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The Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research

HRSA Opioid Workforce Expansion Program (OWEP) ¬- Recovery Support Peer Specialists

Through the Opioid Workforce Expansion Program (OWEP) Recovery Support Peer Specialists Project, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), in collaboration with RecoveryPeople, an experienced training entity, will establish a network of workforce development hubs across Texas in order to enhance community-based experiential training for students preparing to become Recovery Support Peer Specialists (RSPS) and/or related peer paraprofessional roles that serve persons with opioid use disorder (OUD) and other substance use disorders (SUD) in high need and high demand communities along the Texas-Mexico Border, in rural counties and in Hurricane disaster relief areas. The resulting coordination of recruitment, training, and placement activities has been dubbed the Peer to Career Pipeline. This will include trainings that emphasize the needs and roles of families, children, adolescents and young adults affected by OUD/SUD and that will create a career pathway towards becoming a Qualified Peer Supervisor. A hybrid approach will leverage technology to centralize application screenings, didactic trainings, knowledge assessments, group supervision and evaluation and will leverage local partnerships to decentralize experiential trainings in an array of service settings including behavioral health treatment, Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) prescriber clinics, telehealth, jail diversion programs, recovery community centers and housing. This project began in 2019 and will conclude in 2023.


Dr. J. Michael Wilkerson, Principal Investigator