September 16, 2020

JUNE 22-24, 2021

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Advancing Peer Services in West Virginia

Welcome to the 2021 West Virginia Peer Recovery Support Services Conference!

Welcome to the 2021 Peer Recovery Support Services Conference - Advancing Peer Services in West Virginia. During this FREE three-day virtual event, you’ll learn more about the role of peer recovery support services specialists from national and locally recognized speakers. You will increase your intervention skills by practicing methods and developing skills necessary to coach others. You will also hear more about ethical guidelines and boundaries for peer specialists. This conference is designed for you. We challenge you to explore the complex issues associated with building and working in a peer recovery system. We encourage you to explore new partnerships and liaisons. We invite you to enjoy this time together with your peers. We are so glad you’re here. 

REGISTRATION: Registration is required and there is no charge to attend. When you register, you will create a password to be used with your email address to access the event. 

CONTINUING EDUCATION (CE): CE units (or hours) are not issued for this event. Rather, each participant will receive a copy of the agenda and a training certificate which can be used toward certification hours if approved by their respective credentialing boards or agencies.

Platform Tutorial Video:

Featured Presenters

Karen Fortuna

Karen L. Fortuna, MSW, PhD
Assistant Professor, Dartmouth College

Dr. Fortuna is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Dartmouth College. Dr. Fortuna works in equal partnership with peer support specialists in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand in co-producing and empirically testing digital peer support technologies and trainings. Dr. Fortuna serves on the APAs Expert Advisory panel on smartphone app development and PCORI's Advisory Panel on Patient Engagement. She serves as editor of the Journal of Participatory Medicine.

Who Should Attend

  • Peers and Peer Supervisors
  • Health Care Providers
  • Law Enforcement
  • Educators, Counselors and Social Workers
  • Policymakers and Local Officials
  • Behavioral Health Providers
  • Preventionists
  • Community Coalitions
  • Community Members


Tue June 22

2021-06-22 08:45:00

WVPRSS Conference Opening Welcome

​Christina R. Mullins
Commissioner, DHHR’s Bureau for Behavioral Health

Welcome and Conference Opening from the Christina Mullins, Commissioner, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources' Bureau for Behavioral Health

2021-06-22 09:00:00

Essential Skills of Peer Support

J.K.McAtee, PRSS
Coordinator, West Virginia Recovers

The adaption and application of the essential skills of peer support is foundational to the work of peer supporters. This can build out and up exponentially to assist others, since recovery is unlimited. Having these skills will provide the majority of the substance of peer skill sets. As the result of participating in this plenary, individuals will:
1. be informed of the essential skills of peer support
2. see ways to develop the skills
3. hear techniques of how to apply the skill sets

2021-06-22 10:15:00

Feeding Recovery: How a Starving Brain May Lead to Cravings and Relapse

Christina Veselak, MS, CN, LMFT
Owner and Director, Academy for Addiction and Mental Health Nutrition

"It's our brain's job to allow us to cope with stress gracefully, but to do that, it needs to be fed optimally!" In this session, you will learn how a well-fed, balanced brain supports the recovery process, and how to feed the brain what it needs to function optimally.

2021-06-22 11:30:00

Suicide Prevention: Recognize, Respond, REACT

Barri Faucett, MA
Director, Prevent Suicide WV

Suicide prevention is the responsibility of everyone and within the capability of anyone. The purpose of the workshop is to increase the willingness and capability of participants to interact with at-risk individuals in providing for appropriate dialogue when interacting with someone at risk. Specifically, participants will learn how to recognize, respond and take actions to help someone with suicidal ideation.

2021-06-22 13:15:00

Peer Recovery Credentials in West Virginia

Greg Perry, PR
President, West Virginia Certification Board for Addiction and Prevention Professionals

In this session, we will go over what the PR (peer recovery) credential consists of, the requirements to attain and maintain it, and some of the ethical challenges posed by being a person in long-term recovery working with others who are also in recovery from substance use disorder.

2021-06-22 14:30:00

Naloxone TOT Training

Lindsay Acree, PharmD, AE-C
Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice, University of Charleston School of Pharmacy

Training will be provided to individuals regarding naloxone administration as well as training others in naloxone administration. This is a Naloxone Train-the-Trainer Training.

Wed June 23

2021-06-23 08:45:00

WVPRSS Conference Day 2 Welcome

David Sanders, IATE
Recovery Supports Advisor, WVDHHR Bureau for Behavioral Health

Welcome and Day 2 Conference Opening from David Sanders, Recovery Supports Advisor, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources' Bureau for Behavioral Health

2021-06-23 09:00:00

Digital Peer Support: A Whole of Society Approach to Mental Health

Karen Fortuna, PhD, LICSW
Assistant Professor, Dartmouth College

As peer support specialists seek to quickly and effectively offer digital peer support across the United States, it is important that they — and their organizations — know the landscape of digital peer support from video games to text messaging. This session will cover topics including practical information on how to quickly and effectively build digital peer support capacity in your organization, including developing technology infrastructure, peer support specialists and service user training, and sustainability considerations.

2021-06-23 10:15:00

Achieving Equity Through Flipping the Script: The Mechanics of Top-Down Approaches and the Joy of Bottom-Up Approaches

Karen Fortuna, PhD, LICSW
Assistant Professor, Dartmouth College

Today‘s current climate of political and social unrest, coupled with a pandemic exposing care and wellness inequality, seemingly has created an environment for methodological pluralism to advance humanity through the integration of humanism into practice and research. A first step toward to tenably and impartially address health inequities requires one to explore ways we practice and conduct research. This reflection requires fundamentally considering the way we understand the premise informing the practice of mental health and substance use services. Take a historical journal to learn about reductionism in medicine to humanism in peer support services. Here, learn about partnering with community members to produce superior outcomes compared to siloed, hierarchical approaches initiated on behalf of—not with--disadvantaged populations.

