I-PEER Program

The Interprofessional Peer Education and Evidence for Recovery (I-PEER) program provides training for current and future behavioral health professionals in culturally- and developmentally-appropriate, integrated care for adolescents and young adults in Michigan. I-PEER participants are a diverse group of graduate students completing their final internships in integrated, interdisciplinary healthcare settings that use a team-based care approach to providing services. In addition to supporting students, the I-PEER program expands meaningful community partnerships in Michigan to assure that the diverse lived experiences of adolescents and young adults remain seen.

I-PEER is federally funded through a four-year, $1.92 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration.

I-PEER Components

Master-level students participate in the below I-PEER components.

  • Specialized field placements in rural counties or mental health professional shortage areas for counselor education and social work students
  • Stipends of $10,000 for student participants
  • Synchronous, virtual interdisciplinary, team-based learning opportunities
  • Self-paced trainings on: culturally- and developmentally-appropriate care, Goal Scaling Solution, suicide prevention, motivational interviewing, and Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)

Community partners may participate in our self-paced trainings. Many of the trainings are eligible for continuing education credits. To receive our mailings about trainings, please contact us at swrk-ipeer@wmich.edu.

Video of I-PEER Recruitment


Program Participants

WMU graduate students who have a qualifying Master of Social Work final placement or Master of Arts in Counselor Education internship (one of three programs: clinical mental health counseling, marriage couple family counseling or school counseling) in integrated, interdisciplinary healthcare settings that uses a team-based care approach to providing behavioral health services are eligible to apply to be a program participant. Placement sites must be in a Michigan county that is considered a mental health professional shortage area or a rural area.

See the FAQ for more details.

Example I-PEER Content

More info

Application Information

All social work and counselor education students (in one of these three programs: clinical mental health counseling, school counseling, and marriage couple family counseling) in their final placement or final-year internship at any eligible I-PEER site can apply to participate in the program.

Online I-PEER Application

Student FAQ

Frequently asked questions

Partner Organizations

The I-PEER team is always looking for opportunities to partner with integrated, interdisciplinary healthcare settings that use a team-based care approach to providing behavioral health services. For more information on working with WMU social work or counselor education students, please email swrk-ipeer@wmich.edu.


  1. Weller, B.E.,Adkison-Johnson, C., & Harrison, J. (in press). Assessing for Socioeconomic Background Diversity in Behavioral Health Workforce Development Programs. Family, Systems, & Health Journal. 

  1. *Kenny, H. F., *Carver, J. N., Harrison, J. E., Chapleau, A. M., & Weller, B. E. (2022). Perceptions of Goal Attainment Scaling among Future Behavioral and Mental Health Providers: A Qualitative Analysis. Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, 49(2), 114-127.

  1. Weller, B. E., Harrison, J., & Adkison-Johnson, C. (2021). Training a Diverse Workforce to Address the Opioid Crisis. Social Work in Mental Health, 19(6), 568-582.doi: 10.1080/15332985.2021.1975014

  1. Weller, B.E., *Carver, J.N., Harrison, J., & Chapleau, A. (2021). Addressing opioid misuse and mental health conditions through interdisciplinary workforce development programs. Social Work in Mental Health, 19(3), 220-229. doi: 10.1080/15332985.2021.1904088 

* Denotes student at time of work


Dr. Bridget E. Weller - email or (919) 360-5036

Bridget E. Weller, Ph.D., is a professor for the School of Social Work at WMU.  Dr. Weller’s research focuses on promoting and achieving equity in access, quality, and outcomes experienced by individuals with mental health disorders from historically underserved racial and ethnic groups.  She also specializes in statistics.  She is a licensed clinical social worker, with a specialization in using science to improve mental health outcomes for adolescents, young adults, and their caregivers.

Dr. Carla Adkison-Johnson - email or (269) 387-5120

Carla Adkison-Johnson, Ph.D., is a professor of Counseling Psychology Department and has practiced as a licensed professional clinical counselor and supervisor in communities of color for over 30 years. She is nationally known for her research on culturally competent counseling. She has published extensively in the areas of culturally competent mental health counseling, recruitment and retention of counseling professionals and African American child rearing practices. She is the editor-in-chief of The Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development. 

Dr. Jennifer Harrison email or (269) 387-3173

Jennifer Harrison, PhD, LMSW, CAADC is a social worker and chemical addictions counselor.  She is a professor and the director for the School of Social Work at WMU. Jennifer has been in clinical, research and administrative practice for more than 25 years. Her research, teaching, and service interests include international social justice, co-occurring mental health, substance abuse and medical needs among adults, peer services, and translational research in evidence-based behavioral health.

History of I-PEER

I-PEER was first federally funded 2017 through a four-year, $1.92 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, awarded to WMU professors Dr. Ann Chapleau, Department of Occupational Therapy, and Dr. Jennifer Harrison, School of Social Work. Dr. Bridget E. Weller joined the team in 2020.

In its first iteration, the I-PEER program provided enhanced interdisciplinary education for social workers, occupational therapists and peer specialists in evidence-based practices in behavioral health. The long-term goal of I-PEER was to provide workforce training in best practices to better serve rural and medically underserved communities in state psychiatric hospitals and community mental health providers in medically underserved and rural Southwest Michigan. I-PEER partnered with community providers at Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital, Recovery Institute of Southwest Michigan and community mental health programs in Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Cass, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Ottawa, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties to implement this workforce development training model.

In an effort to continually evolve the program to best meet the needs of Michigan, changes to the I-PEER program are reflected in the current four-year, $1.92 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration.