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Recovery Innovation Challenge Winners


SAMHSA is excited to announce the Winners of the Recovery Innovation Challenge, which seeks to identify innovative practices in behavioral health that advance recovery on the ground and in the community.

The 10 Winners

The WholeLife Care Model: Supporting Recovery through Holistic Care

Since 1957, The Women’s Home has built communities that strengthen women and support families as they reclaim their stability. Based in Houston, TX, our growing continuum of care offers a range of treatment services to address substance use disorders among impoverished individuals including intensive residential, supportive residential, and outpatient care. Our programs help women and their families cultivate the skills and self-esteem they need to manage crisis and live a resilient life.

An Indigenous Informed Approach to Behavioral Health Equity and Recovery

SIHB is a leader in health improvement for urban AI/AN. Based in Seattle, WA, we offer a full range of medical, dental, pharmacy, and behavioral health services at our main and two satellite clinics. SIHB is Native-led and Native-run with a staff and board that is majority AI/AN (50% staff, 70% board). Our approach to wellness is grounded in traditional beliefs and practices. We have the wisdom, aptitude, and provider network necessary to make lasting change in the health of Native people.

Nevada Caring Contacts through the Nevada Warmline and Teen Peer Support Text Line

Nevada Caring Contacts is a statewide peer-led program operated by NAMI Western Nevada, an agency that primarily serves 15 rural and frontier counties. The agency is dedicated to improving the quality of life of individuals, families, and communities impacted by mental illness through support, education, and advocacy. NAMI WNV has created the statewide Nevada Warmline, Nevada Teen Peer Support Text Line, and Nevada Caring Contacts programs to provide high-quality peer support to Nevadans.

Implementing Near-Aged, College-Based Peer Support in Community Colleges and Historically Black Colleges and Universities

The D. Wood Foundation is a non-profit, peer-run effort, with a mission to enhance suicide prevention awareness and advocate for mental health reform in minority communities; it spearheads a unique vision to ensure certified, near-aged peer supports in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) through partnerships with Austin Community College, Huston Tillotson, and UT Austin, Dell Medical School in Austin, Tx. All D. Wood foundation staff are peers with lived experience.

MOMobile Rapid Engagement: A safety net for vulnerable perinatal people

Maternity Care Coalition (MCC) is a community-based nonprofit organization serving Southeastern Pennsylvania with four decades of commitment to improving maternal and child health outcomes and reducing health and social inequity. MCC’s comprehensive approach includes direct service programs, a public policy program that advocates at local, state, and national levels, and a research team that engages in academic partnerships and conducts research on issues impacting families with young children.

Peers Optimistically Working to End Recidivism (POWER)

Deeply rooted in the value of lived experience, Chainless Change serves as a community of recovery, advocacy, and support for those negatively impacted by the criminal legal system in South Florida. Our innovative and community-led peer support program, POWER, offers a viable pathway to self-sufficiency, vitality, and sustained recovery for justice-involved individuals with behavioral and mental health conditions. This work benefits individuals while strengthening their families and communities.

Voices of Hope Lexington, Inc.: Advancing Recovery in Kentucky

Voices of Hope, a peer led, recovery community organization provides recovery support services in a recovery community center, at 25 scheduled sites via a mobile recovery van, and at 40 additional partner sites through a contract with the University of Kentucky HEALing Communities Study. Our services include recovery coaching, telephone recovery support, the administration of barrier relief funds and the provision of a rideshare service for linkage and retention to medication appointments.

Progress House's Innovative Whole Health Recovery Continuum

Progress House is a 60-year-old peer-run organization operating for 57 years as a traditional recovery home offering a range of support services available to residents in a safe and sober environment. In November of 2019, Progress House consolidated with Aspire Indiana Health to provide whole-health care to residents in treatment for Substance Use Disorder, with primary health care, behavioral health care, peer recovery support, life skills programming, employment and housing services.

The Hushabye Nursery Model: Recovery Innovation for Pregnant and Parenting People with Substance Use Disorder

Hushabye Nursery is an innovative, trauma-informed model that offers a safe & inclusive space where – from conception through childhood - Parenting People with Substance Use Disorder, their babies & their family can receive integrative care & therapeutic support. It is the nation’s first room-in facility that keeps parents & babies together post-delivery, while offering support groups, developmental education, outpatient therapies, peer supports, case management, advocacy & service navigation.

