With support from a $350,000 grant from the John and Polly Sparks Foundation, the Addiction Alliance of Georgia will work with the Grady Health System and other community partners to integrate additional substance use disorder services into Grady’s primary care clinics.
Previously, the foundation funded the Integrated Care Program for Behavioral Health in the Grady Health System, which included a large hospital and several neighborhood health clinics serving a diverse socioeconomic population in Atlanta. Building off of that program, the new grant will add peer recovery coaches from the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse into Grady’s primary care teams, expand medication for addiction treatment services throughout the Grady system, and educate all involved on best practices for effective collaboration.
“The addiction crisis in Atlanta and across Georgia and the nation has grown worse amid the pandemic, increasing the urgency to identify and help people who are struggling with substance use in every possible setting, including primary care clinics,” said Justine Welsh, MD, medical director of the Addiction Alliance of Georgia and assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine. “All of us at The Addition Alliance of Georgia are very excited to work with Grady to intensify our collective response to the public health problem of addiction.”
Primary care providers and peer recovery coaches at Grady will work with experts at the Addiction Alliance of Georgia to receive extensive training in motivational interviewing; trauma, mental health and substance use disorders; stigma and bias; medications for opioid use disorder; and more. Professional learning communities for peer coaches and other members of the care team will meet regularly for problem-solving and discussion to build upon and sustain the recovery knowledge developed.
In addition to funding for the Addiction Alliance of Georgia, the Sparks Foundation also recently gave a gift to the Emory Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences to support its infant mental health program and training for child and adolescent psychiatrists.