Recovery Month at Mass General

Doctor and patient at the Mass General Bridge Clinic

Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities!

Each September, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) sponsors National Recovery Month to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders and celebrate the people who recover. The 2017 theme -- “Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities” -- highlights the value of family and community support throughout recovery and invites individuals in recovery and their family members to share their personal stories and successes in order to encourage others.

Download Recovery Month 2017 calendar    

See all Recovery Month events    

Event highlights include the following:

Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) Initiative

The Mass General Recovery Month Celebration is led by the Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) Initiative. The initiative was developed in response to a Community Health Needs Assessments in Chelsea, Revere and Charlestown, where residents identified substance use, particularly opioids, as the single greatest issue in their community. It represents a collaborative effort between the Departments of Medicine, Psychiatry, Social Work & Nursing, as well as The Center for Community Health Improvement, Mass General Community Health Centers and the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program.

The initiative was designed to improve the quality, clinical outcomes and value of addiction treatment for all Mass General patients with substance use disorder while simultaneously reducing the cost of their care. To accomplish this mission, patients must have access to evidence-based treatment that is readily available and standardized across the system. The Mass General SUDs Initiative is focused on re-designing care at all levels to meet this goal.

Sarah Wakeman, MD

“Although addiction is a chronic and potentially fatal disease, it is treatable and most people will recover. Recovery Month offers us an important opportunity to highlight this message of hope, spread awareness about the effectiveness of treatment and continue our fight against stigma.”

--Sarah Wakeman, MD, Substance Use Disorders Initiative Medical Director

Addiction Services at Mass General


“Addiction is a disease that impairs will power and decision making. We are working to educate patients, families, communities and health care professionals that addiction is a chronic brain disease and not a moral failure. There are millions of people who live in recovery. Treatments work. We want to acknowledge and celebrate their achievements.”

--Nalan Ward, MD, Director, Mass General Outpatient Addiction Services

The West End Clinic (WEC) of Mass General is an outpatient facility for those with alcohol and drug addictions, co-occurring mental health disorders and other types of addictive behaviors. The clinic offers a wide range of outpatient therapies and medication treatment along with other resources.

Learn more about the West End Clinic

The Addiction Recovery Management Service (ARMS) specializes in supporting teenagers and young adults between the ages of 14 and 26, and their parents, as they deal with their substance use and related problems. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 617-643-4699.

Learn more about ARMS

Watch Emily’s inspiring story of recovery with the help of Mass General’s Bridge Clinic. “It’s a relief to have found a place where I’m not kicked out for being honest and asking for help,” she says, “I’ve felt loved and accepted, and love is crucial to someone in recovery.”

Mass General Campus Events

Download Recovery Month 2017 calendar    

The following is a list of event highlights for Recovery Month 2017 taking place on the Mass General campus and in the city of Boston.

Recovery Month Kickoff

When: 9/12 at 10-11 AM

Where: Bulfinch Tent

Description: Join us in celebrating the second annual Mass General Recovery Month, featuring keynote speaker Michael Botticelli, Executive Director of the Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine at Boston Medical Center and prior Director of National Drug Control Policy for the Obama Administration. Designed for clinicians, staff, patients, families, community members and city-wide leaders in the field of addiction care, this event will highlight the vital role communities and families play in one’s path to recovery. We will hear a personal account of the interplay between family and patient, as told by an individual in recovery and her mother. Speakers will also touch upon the innovative and interdisciplinary models of care available at the Mass General for substance use disorders.

Information Table

When: 9/15, 9/18 from 8 AM- 5 PM

Where: Coffee Central

Description: This table will be staffed by Mass General providers and staff knowledgeable about addiction, treatment and recovery. A variety of educational materials and treatment resources will be available. Nasal Narcan training will also be available at the table for those who are interested.

Department of Psychiatry M&M on Substance Use Disorders (MGH clinicians only)

When: 9/12 at 12-1 PM

Where: Haber Auditorium

“Treating Addiction as a Chronic Disease”

When: 9/14 at 12 PM

Where: Blum Center

Who: John F. Kelly, PhD. Director, Recovery Research Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital

Description: Addiction is recognized increasingly as a disease that requires ongoing recovery management and monitoring, yet is still often treated as an acute care condition, with little attention paid to the need for ongoing services and support. This talk describes the rationale and background to treating addiction as a chronic illness akin to diabetes and hypertension and describes some of the novel services and evidence regarding ways to support long-term remission and enhanced quality of life for those suffering from substance use disorders.