CASES and the NY Justice Peer Initiative

The Center for Alternative Sentencing & Employment Services (CASES) is one of New York City's leading providers of pretrial services, alternative-to-incarceration programs, and mental health services for youth and adults with mental health treatment needs who have become involved in the criminal legal system (CLS). We are pleased to share the story of our efforts to advance recovery for people impacted by the CLS in this joint application with the NY Justice Peer Initiative.

Meet the Judges

Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Dr. Delphin-Rittmon previously served as Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) and served in this role for six years. Prior positions held at DMHAS include Deputy Commissioner, Senior Policy Advisor and Director of the department’s Office of Multicultural Healthcare Equity. In her role as Commissioner, Dr. Delphin-Rittmon was committed to promoting recovery oriented, integrated, and culturally responsive services and systems that foster dignity, respect, and meaningful community inclusion.

Through her 20 year career in the behavioral health field Dr. Delphin-Rittmon has extensive experience in the design, evaluation, and administration of mental health, substance use and prevention services and systems and has received several awards for advancing policy in these areas. Most recently, she received the 2019 State Service Award from the National Association of State Drug and Alcohol Directors and the 2016 Mental Health Award for Excellence from the United Nations Committee on Mental Health.

Read full bio.

Former Congressman (D-RI); Founder, The Kennedy Forum; Co-Founder, One Mind

During his time in Congress, Patrick J. Kennedy co-authored the landmark Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (Federal Parity Law), which requires insurers to cover treatment for mental health and substance use disorders no more restrictively than treatment for illnesses of the body, such as diabetes and cancer. In 2013, he founded The Kennedy Forum, a nonprofit that unites advocates, business leaders, and government agencies to advance evidence-based practices, policies, and programming in mental health and addiction. In 2015, Kennedy co-authored the New York Times Bestseller, “A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction,” which details a bold plan for the future of mental health care in America. In 2017, he was appointed to the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.

Kennedy is also the founder of, an educational campaign that empowers consumers and providers to understand parity rights and connects them to essential appeals guidance and resources; co-founder of One Mind, an organization that pushes for greater global investment in brain research; co-founder of Psych Hub, the most comprehensive online learning platform on mental health, substance use, and suicide prevention topics in the world; co-chair of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s Mental Health & Suicide Prevention National Response to COVID-19 (National Response); and co-chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Behavioral Health Integration Task Force.

Professor and Associate Director, Center of Alcohol & Substance Use Studies; Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology; Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey Wellness Institute

Peggy Swarbrick, Ph.D. FAOTA, is the Associate Director of the Center of Alcohol & Substance Use Studies and a Research Professor in the Applied Department of Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology. She has worked for 25 years at the Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey Wellness Institute Director. Over decades she has developed and evolved a strengths-based 8-dimensional wellness model that is been used for various populations as s strength-based approach for whole health recovery and prevention. Dr. Swarbrick has made significant contributions to the body of literature in occupational therapy, nursing, and community behavioral health care practice, focused on such topics as the 8 dimensions of wellness, wellness coaching, peer support, social determinants of health, financial wellness, employment, and professional self-care. She has created self-care wellness programs for people in recovery, caregivers, families, youth, and professionals including training materials and intervention manuals. Dr. Swarbrick recently developed a Wellness Training Learning Collaborative (W-TLC) designed to support the wellness of the workforce and is a collaborator on peer support models for healthcare professionals and educators to prevent burnout.

Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Director, Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities

Mark Salzer, Ph.D. (He/Him/His) is a psychologist and Professor in the College of Public Health at Temple University. He is also the Principal Investigator and Director of the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities, a rehabilitation research and training center that has been funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research since 2003. Dr. Salzer works closely with federal, state, and county mental health policymakers, behavioral managed care organizations, mental health agencies, and providers in the promotion of community inclusion and recovery-oriented programs, and has been a longtime ally of peer support advocates and providers in mental health.

Former Dean’s Executive Professor of Public Health at Santa Clara University; Former Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, SAMHSA

H. Westley Clark, MD, JD, M.P.H. is formerly the Dean’s Executive Professor of Public Health at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara California. He is also a former Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, SAMHSA, U.S. Department of Health and Human Service. He previously worked at the San Francisco VA where he led an outpatient program treating veterans with PTSD. He worked for three years as a health counsel for US Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources for Senator Edward Kennedy.

