Moses/Weitzman Health System, Inc.’s Weitzman Institute has been awarded a HRSA Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) – Overdose Response grant for its “Building a Community of Rural Peer Supporters in Ohio” project to address the needs of rural Ohio residents experiencing substance use disorders. In partnership with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS), this project will leverage the evidence-based Project ECHO® model to provide a virtual learning community for Certified Peer Recovery Supporters (CPRS) where CPRS can connect with a multidisciplinary core faculty of experts and peers for continuing education presentations and case-based support.
A CPRS is someone who has direct lived experience with behavioral health challenges, substance use disorder, or both, or someone who has navigated services on behalf of an individual with behavioral health challenges. CPRSs are trained in using their lived experience to help others impacted by mental illness and substance use disorders. Rural areas in Ohio have a higher incidence of residents with SUD with less access to opioid treatment providers and CPRSs. Because there are fewer CPRSs in rural areas in Ohio, they are often isolated. It is crucial that CPRSs in rural Ohio feel connected to one another and not “alone” in their challenging work. The proposed BCORP-OH project is a replication of WI’s successful Delaware Peer ECHO so that CPRSs in rural Ohio can access similar benefits and support that will be customized to their unique learning and support needs.