Diversity, equity, and inclusion are a priority for the PR CoE’s work internally and externally. Internally, the PR CoE seeks to promote inclusivity and equity in its workshops and other offerings. To this end, we are beginning to collect demographic information from participants and monitor the geographic distribution of recipients of our services. We also seek to diversify our roster of subject matter experts and consultants and to host community listening sessions in underserved areas of the U.S. Externally, we plan to develop a series of events, tools, and resources focused on promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion of the peer workforce and in the delivery of peer services.
This focus area is integral to the work of the PR CoE as it ties directly into our mission, vision, and values. We recognize that our work will have limited impact if it does not center the diverse voices of individuals with lived experience in recovery, seek to include them in decision-making processes, and work consistently towards greater equity in peer services. Examples of work we have done related to DEI include our work to create spaces for peer workers from the deaf and hard-of-hearing community as well as our community listening session in Puerto Rico.
In 2004, William White highlighted the importance of embracing multiple pathways to recovery as part of a SAMHSA summit on the future of peer recovery support services1. Nearly 20 years later, this charge remains relevant. Many PRSS still emphasize 12-step models over other pathways to recovery and focus on treatment and treatment outcomes rather than recovery outcomes. To date, little is known about the diversity of the peer workforce, the degree to which it is representative of the larger population of individuals experiencing substance use challenges, and what equity in the delivery of PRSS looks like. While a recent systematic review of the literature stated “in the majority of studies the racial makeup of samples was diverse, and representative of the populations being studied,”2 this refers to the recipients of peer services and not the peer workers themselves tasked with delivering these services.
More recent work by Dyani Bingham and Allyson Kelley highlights the importance of implementing contextualized peer services, seeking to understand what PRSS would look like designed for American Indian people in recovery from SUD3. This work emphasizes the importance of involving the peer workforce in the design and decision-making around peer services, the spiritual aspects of peer services in this group, and the importance of integrating peer services into community. More work like this is needed to explore peer services in different contexts.
1White, W. L. White, W.(2004). The history and future of peer-based addiction recovery support services. Prepared for the SAMHSA Consumer and Family Direction Initiative 2004 Summit, March 22-23, Washington, DC.
2Eddie, D., et al. (2019). "Lived Experience in New Models of Care for Substance Use Disorder: A Systematic Review of Peer Recovery Support Services and Recovery Coaching." Front Psychol 10
3Bingham, D., & Kelley, A. (2022). Rethinking Recovery: A Qualitative Study of American Indian Perspectives on Peer Recovery Support. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, 1-14.
As mentioned above, this is a newly established focus area for us. We are currently in the process of identifying a partner to lead these efforts. Initial groundwork is being done by established team members from other focus areas.
Peer Service Integration
RCO Capacity Building
Evidence Based Practices
Funding for this initiative was made possible by grant no. 1H79TI083022 from SAMHSA. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.