July 2023 Newsletter

July 2023 Newsletter

SUPR Staffing Update:

Yahitza Nuñez has joined the SUPR team as the Deputy Director in the Bureau of Licensure, Compliance and Monitoring!

Yahitza is an ethics and compliance leader with 10 years of overall legal and compliance experience. Yahitza began her career as an attorney in Texas throughout several county and district attorney's offices and the Texas Department of Health and Human Services with a focus on mental health civil rights. Throughout her time there, she observed several broken systems and policies leaving individuals without the services they needed. This exposure to health law and failing systems inspired her to pursue a master's in healthcare law and compliance from Loyola School of Law in Chicago, so that she could work together with operational teams to ensure they implement compliant programs and advance health equity for all populations.

Most recently, Yahitza served as a Senior Director of Compliance at Cleo Labs, a health tech company focused on supporting caregivers manage daily living and navigate the healthcare system. In addition, Yahitza has experience as a Privacy Officer of OSF HealthCare, which was a 14-hospital health care system at the time.

Kim Sriner has been promoted as the Manager of Recovery Support Services within the Bureau of Planning, Performance Assessment, Federal Projects, and Program Development!

Kim has been with SUPR since 2019 and is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), a Certified Recovery Support Specialist (CRSS), and a Wellness Recovery Addiction Plan (WRAP) Facilitator with a bachelor's in psychology and master's in clinical counseling, both from Southern Illinois University (SIU). Kim has over a decade of experience working in substance use treatment facilities, mental health agencies, integrated behavioral health in a primary care setting, supervision of clinical and professional staff, and expanding recovery and training across the fields.

Brian Harter, Mary Heyen, and Russell Hatchett have all been promoted to Grant Assurance/Payment Specialists in the Bureau of Business and Fiscal Operations!

Brian has been with SUPR since 2019. Prior to joining SUPR, Brian spent over 13 years with a large Chicago health system as a Senior Accountant and Senior Financial Analyst as well as six years with a large printing company! Brian has earned a bachelor's degree in Accounting and a Master of Business Administration with financial emphasis. He also earned his Certified Public Accountant Certification while working in Wisconsin.

Mary has worked for the State of Illinois for 29 years! Mary joined SUPR in 2019 and enjoys the work she does as it helps providers continue to provide help to one of the most vulnerable populations.

Russell has worked for the State of Illinois for approximately 30 years! He began his state career with the Illinois Department of Public Aid. Following his time with the Department of Public Aid, Russell joined IDHS and worked in Contract Administration and Rehabilitation Services. Russell then joined SUPR in 2017. Russell earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from SIU-Carbondale.

Eli Bernardoni has joined the SUPR team as a Grant Manager in the Bureau of Business and Fiscal Operations. Eli graduated from the University of Illinois at Springfield and joined state employment shortly after.

Eli spent nine years with the Illinois Department of Aging (IDoA) prior to joining the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS). While at IDoA, Eli spent most of his time as a Regional Coordinator, where he provided oversight over Area Agencies on Aging throughout the state and managed federal and state grant programs.

Anthony (Tony) Wanless has joined the SUPR team as the SOR Grant Specialist in the Bureau of Planning, Performance Assessment, and Federal Programs.

Tony graduated from Riverton High School and spent two years in the Army, followed by eight years in the Illinois Army National Guard while attending classes at LLCC and UIS. For the last five years, Tony has been with IDoA as a Social Service Program Planner in the Home and Community Services Division.

Montala Carruther, Adriana Jimenez, Tori Kierbach, Jhamani Walker, and Adam White have all joined SUPR as Michael Curry Interns!

Montala is a 4th year Honors student studying Public Health, with a certificate in Resilience & Trauma-informed Perspectives at the University of Iowa! Montala is an Honors peer mentor, teaching assistant, cheerleader, and student ambassador for both the Honors program and the College of Public Health. Additionally, she is the founder of Paws at Iowa, a new student organization at the University that is dedicated to improving student mental well-being through human animal interaction.

Adriana is a first-generation college student, recently graduating from Dominican University with a B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy. Adriana will begin her graduate studies in August as she pursues a Psy.D in Clinical Psychology at Roosevelt University.

During her undergraduate years, Adriana served as a Resident Assistant, teaching assistant for a psychology statistics class, peer mentor, and social justice activist under the Schmitt Scholarship.

After completing her doctoral program, she hopes to work with children in Black and Brown communities to assist in helping them heal from their traumas with an end goal of having her own private practice.

Tori is heading into her junior year of college at Williams Baptist University (WBU) where she is majoring in biology with a minor in political science.

Tori is a student athlete on the softball team, currently the president of the TriBeta chapter of WBU, a member of the pre-law society and is also in the COE-Honors Program. After graduating from WBU, Tori plans on attending law school.

Jhamani recently graduated from Governors State University with her bachelor's in Psychology, and a minor in Gender & Sexuality Studies.

In her final semester, Jhamani took a substance use class which piqued her interest in the current systems for addiction and substance use.

