI will be led by Dr. Dane Minnick, assistant professor of Social Work, in conjunction with Dr. Jean Marie Place, associate professor of Health Science, who will serve as the Director of Community Research and Administration, and Dr. Jonel Thaller, associate professor of Social Work, who will serve as the Director of Community Engagement.

Additionally, Dr. Munni Begum, professor of Mathematical Sciences, will serve as the Center’s Director of Data Analytics, while SURCI’s Community Education and Training Team will consist of: Dr. Kristin Trainor, assistant professor of Social Work; Dr. Beth Goldsby, assistant professor of Nursing; and Dr. Sheila Abebe, assistant professor of Nursing.

Ball State faculty and staff members interested in joining SURCI or proposing a collaborative project are encouraged to contact the Center at

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