Peer Telehealth Championed
Peer Telehealth was championed as the top priority recommendation for Oregon Health Authority by the Oregon Consumer Advisory Council's Tools, Technology and Access Committee. Extensive cumulative research and discussions with leaders in the field led up to a Policy Option Package proposal for Oregon leaders to consider in the Biennial Budget for July 2021 through June 2023. In the Summer of 2019, Medicare expansion afforded peer telehealth for persons with co-occurring mental health and substance use. Work was still needed for Medicaid and Medicare coverage, workforce development, best practices guidelines, etc.
Coronavirus / COVID-19 Pandemic Outbreak >>> PeerGalaxy Calendar & Resource Page Kickoff
Early March, reports of the pandemic spreading in the USA continued.
PeerGalaxy Calendar with telephone and online virtual peer support offerings was launched. On March 17, 2019 the first online event added was the series of daily check-ins 8am Monday-Friday with Mary Jadwisiak / Holding the Hope. Many other offerings followed.
On March 23rd, 2020 Oregon's Governor issued an Executive Order for Shelter-in-Place. A few days later the PeerGalaxy Coronavirus / COVID-19 Specific Resources page is launched.
The pandemic accelerated rapid adoption of telehealth out of necessity regardless of payer or provider type. Kevin Fitts, Laura Rose, and other Oregon advocates championed Peer Telehealth with legislators and health officials as a vital resource.
Laura Rose established Oregon Peer Telehealth Information Network (OPT-IN) as an email list and Facebook Group to share timely information on telehealth including funding announcements, policy and rule changes, technology platforms, webinars, and other relevant items for peer run organizations, peer supporters, champions and allies.
Pivoting Large Events
Large gatherings were prohibited to limit contagion. Peerpocalypse was postponed until July. Meanwhile the long-awaited 2020 Telehealth Conference scheduled in Portland organized by NRTRC (the Northwest Regional Telehealth Resource Center) and TAO (the Telehealth Alliance of Oregon) pivoted to a free online virtual conference with over 1,000 attendees from over 43 states. NRTRC Friday meetings offering insights, guidance and resources on telehealth continued.
PeerGalaxy announced in Portland NBC Affiliate KGW 8 News Story Interview and Article
Kevin Fitts, Executive Director of OMHCA (Oregon Mental Health Consumer Associaton) and Janie Gullickson, Executive Director of MHAAO (Mental Health and Addiction Association of Oregon) shared about PeerGalaxy in an interview with KGW as part of the news story: 'People are struggling': Oregon mental health groups make call to action during COVID-19 by Galen Ettlin.
PeerGalaxy Offerings Shared Widely by Peers
National, state and local organizations and peers are spreading the word about PeerGalaxy both online and offline, word of mouth.
PeerGalaxy.com had 160,000+ shares, 180,000+ page views, 18,000+ visitors, and over a quarter-million hits.
Special thanks to: INAPS (National Association of Peer Support), NEC (National Empowerment Center), Surviving Spirit Newsletter, OCA (Office of Consumer Activities), OMHCA (Oregon Mental Health Consumer Association), MHAAO (Mental Health and Addictions Association of Oregon), FolkTime, TIO (Trauma Informed Oregon), ROCC (Recovery Outreach Community Center) and others helping this resource get noticed!
PeerGalaxy in TIO Newsletter:
Is Peer Telehealth Here to Stay? Yes, yes, if we have our say!
Kevin Fitts & Laura Rose
PeerGalaxy and the Future of Peer Telehealth in Oregon was the topic of our interactive discussion at the 1st virtual Peerpocalypse conference in history!
Great turnout and lots of praise for the
PeerGalaxy Calendar, Website and Workshop
Thank you for your support!
PeerGalaxy Enters Phase II
PeerGalaxy Calendar 2.1 Beta
now available in the testing phase!
Now exceeding 8,000 peer support, recovery and wellness offerings each month - the rich menu continues to expand weekly!
Now visitors have more ways to search, find, add, and view events! New categories, topics, and filters! Custom feeds for your calendar. More to come.
PeerGalaxy Facilitates Wildfire Response from Peer Run Organizations
Labor Day 2020 (September 7th) brought a historic wind event (75mph) sparking dry vegetation and accelerating multiple wildfires across Oregon.
The toll was high.
- Tens of thousands of people had to suddenly evacuate their homes for safety.
- Over 4,000 Oregonians lost their homes.
- Entire communities were leveled to the ground.
- Over 1 Million acres burned.
- 9 lives were tragically lost.
The skies were eery orange from the smoke for days and the resulting air pollution was hazardous, reportedly the worst on record. Unfortunately, some pharmacies ran out of inhalers, masks and other critical medical supplies. Brave firefighters and volunteers came to assist, some beyond Oregon's borders. Shelters were quickly set-up.
Learn more by visiting this link:
OHA (Oregon Health Authority) leadership reached out to PeerGalaxy leadership who reached out Oregon peer run organizations for quick thought partnership, input and coordination on addressing peer support and other needs for people affected by the wildfires. In great collaboration, resources were quickly identified and shared through social media, the PeerGalaxy Calendar, food box flyers, and more.
We are thankful to all who answer the call and step up with support for Oregonians.
The State of Oregon offers additional resources and information at this link:
PeerGalaxy launches Year-End Survey
On December 30th, 2020 our PeerGalaxy Survey Team launched the
Please take a few moments to complete this online survey. If you have questions, you can email surveyteam 'at' peergalaxy 'dot' com.
Results will be reported-out in aggregate summary
without identifying information.
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In January 2021 we will be scheduling a special event:
PeerGalaxy Visioning & Planning Discussion with Stakeholders
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In the meantime, you can check this out:
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2020 Web Traffic Statistics
Over 110 Thousand Visits
Over 670 Thousand Page Views
Over 1.5 Million Hits
Thank you to all who made this possible!
PeerGalaxy shared on KBOO Radio
Kevin Fitts, Oregon Mental Health Consumers Association, and and Janie Gullickson, Mental Health and Addiction Association of Oregon, by Paul Roland on KBOO aired at 8am PST on March 3, 2021 during which they shared about the PeerGalaxy Calendar and website (@ -31 min 40 sec).
New approaches to People in Mental-Emotional Crisis
Kevin Fitts and Janie Gullickson
Peer Respite (HB2980) and
Portland Street Response Pilot Project
PeerGalaxy @ Peerpocalypse 2021
Our team presented on PeerGalaxy to the Peerpocalypse 2021 conference attendees.
𝄞 Song Link:
Extreme Heat > Cooling Centers
The Pacific Northwest experienced a 1-in-1000 years heat dome with extreme high temperatures, reaching 118 degrees Fahrenheit in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. PeerGalaxy Calendar featured URGENT posts to share timely information on cooling centers, transportation, air quality and other resources.
Flexible funds for air conditioners, air filters, and energy assistance were available to many as well. PeerGalaxy actively promoted such resources on the web-based calendar, social media channels, and other opportunities.