While in school, Jhamani worked in IT, financial aid, and was a peer mentor. She was also a Resident Assistant for the past 3 years. Concluding the summer, she will begin her master's program in Marriage and Family counseling.

Adam graduated from Lutheran High School in 2020 and just completed his junior year at Illinois State University (ISU). At ISU, Adam is majoring in Exercise Science, Allied Health.

Adam plans to attend graduate school, either in Physical Therapy or Chiropractic Medicine. Adam enjoys volunteering with his family at Helping Hands Springfield and the Midwest Food Bank in Normal.

Practical Guide for Implementing a Trauma-informed Approach:

SAMHSA has issued a new practical guide on trauma-informed approach (TIA). The primary goal of this guide is to expand the discussion presented in SAMHSA's previous resources on trauma (Concept of Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care in Behavioral Health Services). The guide specifically focuses on tools and strategies for implementing a TIA. This guide highlights the need for organizational assessment of readiness and capacity before implementing TIA and describes strategies for such assessments.

The guide is intended for anyone involved in organization-level change, including practitioners, state and local officials, policy makers, federal and non-federal funders, peers, and family members. Click here to access the Guide.

Success Stories:

SUPR, the Illinois State Police (ISP), and Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC) have been partners in deflection pilot projects across Illinois.

Deflection projects are each different, focused on the needs of the specific area. Law Enforcement often encounter individuals that need support and connection to services, from substance use disorder treatment to other services, but are not equipped to make those referrals that can address their social determinants of health and public health needs. The connection with a Deflection Specialist means that law enforcement can stay focused on their mission to keep people safe and allow Deflection Specialists to make the connection to public health services.

The first deflection pilot started in the East St. Louis area where ISP worked closely with TASC Deflection Specialists to ensure that individuals that have been victims of crime or encounter police for other reasons get connected to services.

One example of this work of many, is that of a toddler who was killed in a drive by shooting while the toddler was with a friend of the family. The family was distraught and had no insurance or money to bury their child. The family was referred by the ISP Violent Crimes Unit to a TASC Deflection Specialist who connected them to services so that the mother could get the services and support she needed, including burying her child during this difficult time.

Another IDHS/SUPR program focused on addressing workforce issues is Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors (CADC) Workforce Expansion. The CADC Workforce Expansion program aims to address the behavioral health workforce crisis by increasing the number of CADC entering and being retained in the workforce in Illinois.

The program provides tuition payments, internship stipends, payment for credential and testing fees, workforce promotion and training, and other wrap-around supports for individuals seeking to obtain a CADC credential who commit to working in substance use services in IL for 2 years.

This new program was launched on May 15, 2023 and has received 158 applications to date. For more information, or to apply for the program, please follow the link on the Illinois Certification Board's website.

Medication Assisted Recovery in County Jails Learning Collaborative Update:

This learning collaborative offers county teams an opportunity for technical assistance and expertise to help implement Medication Assisted Recovery for justice-involved populations in Illinois counties. Some of the benefits include office hours, one-on-one coaching sessions, in-person meetings including all cohort participants.

There are now 23 counties participating in this Learning Collaborative. Recently, some counties have begun work on implementing housing/recovery pods and/or long-acting injectable initiatives.

Enrollment in the Learning Collaborative is on a rolling basis, so if you are interested in more information for your county, you can email ILMARinCountyCJ@healthmanagement.com  or email Kathleen.Monahan@illinois.gov .

Recovery Trainings:

IDHS/SUPR has partnered with Faces and Voices of Recovery to assist in the expansion of recovery community organizations (RCO) across the state.

Part of this expansion involves providing free trainings to providers and community stakeholders on recovery topics. For more information about Faces and Voices Illinois project, training calendars, and registration information, please visit Illinois Recovery Project.

Please share these trainings widely within your agencies and communities. If you have questions or would like to discuss starting a recovery community organization in your community, please contact Kim Sriner at Kimberly.Sriner@illinois.gov .

COVID-19 Exceptions:

The state's public health emergency (PHE) ended on May 11, 2023, aligning the state with the federal government's decision to end the PHE.

Visit SUPR's Governor Pritzker Ends COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Proclamation Smart Alert for the status of COVID-19 exceptions.

Recovery Residences Registry

The IDHS/SUPR Recovery Residence Registry has been moved to the Illinois Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances to simplify public inquiries for Recovery Residence. Information in the registry helps IDHS/SUPR better understand recovery residences' capacity and support for Medication Assisted Recovery. If you partner with a residence that is not listed, please invite them to register and/or contact Kimberly.Sriner@illinois.gov to list the organization. Search the Recovery Residences Registry at any time

Overdose Response Funding Updates:

SUPR publishes a quarterly report summarizing funded projects in response to the overdose crisis. We invite you to review the Overdose Response Funding Report at your convenience.

Smart Alerts and Other Communications:

DHS Coronavirus

SAMHSA COVID-19: The health, safety, and well-being of all those we serve are amongst our highest priorities. Please visit the State of Illinois Coronavirus page.

Summary of SUPR Resources During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Smart Alerts

SUPR COVID-19 Communications