Addressing Maternal, Fetal and Child Health in the Midst of the Opioid Epidemic

When: 9/15 at 12:30-1:30PM - Live streaming of this talk will be available here

Where: Bigelow Amphitheater, White 4

Who: Lynn Paltrow, Executive Director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW)

Description: As Executive Director of NAPW, Ms. Paltrow combines legal advocacy, public education, organizing and research to secure the human and civil rights, health and welfare of all pregnant women and parenting women, and those who are most likely to be targeted by state control and punishment – low-income women, women of color, and drug-using women. Some of the starkest examples of the consequences of denying women full human rights involve the direct and severe punishment of pregnant, drug-using women. By combining claims of fetal rights with the war on drugs, new laws that punish pregnant women and families are being put into place. There is a consensus in the medical community that addiction is a public health issue and that treating drug use in pregnancy as a crime undermines the health of both women and children. Yet fetal rights advocates have convinced police, prosecutors, and judges to treat addiction as a form of abuse or neglect without regard for parenting ability. Like other applications of the war on drugs, the punishment of pregnant women is targeted at vulnerable, low-income, women of color -- those with the least access to health care or legal defense.

A Multi-Layered Approach to Recovery: A Veteran and Military Family Case

When: 9/18 at 12-1 PM

Where: Blum Center

Who: Heather Kapson, PhD, and Ann Stewart, LICSW of the Mass General Home Base Program

Description: Developing an addiction does not occur in isolation, nor does recovery. Clinicians from Home Base, a program that provides clinical and wellness services for veterans, service members, and military families at Mass General, will provide information about the many influencing factors surrounding substance abuse, such as other mental health diagnoses, one’s support system, and environment, and how to consider these factors in the context of treating addiction.  A veteran and family case example will be reviewed to illustrate this multi-layered approach.

Suboxone Waiver Training (Clinicians only)

When: 9/18 from 9 AM- 1 PM

Where: Bigelow Amphitheater, White 4

Description: This training is a new course that combines “on-your-own” online training modules with live in-classroom training. It is developed by the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) and sponsored by a CSAT (Center for Substance Abuse Treatment) grant. The training is free for all. Completion of this "Half and Half Course" meets the 8-hour training requirement specified in the DATA 2000 (Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000). Upon completion of the training, attendees will be able to fill out the "Waiver Notification Form" necessary to obtain an “X license” at no cost, and paperwork will be sent directly to AAAP on the behalf of the attendees. After signing up, the attendees will receive a link to 3.75 hours of on-your-own training, with a test to be completed prior to the in-classroom training. The modules provide background on the treatment of opioid and substance use disorders. This training activity is designated for up to 8 AMA PRA Category 1 credits TM.

Registration available here.

For questions, please email Elizabeth Powell:EAPOWELL@PARTNERS.ORG

Course Director: Nalan Ward, MD

Speakers: Michael Bierer, MD, Laura Kehoe MD, MPH

You matter! Families discuss how they help their loved ones who suffer from addiction

When: 9/19 at 1 PM

Where: O’Keefe Auditorium

Description: The Family Panel will highlight three different family stories and will discuss how each family supports their loved one struggling with addiction. A parent of a youth, a couple, and a parent of an adult child will speak to their lived experience and share what worked and what did not work for them as they strived to help their loved one on the path to change. Dr. James McKowen from ARMS/Mass General and Dr. Estee Sharon from WEC/Mass General will briefly describe the services offered by their respective programs along with theoretical and empirical data that supports these services. Q&A will follow.

MOAR & Friends Statewide Recovery Month March & Celebration

When: 9/20 at 8AM

Where: Meet in the East Garden Room

Who: Led by Mass General staff

Description: This is a state-wide walk organized by the Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery (MOAR). All staff, patients, families and community members are welcome. All Mass General participants will meet at 8AM to walk to the Boston Common to meet groups from across the state at 9AM. From there, MOAR will lead the march for a Recovery Month celebration. MGH Recovery Month T-shirts and stickers will be available for all Mass General participants.

Can Medication Management and 12-Step Programs for Substance Use Disorders Co-Exist?

When: 9/21 at 12-1 PM

Where: Blum Center

Who: Laura Kehoe, MD, MPH of the MGH Bridge Clinic; Chris Shaw, ANP/PMHNP, CARN AP of the MGH Addictions Consult Team

Description: Join Laura Kehoe, MD, MPH, FASAM, and Christopher Shaw, ANP, PMHNP, CARN, AP, for a talk on the role of 12-step peer support (i.e. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous) and evidence-based medications to treat substance use disorders. They will discuss how they can be equally beneficial in supporting health and wellness during recovery.

“Where Are We Now? Updates on the MGH Substance Use Disorders Initiative”

When: 9/25 at 12-1 PM

Where: Blum Center

Who: Sarah Wakeman, MD, Medical Director of the Substance Use Disorder Initiative; Martha Kane, PhD, Clinical Director of the Substance Use Disorder Initiative

Description: In 2014, Mass General identified substance use disorders the number one priority for its 5-year strategic plan. In response, the Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) Initiative was created to address the concerns of patients, clinicians, and community members. Through the SUDs Initiative, robust, interdisciplinary teams were established to treat SUDs in the inpatient and outpatient settings. Since then, the hospital has made remarkable improvements in its approach to addiction care. Join Sarah Wakeman, MD, and Marti Kane, PhD, for a talk about the Mass General SUDs Initiative. They will share the progress of this innovative program and how these changes have led to improved patient outcomes for individuals living with SUD.

