HUNTINGTON — The Alliance for the Economic Development of Southern West Virginia has hired Susie Mullens as its project coordinator for the new Southern West Virginia Collegiate Peer Recovery Network, the alliance announced last week.

The collegiate recovery network is supported through a grant of more than $320,000 by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Behavioral Health from the State Opioid Response (SOR) grant. Federal SOR grant funding comes from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. These funds will be used to establish a Southern West Virginia Collegiate Peer Recovery Network, offering peer recovery support services on seven higher education campuses in the Mountain State, including Marshall University.

Mullens is a longtime recovery advocate. She is a licensed psychologist, and previously served as interim director of the West Virginia Office of Drug Control Policy.

“Susie is a true collaborator, and she really has a passion to grow collegiate recovery,” said alliance operations council chairwoman Sara Payne Scarbro in a release. “We are honored to have her join our team to help facilitate connections, build resources in our state and help revitalize our communities. Collegiate recovery is critical infrastructure for our state to offer, and we are pleased that Susie will help lead this important initiative.”

In addition to Marshall, the alliance’s Southern West Virginia Collegiate Peer Recovery Network includes BridgeValley Community and Technical College, Bluefield State College, Concord University, Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, West Virginia Osteopathic School of Medicine and West Virginia State University. They work with the following behavioral health centers: Prestera, Seneca Health Services and Southern Highlands Community Mental Health.

“I am honored to join the alliance to help expand collegiate recovery in West Virginia because it will make a tremendous difference in the lives of students, their families and the communities where they will establish careers and businesses,” Mullens said. “We know that students in recovery who have support on campus graduate at a higher rate and tend to have higher grade point averages. Collegiate recovery is truly a win for all partners — the student wins, our campuses/institutions win, our community wins and our state wins.”

The Alliance for the Economic Development of Southern West Virginia is a joint venture among West Virginia’s southern colleges and universities to better connect the educational resources and workforce training offered in southern West Virginia to promote the region, eliminate redundancies and share best practices, improve the quality of life for area residents, create jobs, keep West Virginia’s talent pool in the state and revitalize southern communities.

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