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The RecoveryOhio Advisory Council

About the RecoveryOhio Advisory Council

To ensure that the state’s work to address the public health crisis improves the health and wellness of all Ohio citizens, the feedback and expertise from the RecoveryOhio Council and those who have presented information to the group have been invaluable.  The RecoveryOhio Advisory Council recognizes that Ohio’s substance use and mental health treatment, prevention, and recovery support services delivery are planned by and provided through professionals from many sectors of society and all levels of government.  And as such, solutions must be coordinated.

The RecoveryOhio Advisory Council is made up individuals who are:

  • Living with and recovering from mental illness and/or substance use disorders;
  • Family members or other advocates for people living with, or recovering from, mental illness and/or substance use disorders;
  • Working in local, state, and federal government;
  • Working in private industry;
  • Employed by institutions of learning;
  • Working for organizations of faith;
  • Employed in criminal justice settings;
  • Working for mental health and substance use prevention, treatment, advocacy, or support services;
  • Working in health care; and/or
  • Concerned about issues of importance to Ohio’s mental health or substance use matters.

RecoveryOhio Advisory Council Membership

Chairwoman, Director Alisha Nelson, RecoveryOhio

Vice Chairwoman, Director Amy Acton, Ohio Department of Health

Vice Chairwoman, Director Lori Criss, Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services

Vice Chairwoman, Director Annette Chambers-Smith, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction

Facilitator, Michael Buerger, Department of Administrative Services — LeanOhio

Amy Andres, Ohio Hospital Association

Beth Bickford, Association of Ohio Health Commissioners

Bobbie Boyer, Institute for Human Services

Pastor Greg Delaney, Woodhaven and Reach for Tomorrow Ohio

Juliet Dorris-Williams, The PEER Center

Suzanne Dulaney, County Commissioners Association of Ohio

Joan Englund, Mental Health and Addiction Advocacy Coalition

Dale Foerster, Starr Manufacturing

Shea Fraser, Recovery Advocate

Orman Hall, Ohio High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area and Ohio University

Dr. Navdeep Kang, Mercy Health — Cincinnati

Teresa Lampl, The Ohio Council of Behavioral Health & Family Service Providers

Stephen Massey, CitiLookout Counseling Center

Judge David Matia, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court

Jessica Nickel, Addiction Policy Forum

Melissa Rodgers, Recovery Advocate

Terry Russell, National Alliance on Mental Illness of Ohio

Dr. Shawn Ryan, Ohio Society of Addiction Medicine

Marcie Seidel, Prevention Action Alliance

Brenda Stewart, The Addict’s Parents United

Retired Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Stepping Up

Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland

Dr. Julie Teater, Ohio State University — Talbot Hall

Sheriff John Tharp, Lucas County Sheriff’s Office

Sarah Thompson, Ohio Citizen Advocates for Addiction Recovery

Cheri Walter, Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities

Chief Robert Ware, Portsmouth Police Department

Message from the RecoveryOhio Advisory Council

One of Ohio’s great strengths is the ability of the state’s citizens to come together to solve problems. Among Ohio’s challenges is the ongoing effort to provide the best treatments and support for individuals with mental illness and/or substance use disorders. The paramount goal in providing quality services is that each person has a chance to live a happy, healthy, and productive life. As a state, we have not done everything right, but we should be proud of our ability to adapt our practices and help those in need of care and support.  Ohioans, now more than ever, must come together to create collaborative systems to serve every community, every race, every person in ways that use science and evidence-based practices.

Research shows that treatment works for both mental illness and substance use disorders and that recovery and long-term wellness are not only possible, but likely. We must embrace this knowledge and meet people where they are to walk alongside them as they find their individual paths to wellness. In doing so, we will remove barriers to treatment and address issues so that all people may receive services when they need them.

All of this is made possible by a strong and knowledgeable workforce, that includes critical specialists, who are in great demand in every region to prevent, treat, and offer recovery support to individuals and their families, but also includes the “citizen workforce” of all Ohioans who reach out and assist and support the people in their lives who are struggling with mental illness, substance use problems, or other personal difficulties. To address the shortage of specialists, Ohio needs a comprehensive plan to encourage students to consider careers to help those with mental illness and addiction.

To protect Ohio’s future, the state must expand prevention services to serve all ages through support and education. For people who struggle each day to maintain wellness, we must be bold and use evidence-based programs that reduce harm and give them a chance to recover.  And, when an individual is ready for treatment, Ohio must respond by providing a system that immediately grants high-quality, culturally appropriate care that takes into consideration the complex situation of each person and family and relies on best practices.

The RecoveryOhio Advisory Council, under the direction of Governor Mike DeWine, has spent the past two months creating an initial report to highlight the state’s most pressing challenges in building a better system. The members of the council are presenting more than 50 recommendations that are impactful and can be implemented by communities that wish to act now to address the crisis and set up a system of support for the future.

We have much work to do in Ohio. But, by collaborating and sharing resources and knowledge, we can continue to be proud of the work we have done and be hopeful for the work we are about to do.

Respectfully submitted,

The RecoveryOhio Advisory Council