“There is Treatment, Treatment Works”

When: 9/28 at 11 AM- 12 PM

Where: Haber Auditorium

Who: Georgia Stathopoulou, PhD, MGH West End Clinic

Description: Substance use disorders are the top public health problem in the United States and are among the most stigmatized conditions in society. Yet, these are highly treatable conditions from which the majority of people recover. This talk, led by Dr. Stathopoulou at the West End Clinic, will describe the numerous effective treatment options for substance use disorders. Patients who have utilized these treatments to achieve recovery will tell their stories.

"When the Community is the Patient: Prevention Work in our Neighborhoods"

When: 9/29 at 12-1 PM

Where: Blum Center

Who: Jennifer Kelly, Sarah Coughlin, and Silvia Chang of the Mass General Community Health Coalition

Description: Join Sarah Coughlin, LICSW, LADC-I, Sylvia Chiang, MPH, and Jennifer Kelly, LCSW, for a talk about their work overseeing three multi-sector community coalitions in Charlestown, Revere and Chelsea. Their work includes addressing top health concerns by implementing strategies to improve community conditions, systems, and policies; guiding the coalitions’ efforts aimed at strengthening protective factors and decreasing risk factors; increasing access and resources for successful treatment and recovery from substance use disorders.

Narcan Training

Description: Nasal naloxone (Narcan) is a prescription medication used to block the effects of opioids and reverse an overdose. This is a life-saving medication that can be used by healthcare staff, patients, and families. These trainings will be taught by Mass General Clinical Pharmacist Jessica Moreno, PharmD, who specializes in addiction medicine. These trainings are by online sign-up, but walk-ins may be permitted if space allows.

When: 9/12 at 12:30 and 1:00 PM (Yawkey 4-810)

            9/22 at 12:30 and 1:00 PM (Hackett Conference Room, Bulfinch 355)

            9/26 at 12:30 and 1:00 PM (Yawkey 4-910)

Where: Various locations (see above)

All trainings take place at Massachusetts General Hospital. Register by clicking on one of the following sessions:

Mass General Community Events


Visit the Charlestown Coalition website for more information on Charlestown's Recovery Month events.

Gavin Foundation Free Comedy Show (Adults Only), Friday, September 8, 6:30 p.m., Location: IBEW Hall, 256 Freeport Street, Dorchester

St. Mary's Recovery Mass, Sunday, September 10, 6 p.m. Location: St. Mary-St. Catherine of Siena Parish, 55 Warren Street

Turn It Around 4th Annual Kickoff to Recovery Month BBQ, Wednesday, September 13, 4-6 p.m., Location: CHS Football Field

Recovery Breakfast/Walk to Boston Common for Rally & March to Faneuil Hall for MOAR Recovery Day, Wednesday, September 20. Meet at Boys and Girls Club, 15 Green Street, at 8:30 a.m. Breakfast will be provided.

Charlestown 9th Annual Candlelight Vigil, Saturday, September 23, 6:30 p.m., Location: Hayes Square. If you would like to submit a photo of a loved one, please email photos to Shannon Lundin at

Sober Dance immediately following Charlestown's 9th Annual Candlelight Vigil, Saturday, September 23, Location: First Church Charlestown, 10 Green Street.


The 2nd Annual Chelsea Candlelight Overdose Vigil, Wednesday, September 12, 5:30 p.m. Registration, 7 p.m. Program, Location: City Hall Lawn


The Annual Revere Beach Memorial has again been organized by the Revere CARES Coalition and the City of Revere for Sunday, September 17, 2017 at the William G. Reinstein Bandstand on Revere Beach (rain or shine). The Annual Revere Beach Memorial is a candlelight vigil for families and friends who wish to remember a loved one that lost their life to an overdose. The event begins at sunset, approximately 7:00 PM, and will end by 8:00 PM. To register a name to be read or to donate to the Revere Beach Memorial Fund, contact Revere CARES at 781-435-6440, or arrive between 5:45 PM and 6:45 PM on the night of the event.


News and Highlights

Peter Slavin, MD

“Through our Substance Use Disorders Initiative, Mass General is committed to providing excellent care to patients and families struggling with addiction. Recovery Month is part of our larger goal to highlight the advances that are being made in the field of addiction medicine, to draw attention to all the work that still needs to be done and to celebrate patients whose struggles with addiction have become inspirational stories of recovery.”

--Peter Slavin, MD, Mass General President

Read recent coverage about Recovery Month, the opioid crisis and Mass General's response and other topics related to substance use disorders:  

Tom Lynch, Jr., MD, and Nalan Ward, MD, Director of Outpatient Addiction Services at the West End Clinic, discuss Mass General Recovery Month Celebrations and how they will increase awareness of behavioral health conditions in substance use disorders.


For more information on the Recovery Month Celebration and the Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) Initiative, contact:

Elizabeth Powell

Project Manager, SUDs Initiative


For media inquiries, please contact McKenzie Ridings in the Massachusetts General Hospital Public Affairs Office at 617-726-0274 or