I-PEER Program

  • spring 2019 IPEER participants

    Spring 2019 I-PEER participants celebrate their interprofessional achievements as they prepare to enter the workforce. Good luck, graduates!

Video of IPEER video HD 720p2
The Interprofessional Peer Education and Evidence for Recovery program provides 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 is 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 is federally funded through a four-year, $1.8 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. Drs. Harrison and Chapleau collaborated with community partners 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.


  • 2019 I-PEER OT graduates

    Expanded field placements in medically underserved community mental health and SUD treatment settings for WMU social work and OT students
  • Specialized Interprofessional training on topics including motivational interviewing, goal attainment scaling and recovery orientation
  • Interprofessional student supervision that joins social work, occupational therapy and peer support students and clinical faculty  
    • Collaborative student research producing presentations and professional posters
    • Case-based learning modules
  • Stipends of $10,000 for WMU student participants
  • A Rapid Continuous Quality Improvement process including an interagency, interprofessional team of faculty researchers, staff and students to monitor progress, evaluate outcomes and provide program modifications to reflect evaluation findings


  • Completion of pretest/posttest following specialty training
  • Focus groups
  • Goal Attainment Scaling for individualized student goals


  1. Prepare a diverse and culturally humble workforce with skills in behavioral health care and interprofessional team operation
  2. Improve the workforce distribution of peer specialists, occupational therapists and social workers to rural Southwest Michigan
  3. Transform the way health care is delivered by enhancing the provision of evidence-based practices and interdisciplinary behavioral health, involving professionals, paraprofessionals and the people and communities they serve

Our ultimate goal is to facilitate lives of recovery and wellness for all of our underserved and vulnerable community members with behavioral health needs in rural Southwest Michigan with the help of sufficient numbers of treatment providers who are skilled in interprofessional best practices, processes, and evaluation methods. 


All students who are placed in fieldwork at an eligible I-PEER site will be invited to apply for the stipends. There is no GPA requirement associated with the program. To apply, please complete this online I-PEER Application. All students at I-PEER sites may participate in the training, whether they receive the stipend or not.


Click here to read our I-PEER FAQ document or email swrk_ipeer@wmich.edu for access.


Please contact swrk_ipeer@wmich.edu to learn about future trainings offered by the I-PEER program. 


From our Students

I really enjoyed I-PEER and 100% believe that the valuable knowledge, insight and access to the interprofessional world is the reason I gained employment so quickly as a new grad (even before passing the NBCOT exam). The opportunities that I-PEER provided to learn extensively about, and collaborate even more extensively with, different health professions and community resources is extremely important in order to not just provide the best care, but to be an influential and cooperative member of the health care team so that we can truly advocate for our clients.
- Kaitlyn Felt, M.S. in Occupational Therapy, 2019

Partner organizations

The WMU School of Social Work and Department of Occupational Therapy are always looking for opportunities to partner with behavioral health organizations in the Kalamazoo community and region. For more information on working with WMU social work or occupational therapy students, please contact:

Co-PIs of I-PEER, Drs. Harrison and Chapleau

  • Dr. Ann Chapleauann.chapleau@wmich.edu | (269) 387-7242

    Ann Chapleau, DHS, OTR/L, is a professor of occupational therapy at WMU. She has more than 30 years of clinical, administrative and research experience in the behavioral health field. Ann’s current research includes outcome measurement using Goal Attainment Scaling and development of a goal scaling mobile and web-based application, Goal Scaling Solutions (GSS). She is also working with a research team to develop HIPAA-compliant technology for digitization of historical psychiatric records.

  • Dr. Jennifer Harrison | jennifer.harrison@wmich.edu | (269) 387-2556
    Jennifer Harrison, PhD, LMSW, CAADC is a social worker and chemical addictions counselor.  She is an associate professor and the interim 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.