Nelson Mandela believed the catalyst for a better future was learning. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Equipped with the right tools, the disenfranchised and disabled become engaged and empowered. Hope is ignited.
In behavioral health, recovery education opens an individual’s eyes to recognize potential beyond the despair of a limited life; giving courage and creating possibilities. Perhaps this is seen most strongly in those who have transitioned from a disability check to meaningful employment.
But recovery education creates more than personal development; it’s the stuff of social movements. While token voice and limited participation may previously have been seen as laudable for a person wanting to be involved in a community mental health center or mental health system, suddenly active leadership and action are required.
For the past 15 years, Recovery Innovations (RI) has engaged in changing the world through recovery education, focusing their efforts on three different target populations:
- Individuals with Serious Mental Illness
- Behavioral healthcare leaders/administrators
- Recovery Innovations employees
Three departments within RI are responsible for delivering this education.
Recovery Opportunity Center (ROC)
Founded in 2005 as an RI subsidiary, the Recovery Opportunity Center has graduated more than 6,000 individuals from Peer Employment Training, certifying them to serve in Peer Support roles. As a result, RI has boasted one of the largest peer supports workforces in the world, and has used this experience in recruitment, training, support, management and retention of peer workers to create trainings that support other organizations in making similar transformations.
Lisa St. George leads the Recovery Opportunity Center and its group of six master recovery trainers who have delivered recovery consultation to behavioral health leaders around the world. In addition to trainings that guide people who supervise peer workers about how to develop a resilient, effective, and viable peer workforce, the ROC has also developed numerous training tools, books, and workbooks that support the recovery of the people RI serves.
Recovery Education Center (REC)
Author Malcolm Gladwell’s Ted Talk on Capitalizing Human Potential focuses on two key drivers: what others expect of us and what we are trained to achieve. Often, individuals with serious mental illness are told that they have a disabling illness, and as a result they will not be able to work.
Since 2002, the Company has offered alternatives to historic day programs, including vocational certificates and personal growth workshops, bringing an important “Peer Career Ladder” to thousands of individuals served by RI’s Wellness City. This empowers individuals to choose career options beyond Certified Peer Supports.
Arrow Foster leads the Recovery Education Center, which is licensed as a private post-secondary vocational school in Arizona. The program equips individuals for roles as wellness coaches, crisis navigators, case managers, and supervisors and/or administrators. The master’s level instructors also introduce students to work roles outside of behavioral health.
RI Learning Team
Chris Martin leads the Learning Team of three master learning specialists and an education coordinator, which supports RI sites and programs across the US and in Auckland, New Zealand. They also focus on the professional and career development of staff and the advancement of the four balanced score card areas of the company.
Those who join RI’s nearly 800 strong workforce onboard through “New Employee Celebration” week, and receive ongoing support and skill-building through strong, interactive face-to-face and virtual trainings. This preparation is vital for all employees to help maintain the exceptionally strong connection to the RI core mission and to a service approach that is “irresistible” to those who experience it.
Integrating Efforts and Collective Impact
In 2015, RI is aligning these three important departments under a new role to integrate and elevate their outcomes. Effective March 9, Shanna Galdys will join the RI executive team as Chief Recovery and Clinical Officer. Her team will include the learning department leaders Lisa St. George (ROC), Arrow Foster (REC) and Chris Martin (Learning Team).
Shanna previously led the learning efforts at two prior Maricopa County Regional Behavioral Health Authorities (Magellan Health and Value Options), and is a recognized leader in behavioral health in Maricopa County with a demonstrated and enduring commitment to positively impact the lives of individuals with serious mental illness.
Her prior successes include an outcomes-based workforce development model that continuously engaged participants in the practical application of recovery principles, utilized a blended learning model, and incorporated licensing and credentialing requirements. The RBHA facilitated tens of thousands of “learning events” per year, supporting new employees, behavioral health provider staff, and community members with both face-to-face and online training.
Shanna’s credentials align strongly with RI’s mission and values. She is a family member of an individual with a serious mental illness, an active member of NAMI, has a Masters of Social Work (MSW) degree and is also a Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner (CPRP).
In addition to working closely with the three learning departments, Shanna will partner with the RI operations leaders to strengthen the clinical foundation of the Company’s recovery programs. This includes creating strategies to improve the central focus on the individual, the health and safety of staff and guests/citizens, and the measurement of effectiveness. Shanna will also be interviewing and surveying RI staff about what they need to better serve individuals, including those with co-occurring addiction use, serious medical complications, and/or suicide risk.
“My career path has afforded me the opportunity to make changes that introduced recovery into large systems of care,” Shanna said. “Recovery Innovations represents a unique opportunity to engage in truly mission-driven practices, and together with our leadership team to back up recovery with data-driven outcomes showing the proof in people’s lives where they live, work and play every day.”
RI News Flash
Shanna Galdys joins Recovery Innovations as Chief Recovery and Clinical Officer.