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In-Person CHW Panel Discussion: “We Need To Get Paid For Our Value”

February 26, 2024 : 1:00 pm 4:00 pm

“We Need to Get Paid for Our Value”:

Making the Community Health Worker Role and Peer Recovery Specialist Role Sustainable

Join CHWARI in-person on 2/26, 1-4pm, at Rhode Island College’s Institute for Education in Healthcare for a vibrant discussion with a panel of researchers (two of whom have lived experience of addiction) and CHWs/peer recovery specialists. This in an in-person event at Alger Hall Room 110 on the Rhode Island College campus. Zoom is only being used for registration purposes.

This event is a panel of researchers who were involved with a recent study of CHW/Peer role definitions and work conditions in Rhode Island, published in Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly. They will discuss their own experiences of working in these roles as well as the changes needed to make them sustainable on the program, institutional, and legislative levels.   


After decades of playing a critical role in extending healthcare to the most marginalized, Community Health Workers (and more recently, peer recovery specialists) are becoming widely recognized. From the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMSHA) to the American Journal of Public Health, important voices have called to expand these roles in response to the staffing crisis facing healthcare and mental healthcare/substance use disorder treatment. However, all is clearly not well. A series of recent publications have described wide-spread burnout, emotional exhaustion, moral injury, economic exploitation, and high workforce turnover. Although these impacts were intensified during the COVID 19 pandemic, they began well before March 2020 and, if anything, have only worsened since. As one harm-reduction worker recently stated: “The new normal is a non-stop crisis.”


Anthony Thigpen, CCHW/PRS

I am a program coordinator for a program called Connect For Health. This program is housed in Lifespan’s Community Health Institute which connects men and women and families to resources in the community. I started out as a community health worker with Providence RI Transition Clinic at the Center for primary care, and one of the founders of Docs For Health, a tool that has been designed to screen and intervene for social determinants of health. Also, formally incarcerated, and recently celebrated 16 years of being free. 

Arryn A. Guy, PhD

Investigator, Brown University School of Public Health

Dr. Arryn A. Guy (she/they) is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Rhode Island and an Investigator in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the Brown University School of Public Health. Dr. Guy’s work focuses on community-based participatory research with queer and trans communities to develop and implement evidence-based behavioral health interventions. Their work aims to heal negative psychological sequelae resulting from stigma, support addiction recovery, increase access to gender affirmative care, and reduce HIV health inequities. 

Tee Dorsey, CPRS

Tee Dorsey, CPRS has worked as a Community Health Worker, Certified Peer Recovery Specialist, Violence Interrupter and now works at Project Weber Renew as a Court Support Navigator.

Jon Soske, PhD

Jon Soske is a person in long-term recovery from drug and alcohol addiction and researcher at the Lifespan Division of Addiction Medicine.  

Sara Alavi, MA

MD Candidate at University of California, San Francisco

Sara Alavi is a medical student at the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program. She is pursuing an MD from the UC San Francisco and an MS from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, researching environmental health disparities and urban greening. Following her graduation from Brown University in 2021, she completed a Fulbright-funded MA in Medical Anthropology at SOAS University of London.

Lex Morales, CCMC

Lex Morales is Pawtucket Program Manager for Project Weber/Renew

Free Spots limited!
110 Alger Hall, 600 Mount Pleasant Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02908 United States
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