Building Recovery Ecosystems for Substance Use Treatment
Class Experience Level
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

This class is no longer accepting registrations

Robust recovery ecosystems provide an environment where individuals can access substance use treatment and recovery support services such as housing and second chance employment, among others.

With support from the Fletcher Group, as part of their HRSA-funded Rural Community Opioid Response Program (RCORP) Center for Excellence, NORC at the University of Chicago and East Tennessee State University (ETSU) developed a recovery ecosystem index to measure the relative strength of county-level recovery ecosystems.

The Recovery Ecosystem Index Mapping Tool ( provides access to recovery ecosystem data for community partners to support community planning, programming and technical assistance designed to strengthen recovery ecosystems throughout the United States.

The session will also include an overview of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Recovery-to-Work Ecosystem Model to help individuals in recovery access the support services and training they need to maintain recovery and obtain gainful employment, and will highlight successful projects in Appalachia funded through ARC’s INSPIRE Initiative.

Session Objectives

  • Provide an introduction to the current challenges around substance use 
  • Discuss factors present in strong rural recovery ecosystems 
  • Describe the recovery ecosystem index and how to use the mapping tool

This session aligns with the NNLM Environmental Determinants of Health Initiative


Michael Meit serves as Director of the East Tennessee State University Center for Rural Health Research, located in the Appalachian Highlands of Northeast Tennessee. Michael currently leads studies focused on the evaluation of rural health programs, health equity, opioid misuse, and food insecurity, among others. Recently, he led development of an Appalachian Regional Commission study, exploring Diseases of Despair in Appalachia, a companion Appalachian Overdose Mapping Tool, and the national expansion of that tool, the Opioid Misuse Community Assessment Tool, as well as a new mapping tool that displays the relative strength of community-level substance use disorder support systems – the Recovery Ecosystem Index.

Megan Heffernan is a Senior Research Scientist in the Public Health Research Department at NORC at the University of Chicago. She has expertise in the areas of rural health, public health infrastructure, substance use research, and health equity, among others. She led the development of the Recovery Ecosystem Index Mapping Tool, along with NORC and ETSU’s research examining Diseases of Despair in Appalachia.

Mary Moran is a Program Analyst in the Business and Workforce Investment (BWI) Division at the Appalachian Regional Commission. In this role she manages a large portfolio of economic and community development projects focusing on health and substance use disorder, education, workforce training, business development, and leadership and community capacity building. 

Class Recording

Class Details

Date(s): August 16, 2023
Time: 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM EDT
Platform: Webex
CE Credits: 1.50
CE Categories: CHIS Level 1
Class Experience Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
This class is sponsored by Region 1.
Learn more about this class and find other upcoming instances:

Class Contacts

Host/Instructor: Faith Steele
Technical Assistance: Rebecca Brown

Can't join us live?

Register anyway and you'll receive the recording after the event.