2013 Bringing Recovery Support Systems to Scale Forum


2013 BRSS Forum - Mike Maples

Assistant Commissioner Mike Maples

BRSS Forum - Abigail Moore

Abigail Moore

BRSS Forum - Philander Moore and Joe Powell

Philander Moore (left) and Joe Powell (right)

BRSS Forum - Ijeoma Achara

Dr. Ijeoma Achara

The Bringing Recovery Support Systems (BRSS) to Scale Forum, which is designed to bring together key stakeholders from the substance abuse and mental health fields, was held on January 25, 2013 in Austin at the Doubletree Hotel.  There were nearly 200 participants in attendance at the event. The BRSS effort and Forum was funded by a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration.

Dr. Ijeoma Achara, a consultant in the field of recovery-oriented care, did an outstanding job as the lead speaker for the event.  She has worked extensively in the behavioral health field and continues to provide information regarding the importance of Recovery Oriented Systems of Care (ROSC) to Texas. Prior to her consultant work, Dr. Achara served as the Director of Strategic Planning at the Department of Behavioral Health and Mental Retardation Services in Philadelphia and was a former faculty member in the School of Medicine at the Yale Program on Recovery and Community Health.

Mike Maples, Assistant Commissioner for  the DSHS Mental Health Substance Abuse Services (MHSA) Division, provided a brief overview of the Department of State Health Services mission and MHSA’s commitment to ongoing system transformation through Recovery Oriented Systems of Care, which includes recovery based practices that full engage peers, recovery coaches and persons with lived experiences.

Sam Shore, Director of Mental Health Transformation at DSHS, informed the attendees that work in the area of recovery could not happen without the active involvement of people who are themselves in recovery. Their input informs and challenges the system to be inclusive and to continually improve. 

Finally, Philander Moore, Unit Manager for Substance Abuse Program Services at DSHS, provided information and guidance to participants on upcoming projects that the state has committed to in order to move recovery support forward in the coming year.

Following these presentations, two panels were convened to allow participants to share and discuss ideas. The first panel included a discussion about peer services, wherein each participant told parts of their individual stories interspersed between discussion of the drivers of peer work, giving back, passion and compassion.  In addition, there was discussion about whether certification creates a relationship disparity.  The second panel featured a discussion of the purpose of the ROSC, success stories, and challenges.

At the end of the forum, stakeholders were asked to work with members from their region to begin to think about next steps for their community; these next steps might include conducting  a regional focus group, conducing a regional ROSC symposium to develop a more concrete regional vision and action plan, look at the  strengths that  exist within their community, what additional resources are needed in the field and what collaborations and partnerships will need to be strengthened or developed to continue to build their ROSC. 

Stakeholders left the forum energized and some regions left with a plan in hand when they return home to their communities.

The event was a huge success and DSHS looks forward to continuing to collaborate with partners on this initiative across Texas throughout 2013 and beyond!

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Last updated March 22, 2013