Recovery Month 2021

This September, Massachusetts General Hospital, led by the Substance Use Disorders Initiative, will mark National Recovery Month by hosting events to raise awareness of prevention, treatment and recovery support services.
Members gather for the Recovery Walk
Members gather for the Recovery Walk

Join the Voices for Recovery: Together We Are Stronger!

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.

» Download the Recovery Month 2021 calendar (PDF)

Mass General Events 2021

What: Envisioning person-centered care for people who use drugs: Lessons from medical practice, lived experience, and drug user organizing 

When: September 9 from 12:00 pm–1:00 pm


  • Dinah Applewhite, MD. Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program. Director of Harm Reduction, Substance Use Disorder Initiative
  • Caty Simon, founding co-organizer of Whose Corner Is It Anyway, a Western MA group by and for housing insecure, stimulant and/or opioid using low-income sex workers; leadership team member of Urban Survivors Union, the national drug users union
  • Vanessa Chevalier, Whose Corner Is It Anyway subcommittee member

Description: People who use drugs encounter significant discrimination in healthcare settings. This case-based panel discussion will center the voices of drug user organizers to illustrate the barriers to quality care and envision what person-centered medical services for stigmatized populations could look like.

What: Recovery Month Kick-off Event, “Harm Reduction: A Pathway to Autonomy, Hope, and Healing”

When: September 15 from 12:00 pm–1:00 pm

Who: Maia Szalavitz and Monique Tula

Watch the Video: Harm Reduction: A Pathway to Autonomy, Hope, and Healing


Maia Szalavitz
Maia Szalavitz is the author of Undoing Drugs: The Untold Story of Harm Reduction and the Future of Addiction (Hachette Go, 2021), the first history of the harm reduction movement and its success in moving America towards more compassionate and effective approaches to addiction. Her previous book, Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction, first published in 2016, was a New York Times bestseller and received the 2018 media award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Her earlier book, Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids, was the first to expose the damage caused by the “tough love” business that dominates youth treatment and helped spur Congressional hearings on the matter. She has also authored or co-authored six other books, including the classic on child trauma, The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, with Bruce. D. Perry, MD, PhD. In addition, she has written essays and features for numerous publications from High Times to the New York Times.

Monique Tula
Monique Tula is the Executive Director of Harm Reduction Coalition, a national advocacy and capacity-building organization that promotes the health and dignity of people affected by drug use. Previously, she was the Vice President of Programs with AIDS United where she oversaw the grantmaking and technical assistance portfolios. With more than 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector, Ms. Tula has devoted her career to harm reduction advocacy and infrastructure development of community-based organizations. Ms. Tula is a skilled trainer, having taught program evaluation courses at the University of Massachusetts in Boston and facilitated numerous organizational development trainings for community-based organizations throughout the U.S. An alum of the Centers for Disease Control’s Institute for HIV Prevention Leadership, Ms. Tula holds a degree in Community Planning with a concentration in Non-Profit Management from the University of Massachusetts and a Masters Certificate in Non-Profit Leadership and Management from Boston University’s School of Management. Ms. Tula has been nominated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leadership award.

What: Recovery Month Information Table

When: September 23 from 9:00 am–4:00 pm

Where: Coffee Central, White Lobby

Description: This information table staffed by members of the MGH Substance Use Disorders Initiative will have general and Mass General-specific resources about substance use disorders and treatment.

What: Buprenorphine Waiver Training (Clinicians only)

When: September 28 from 1:00 pm–5:00 pm

Where: Virtual

Presenters/Faculty: Laura Kehoe, MD, Course Director

Description: Communities across the US are affected by the opioid epidemic and every medical specialty cares for patients with opioid use disorders. Of the 2.5 million people in need of treatment, fewer than 1 million receive it. Evidence-based treatments are under-utilized and there is a clear need to increase access to treatment. The Buprenorphine Waiver Training will educate physicians, NPs, PAs and other clinical staff about the fundamentals of addiction medicine as well as buprenorphine, opioid use disorders, and practical patient management.

The course combines online self-study modules with live virtual training, including review of case studies, to provide a background of addiction treatment options in an office practice-based setting using pharmacological treatments for opioid use disorder. It includes discussion of medication options, focused primarily on buprenorphine, covering induction, stabilization and maintenance, as well as the criteria to evaluate the appropriateness of medication-assisted treatment for individual patients. 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 physician training requirement* specified in the DATA 2000 (Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000) to prescribe buprenorphine to more than 30 patients.

Prescribing buprenorphine to fewer than 30 patients no longer requires training, but we still recommend this training as a great way to learn the basics of OUD treatment, even if you don’t intend to prescribe to more than 30 patients.

Upon completion of the training, attendees will be able to complete the Waiver Notification Form to obtain an “X license” at no cost. In addition to completing this training, NPs and PAs have other training requirements that must be completed prior to becoming eligible to apply for the waiver. Please email Elizabeth Powell ( to sign up for this training or with questions.

What: Removing Barriers While Remaining Resilient in One’s Recovery During Uncertain Times

When: September 30 from 12:00 pm–1:00 pm


  • Windia Rodriguez
    Program Manager, MGH Recovery Coach Program

  • Dawna Aiello
    Certified Addictions Recovery Coach
    Recovery Support Specialist
  • Ryan O’Brien
    Recovery Coach
    Peer Support Specialist
  • Dan Foley
    Recovery Coach
    Peer Navigator

Link to attend:

Description: During this challenging time, recovery capital has been more important than ever. Join us for a discussion with our recovery coaches. They will review the tools they used for themselves and their participants to help them maintain their recovery. Our coaches will also share the challenges and successes they experienced.

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.

Addiction Services at Mass General

The West End Clinic

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 >

HOPE Clinic

The HOPE Clinic (Harnessing support for Opioid and substance use disorders in Pregnancy and Early childhood) at Massachusetts General Hospital and Mass General for Children provides comprehensive care for pregnant women with substance use disorder, their partners and their infants from conception through early childhood. The HOPE Clinic sees patients from 9:00 am-4:00 pm on Wednesdays on the Mass General main campus. However, the team can be reached any time during the week by phone at 617-724-4643 or by email.

Learn more about the HOPE Clinic >

The Bridge Clinic

The Bridge Clinic mission is to bridge the treatment gap by providing on-demand, compassionate care to patients at all stages of addiction. This transitional clinic works to engage and stabilize high-risk patients before connecting them to long-term community-based care.

Contact Us

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

Elizabeth Powell
Administrative Director, SUDs Initiative

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

Substance Use Disorders Initiative

The Mass General Recovery Month Celebration is led by the Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) Initiative. Discover what we do.