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Training of Peer Specialists

Training and Orientation of Peer Specialists - Click Here

Initial Program Overview

Peer Specialists are given an initial overview of all the programs at ECCC (Errera Community Care Center) during a two week rotation through all the programs.  During this rotation, they participate in rounds and join their colleagues as observers.

General Hospital Orientation

As part of their initial training, Peer Specialists are provided with a two day orientation at the VA Hospital in West Haven, CT, that includes: HIPPA, Sexual Harassment, administrative procedures, meetings with a representative of the Hospital Workers Union, information security and confidentiality, etc.. 

Supervisory Support

Peers are provided with initial and ongoing training and supervision.  On a weekly basis they meet with assigned direct supervisors as well as other clinical staff who act as mentors in the program to which they are assigned.


Ongoing General Training

Peer Specialists participate in the general learning environment of ECCC through training such as ECCC in-services or Brown Bag Seminars, which have covered topics such as: mental status, personality disorders, aging, suicidality, stigma, patient advocacy, various law topics, and confidentiality. Peer Specialists also receive yearly training on a variety of subjects including HIPPA, fire and safety, environment of care, human resource and personnel issues, crisis management, and VISTA scheduling.

Job Specific Training

Supervisors play a large role in training Peer Specialists for specific assignments within each program.  Experienced staff members will also work with Peers on assignments such as computer training for documentation purposes, which is specific to a job or program.  However, this training does not prevent Peer Specialists from becoming actively involved very soon after assignment to a group.  As Mark said, “I hit the ground running.  I was taken over to the Brownell residence, told about their program, and familiarized with the day to day activities of Brownell.”


Peer Specialist Specific Training

Peer Specialists are participating in training programs that are specifically oriented towards the emerging role of peers.  Peers from ECCC participated in a two week training program,  Peer Specialist Certification, that was administered by the Transformation Center in Bedford Massachusetts.  The core tenet of the training was to advance the shift in the field from the institutional model to the new recovery model and to equip the peers with the knowledge and skills to be active leaders in this transformation. Peer Specialists also attended a three day conference in Chicago based on the evolving role of Peer Specialist within the VA.

Peer Specialists Attend Job Specific Seminars and Training 

For example, a Peer Specialist attended a week long training program in San Diego on the fundamentals of running a CWT/TR residence.