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Focus on Recovery Community Organization Capacity Building


Recovery Community Organizations (RCOs) are grassroots, independent, nonprofit organizations, founded and led by the local recovery community. RCOs help individuals build their recovery capital* in their natural environment, in the community.

To support the growth and expansion of the peer workforce, the PR CoE helps increase the prevalence and capacity of RCOs. Not only are RCOs the primary source for Peer Recovery Coach/Peer Recovery Specialist training like the Recovery Coach Academy, they are also key employers of peer recovery support professionals. National Drug Control Strategy report (2020) emphasizes the need for community-based strategies to increase continued care and recovery support in the community. By building the capacity of RCOs, we increase the community’s recovery capital and the necessary resources to facilitate and sustain the recovery process.

*Recovery Capital
The breadth and depth of internal and external resources that can be drawn upon to initiate and sustain recovery from alcohol and other drug problems. (Granfield and Cloud). Recovery Capital may be grouped into four categories - internal: human and physical; and external: social and cultural.

University of Wisconsin-Madison houses The Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies, a leader in supporting the behavioral health field. UW developed and promotes the NIATx model to facilitate organizational/systems change in human services settings and leads research to support people in SUD treatment. Research results include increased access to and retention in treatment and reduced relapse rates for people in recovery. UW currently serves as the Region 5 Great Lakes ATTC, MHTTC and PTTC.

UW is focusing on Recovery Community Organization Capacity Building. This effort is led by Kris Kelly, Project Manager at UW and Nell Hurley, who serves as the Steering Committee Liaison for this focus area.

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Products and Resources from our RCO Capacity Building Team

Recovery Friendly Workplace Toolkit: We believe that employers play a critical role in fighting the disease of addiction, and we want to make it easier for you to better understand how to create and maintain recovery friendly practices in your company. In this toolkit, we introduce what substance use disorder is, its impact in the workplace, and how to create and support a Recovery Friendly Workplace. The goal of this toolkit is to provide you with practical tools and information. Too often, we ignore problems and do not provide resources to help people take action. This is just a small sample of what you can do for your employees and how being a Recovery Friendly Workplace can benefit your company as well.

Learning Collaborative - Essential Skills in Volunteer Management: Mobilizing the Power of the Recovery Community: A six-month learning collaborative for Recovery Community Organization leadership, volunteer coordinators, and/or lead volunteers looking for guidance on how to lead volunteer programs with purpose. (Recorded Sessions and Related Resourses)

Intersection of Prevention & Recovery Series: This webinar series was designed to inform and raise awareness of prevention and recovery community professionals about the intersection between SUD prevention and recovery approaches. The series demonstrated how the fields of prevention and recovery share common goals and explore ways professionals can collaborate and coordinate activities that work toward improving community health and wellness.

The Intersection of Harm Reduction, Prevention & Recovery Parts I & II, illustrated the common goals within the fields of prevention, recovery, and harm reduction such as: reducing the adverse health and social consequences of chaotic substance use, demonstrate the multiple points of intervention across the spectrum of substance use, and how to develop coordinated strategies at individual and community levels to address chaotic substance use. The panelists took a close look at how race and social determinants of health influence the frequency, access, and type of services provided to diverse populations. Please click on the thumbnail images to access the recordings.

Meet the Team


Kris Kelly


Todd Molfenter