2021-06-23 11:30:00

Medications for Opioid Use Disorders (MOUD)

Matthew Christiansen, MD, MPH
Director, WVDHHR Office of Drug Control Policy

This lecture will review the types of medications for Opioid Use Disorder, their role in the spectrum of treatment of OUD, and address common misconceptions around their use.

2021-06-23 12:15:00

Dealing with Co-occurring Disorders in a Coaching Relationship

Mary Aldred-Crouch MSW, MPH
Clinical Director, Recovery Point West Virginia Behavioral Health

Of all challenges a Peer Recovery Support Specialist faces, one of the most difficult is that of co-occurring disorders. How can a PRSS recognize a co-occurring mental health issue ... and what can the Peer do to treat the individual with the issues?

2021-06-23 13:30:00

Peer Support with the Pregnant Population

Sandra Cline, BS, PRSS
Peer Recovery Support Specialist, CAMC

Overview of the Drug Free Mother Baby Program
Overview of CAMC's Baby 1st
Stigma in Pregnancy

2021-06-23 14:45:00

Transportation in West Virginia

Rachel Thaxton, MA
Assistant Director, WVDHHR Office of Drug Control Policy

During this session, attendees will learn about transportation options in West Virginia. Those options include rides to treatment, recovery support services, employment, trainings and education related activities, and medical appointments. Transportation systems managed by Jobs & Hope WV, the Department of Health and Human Resources' (DHHR) Bureau for Behavioral Health, and the DHHR's Bureau for Medical Services will be highlighted in this session.

Thu June 24

2021-06-24 08:45:00

WVPRSS Conference Day 3 Welcome

Rachel Thaxton, MA
Assistant Director, WVDHHR Office of Drug Control Policy

Welcome and Day 3 Conference Opening from Rachel Thaxton, Assistant Director, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources' Office of Drug Control Policy

2021-06-24 09:00:00

Introduction to the Recovery Capital Assessment

David Sanders, IATE
Recovery Supports Advisor, WVDHHR Bureau for Behavioral Health

Recovery Capital is the volume of internal and external assets and resources that an individual may have to obtain and sustain recovery from a substance use disorder. Recovery capital, or recovery capacity, differs from individual to individual and differs within the same individual at multiple points in time. Recovery capital also interacts with problem severity to shape the intensity and duration of supports needed to achieve recovery. This interaction dictates the intensity or level of care one needs in terms of professional treatment and the intensity and duration of post-treatment recovery support services. This workshop will explore how the Recovery Capital Assessment can be used to improve outcomes of individuals experiencing an SUD, and also support measurable outcomes for an organization providing SUD supports and services.

2021-06-24 10:15:00

Reflections on the 2020 Summit on Race Matters in West Virginia

Michelle Foster, PhD
President and CEO, The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation

The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation hosted the 2020 Summit on Race Matters series in response to the racial unrest that erupted around the world after George Floyd was killed. In this session, Dr. Foster will share the Foundation's experience with the Summit and recommendations resulting from it.

2021-06-24 11:30:00

Recovery Residences: Placement Considerations

Emily Birckhead MSW
Executive Director, West Virginia Alliance of Recovery Residences, Inc.

This session will provide an overview of the different levels of care of recovery housing, explain the value of referring to certified recovery residences, and discuss how peer recovery support specialists can help their program participants understand their options and protect their rights.

2021-06-24 13:00:00

People First Language

Vanessa VanGilder, MS, CRC
Program Coordinator, WVU Office of Health Affairs

This presentation will address People First Language and will help people to understand the importance of words chosen when referring to individuals with disabilities; to become aware of statements that represent People First Language and to apply People First Language in everyday use. It will also include history on People First Language and relative videos.

2021-06-24 14:15:00

Compassion Fatigue: The Stress of Caring too Much

Elizabeth Coffey, MA
SOR Project Director, WVDHHR Bureau for Behavioral Health

Learn what compassion fatigue is and your level of risk. Provide differentiation between compassion fatigue and burnout. Prepare for personal reactions you may experience when working with individuals who have an addiction. Learn about and identify positive coping strategies.


Frequently Asked Questions

The 2021 West Virginia Peer Recovery Support Services Conference is an online interactive event where participants can network with others, engage with exhibitors, download resources, view presentations in the auditorium, and ask questions through chat or video conference.
THIS EVENT IS FREE. There is no charge to attend.
This is an online event. You do not have to travel to any specific location. You can participate anywhere that you have internet access. The event is accessible from desktop, mobile and tablet devices.
YES. Prior to the event, you will need to register and provide an email address and create a password in order to login and attend the summit.
NO. You do not need to download or install any software to participate in the summit. You only need to have internet access.
NO. Some exhibitors may request a video chat, but it is not required in order to participate.
Your login information is the email address and password you provided during registration.
YES. Like any physical event, we will have a swag bag for you! You can add documents provided by each exhibitor to your online swag bag and then email them to yourself or share items with friends and family by simply entering their email.
Absolutely. We are counting on you to invite others! Help us spread the word. You can simply share the link to this page and they can register at their convenience.
Email for questions prior to the event. During the event, there is a Help Desk that you can visit to ask any questions.
This platform will be available on-demand for three months after the event is over.
CE units (or hours) are not issued for this event. Rather, each participant will receive a copy of the agenda and a training certificate which can be used toward certification hours if approved by their respective credentialing boards or agencies.