Community Health Worker/ Peer Recovery Specialist



Bilingual English/Spanish Preferred

Prior Incarceration Preferred

To Apply

Email resume to


The Emergency Department Community Health Worker / Peer Recovery Specialist (CHW/PRS) will work with patients in the Emergency Department (ED) at Rhode Island Hospital as part of the Substance Misuse Assistance Response Team (SMART). SMART engages ED patients with substance use disorders and provides individualized support, motivational interviewing, and navigation to addiction treatment, harm reduction, and other community services to address health-related social needs. The CHW/PRS should be a dynamic, motivated individual with thorough knowledge of local social services and community resources.  The goal of the SMART CHW/PRS is to provide navigational, case management, and peer support services to patients who present to the ED for a substance use-related visit. These patients also have significant medical co-morbidities and mental health issues along with a substance use disorder.

The CHW should have an understanding of social determinants of health in health outcomes and health behaviors. In addition, the applicant should have completed Community Health Worker and Peer Recovery Specialist training and/or will need to complete these trainings within one year of hiring.

A Community Health Worker is “a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has an unusually close understanding of the community served. This trusting relationship enables the CHW to serve as a liaison/link/intermediary between health/social services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery. A CHW also builds individual and community capacity by increasing health knowledge and self-sufficiency through a range of activities such as outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support and advocacy.” (APHA CHW Section) A peer recovery specialist (PRS) is a person with lived experience with substance use and/or substance use disorder who is in long term recovery who has completed a peer recovery specialist training in motivational interviewing, trauma-informed care, linkage to treatment, and peer navigation. 

Specifically, the role of the CHW/PRS is to:

  • Work collaboratively on an interdisciplinary team utilizing an integrated client care model in conjunction with best practices for Community Health Workers.
  • Engage in effective motivational interviewing, peer outreach, case management, and navigational services to Emergency Department patients with substance use, mental health, and social needs.
  • Coordinate collaboration with the medical home-primary care (PCP), community services, case managers, and social workers, to deliver interventions that will address social needs and maximize patient health outcomes.


Under supervision of the CHW/PRS Supervisor and with oversight from the Center for Primary Care and the Emergency Department medical teams, the SMART CHW/PRS is responsible for performing the following essential job functions:


  • Complete initial assessments with the patient and providers to identify specific areas of focus, patient strengths, and barriers to care
  • Work to build a trusting and supportive relationship through continued rapport building techniques which you can develop goals for patient’s care.
  • Help patients develop and maintain systems to manage their care through goal setting and motivational interviewing
  • Provide patients with education about overdose prevention and use of naloxone for overdose rescue
  • Educate patients about substance use disorder treatment options and facilitate initiation of and referral to evidence-based treatment including medications for opioid use disorder.  This includes supporting patients and providers administering buprenorphine in the ED.
  • Referral and navigation to community harm reduction, addiction treatment, and recovery services
  • Help to address any logistic barriers, scheduling
    complications, childcare needs, etc., that would prevent a patient from
    showing up to their appointments.
  • Accompany patients to appointments with health care and social services providers when needed to provide support and advocacy.
  • Coordinate and collaborate with patient’s care team (existing health care providers, case workers, social workers etc). Mobilize existing team members to action on behalf of the patient.
  • Document patient encounters and track benchmarks in progress.
  • Document care coordination notes in the ERH (electronic health record) for high risk patients.
  • Follow up with case load weekly by using a rating system which determines needs and priorities for each client.
  • Document clinically appropriate information in the hospital’s EHR
  • Complete data collection on each client and upload into a spreadsheet for monthly analysis of client progress, needs, and setbacks.
  •  Shifts vary depending on volume of emergency department statistics
  • Some nights and weekends are required.
  • Compete other job duties as assigned.


  • Complete research/IRB training through Lifespan. Demonstrate privacy and confidentiality, meeting all related training and practice requirements of the Lifespan system.
  • Enroll patients in the Emergency Department into related RIH CHW programs as needed
  • Administer research surveys to patients as necessary
  • Collect weekly, monthly, and quarterly data


  • Two (2) years of verifiable experience providing information, education, intervention and/or referral services to culturally diverse populations. Recent experience (last 5 years) working as part of a multi-disciplinary team in a health care setting preferred.
  • Community Health Worker certification and Peer Recovery Specialist certification in Rhode Island preferred.
  • Experience working with health care systems, substance use treatment programs, and/or community-based organizations.
  • Experience with motivational interviewing, advising/counseling clients, and/or participating in health promotion and health education activities.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Excellent organization, thorough record-keeping, follow through, and ability to juggle multiple priorities in fast-paced environment with multiple collaborators.
  • Demonstrated excellent attendance and reliability.
  • Willingness to travel to and work in various environments, including prison/jail settings, street outreach, home visits at SRO, patient’s residence or homeless encampment.
  • Basic computer skills, including Microsoft Office.
  • Valid driver’s license and excellent driving record and reliable personal transportation.
  • Experience living or working in South Providence and experience working with formerly incarcerated individuals, LGBT individuals, and/or people with severe mental health issues preferred.
  • Prior experience using an electronic health record preferred.
  • Prior incarceration preferred.
  • Bilingual English/Spanish preferred.

To Apply

Email resume to