He is on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts and Stop Stigma Now and is the Chair of the Motivational Incentives Policy Group. He is also on the National Advisory Council of the NIAAA.

Dr. Clark received a B.A. in Chemistry from Wayne State University; he holds a MD and a M.P.H. from the University of Michigan; where he completed a Psychiatric Residency at University Hospital, Neuropsychiatric Institute. He obtained his Juris Doctorate from Harvard University Law School and completed a two-year Substance Abuse Fellowship at the DVAMC-SF. Dr. Clark received his board certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Psychiatry. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine. He is certified in Addiction Medicine by the American Board of Preventive Medicine.


Robin's Hope is an innovative peer-run trauma recovery center dedicated to helping adults heal from traumatic events. Robin's Hope empowers individuals to thrive through a safe, peer-run community that provides connection, inspires hope, and promotes resilience. Offering groups online and in person, these services address many mental health, substance use disorder, and disordered eating issues. All groups are offered at no charge to participants and virtual groups can be accessed worldwide.

South Florida Wellness Network, Inc. is a peer-run Recovery Community Organization with the mission to support recovery, resiliency & wellness for adults, youth and families facing substance use and/or mental health challenges in Broward County, Florida. Everyone is in recovery and/or family members. FWN is fiscally sound with 47 employees, CARF accreditation, and two Wellness Centers. Services include: Peer Support, Crisis Support, Inmate Re-entry, Outreach/Navigation, and Certified Trainings.

Mr. Robert Walker (person with a lived experience) and Dr. Karen Fortuna (scientist and family member of a person with a lived experience) established the Collaborative Design for Recovery and Health in 2015 as a hub for people with a lived experience to partner with engineers, scientists, caregivers, policymakers and payer systems (with and without a lived experience) to develop and empirically test groundbreaking technologies.

WCS peer specialists perform a critical and essential role in the recovery process for individuals who have behavioral health needs, homelessness, isolation, low or no income, and few relationships or supports. Our certified peer specialists draw upon their lived experience in a non-traditional, person-centered, and culturally informed way to help individuals access treatment while recognizing the needs of the whole person and the barriers that social determinants of health present.

In 2021, The Family Van launched an innovative program, Healthy Roads, adapted from The World Health Organization’s "Problem Management Plus,” to advance the recovery of underserved communities. Community Health Workers lived experience and extensive training provide free one-on-one psychoeducation and coaching to people struggling with social isolation, depression, stress, and adversity. Clients learn coping, problem-solving, and help-seeking skills that help them to reach their full potential.

The Recovery Education and Learning (REAL) Program is an innovative eight-week training and internship program that provides an avenue for people who receive mental health services to begin to explore what recovery can look like in their own life, and to learn the academic skills needed to be successful in the Certified Peer Specialist Training Program. This free program is followed up by ongoing engagement and support to each graduate as they pursue employment and personal life goals.

Dr. Masica Jordan LLC, through our Jordan Peer Recovery Training program, have introduced Peer Recovery to minority, underserved and marginalized populations. Our innovative, proprietary assessments and tools for peers are leading the way for future advancements in the field.

notMYkid is dedicated to supporting youth mental health and wellbeing through an array of trauma informed prevention and behavioral health programs. Our vision is for every child to have the knowledge and skills necessary to make positive life choices and reach their full potential. notMYkid is a Peer-Run Organization that follows a peer-to-peer model to EDUCATE, INSPIRE, and GROW. For 22 years we have served over 3 million individuals and reach over 100,000 youth and families each year.

One of the service gaps in a recovery-oriented system in California is voluntary crisis care. Project Return's Hacienda of Hope, is an innovative model as it provides a safe, homelike environment for individuals living with mental health challenges who are experiencing a stressful life event or crisis. Guests stay for short periods of time (usually three days to two weeks) to work on their personal growth and wellness and receive peer support from staff.

The Pettengill House, Inc. is a nonprofit community social service agency providing comprehensive case management, basic needs, crisis intervention, and wraparound supports for all ages in 10 MA communities. Its mission is to support and empower individuals, children and families by providing education, comprehensive case management, and basic needs; and by coordinating community supports that contribute to individual and family stabilization, personal growth and development.

Last Updated
Last Updated: 05/23/2024
Last Updated