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Home » Uncategorized » New staff to strengthen infrastructure for rural substance use

New staff to strengthen infrastructure for rural substance use

Meg Long
Meg Long, MPH

Monday, January 25, 2021; Las Cruces, NM: The Center for Health Innovation (CHI) is pleased to announce Meg Long, MPH, has joined the organization that serves as New Mexico’s Public Health Institute. Long spearheads the nonprofit’s effort to strengthen the substance use infrastructure in 14 rural, southern New Mexico counties, especially regarding opioid use disorder.

Long’s efforts focus on Catron, Chaves, Cibola, De Baca, Eddy, Grant, Hidalgo, Lea, Lincoln, Luna, Otero, Roosevelt, Sierra, and Socorro counties.

“I’ll be aiding all the rural counties in New Mexico south of Interstate-40,” said Long, a resident of Mesilla, NM.

The three-year project is funded by a $1 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) as part of the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP).

The funding implements plans created by the communities to strengthen and expand services for substance use disorder (SUD), including opioid use disorder (OUD) prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts by the rural counties.

“The fantastic thing about this grant is the communities had an entire year of assessments and planning. I have never worked on a grant with so much dedication to community involvement,” Long said.

RCORP funded the previous planning process through CHI, and the newly received implementation grant translates those community plans into actions for the benefit of residents. The RCORP community plans are available on the CHI website:

Long is intimately familiar with southern part of the state, having received her Master of Public Health degree from New Mexico State University before moving to Oregon. Prior to this, Long received her bachelor’s degree in sociology and social work from the Western Michigan University.

“When I left New Mexico for Portland, I shouldn’t have left. New Mexico is the only place I have felt was home,” Long said.

Long has traveled extensively, living in 13 states and several counties, during her career which has alternated between hands-on outreach, most recently working as Program Specialist at the NMSU Aggie Food Pantry, to address public health issues through policy-change at the systemic-level.

“I’ve worked from prevention to direct service most of my career which helps keep me energized and not burning out,” said Long of her varied career choices.

As an adjunct professor of public health sciences at NMSU, Long has a deep understanding of the impact substance use disorder has on rural communities in the state.

Many rural communities lack adequate access to substance use treatment services for residents. The RCORP initiative seeks to unify prevention, treatment, and recovery services in rural southern New Mexico.

The RCORP effort includes leading pilot programs at regional clinics and SUD treatment facilities, educating health care staff on best practices, aiding the inclusion of peer-to-peer paraprofessionals in health care, and supporting rural residents’ equitable access to SUD services in southern rural New Mexico.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Meg Long join our team, “said CHI’s Program Manager for the grant Alisha Herrick, MPH. “This project is a massive undertaking with many moving parts in a large geographic area. Meg’s background in both public health and program management will definitely facilitate progress towards the program goals and improved community health.”

“The grant effort has a large reach,” Long said, “and our connection in the communities will help us make this a truly effective program.”

For more information contact Long at (575) 597-0041 or email: To learn more about the RCORP grant visit:

This news release is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1 million with zero percentage financed with nongovernmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.