UA RISE earns Arizona Hope to Outcomes Award

Feb. 5, 2024

The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson’s UA RISE received the Hope to Outcomes Award from the Peer and Family Career Academy of Arizona. The award recognizes outstanding organizations that employ lived-experience professionals as peer or family/parent support specialists to improve overall health and reduce hospitalization of people with mental illness and substance-use disorders.  

A group of 12 men and women pose for a photo in an outdoor setting.

Staff members from the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson’s UA RISE received the Hope to Outcomes Award for their work to improve the health of people with mental illness and substance-use disorders.

UA RISE, which stands for University of Arizona Recovery thru Integration, Support and Empowerment, administers two programs supporting adults with mental health conditions and substance-use disorders and their families, Camp Wellness and the Workforce Development Program 

“We are extremely honored to receive this recognition. Our programs embrace recovery-oriented care, a transformative model of care that rather than focusing on disease, emphasizes the power of hope, support and self-advocacy, especially when delivered by trained peer- or family-support specialists,” said Randa Kutob, MD, MPH, the principal investigator for UA RISE and an associate professor at the College of Medicine – Tucson.  

The Camp Wellness program offers whole-health educational opportunities delivered by health mentors who demonstrate the power of peer support and serve as examples that recovery is possible. Staff members at Camp Wellness are certified recovery-support specialists with specialized health and wellness training.  

The Workforce Development Program provides peer-delivered programs that help individuals realize their recovery goals through the program’s Integrated Healthcare Recovery Support Specialist Certification and the Parent and Family Specialist Certification. Graduates of these programs work at agencies providing behavioral and physical health services to individuals and families. 

“I believe we won the award in part, because of the role UA RISE’s Workforce Development Program played in offering the first state-certified training for peer-support staff in southern Arizona. Our programs have grown in scope and impact and have consistently maintained the highest standards of admission, training and post-graduate and alumni support,” said Andy Bernstein, PhD, CPRP, the clinical director of UA RISE and a clinical professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the College of Medicine – Tucson.  “Many graduates of our programs have risen to supervisory positions in agencies throughout Southern Arizona.” 

RISE Director Cheryl Glass, MBA-HCM, MCHES, CPRP, summed it up in her acceptance speech, “It is such an honor to receive this award. We are so lucky that we get to see and experience the magic of hope and the power of peer support every day, and in moments like this, looking across the room and seeing so many different organizations represented, to feel the strength of being a part of the larger behavioral health community working together towards a common goal.”