CPS Student and Staff Among Villanovans Honoring National Recovery Month At Event in Washington, DC

Villanoavns in Washington DC

September is National Recovery Month, a key time for reflection and action for many members of our community.

Several Villanovans, including members of the College of Professional Studies (CPS), took part in a recent event in Washington, DC to highlight substance abuse awareness and solutions in the higher education environment.

As part of its efforts to expand access to inclusive recovery environments at colleges and universities in southeastern Pennsylvania, the Independence Blue Cross Foundation hosted a National Collegiate Recovery Forum in Washington, DC on September 21. The purpose of this event was to raise awareness of the importance of collegiate recovery programs and convene students, program staff, national experts, policymakers, and advocates. The event featured a robust panel discussion including U.S. Representatives for Pennsylvania Madeleine Dean and Brian Fitzpatrick and the Association of Recovery in Higher Education Executive Director, Kristina Canfield.

A group of Villanovans attended and participated in the event, including Fr. Bernie Scianna, O.S.A., Ph.D. (Senior Associate Dean of Students for Student Support), Sean Dinan, LSW (Substance Use Counselor with the University Counseling Center), Robyn Dooley (Academic Advisor in the College of Professional Studies), and CPS student Michael DiMaio.

DiMaio, a member of the class of 2023, is the director of the Infinite Mission, a non-profit organization that offers aid to veterans and those dealing with substance issues and homelessness. As part of his role as an ambassador for the Someone You Know Campaign through the Independence Blue Cross Foundation, he provided opening remarks prior to the panel discussion at the event.

When featured in a CPS Student Spotlight earlier this year, DiMaio described his organization's efforts by saying, "We’re committed to those who are struggling with substance abuse and homelessness. Our mission has two components. The first is to provide outreach for those dealing with substance abuse and homelessness, by providing food, clothing, wound care, and eventually a pathway for those who are struggling. The second component is to empower others to serve with a higher compassion.”

The Philly Voice recently highlighted the growing number of programs in this field, including DiMaio's journey at Villanova, addressing a critical need amidst the opioid epidemic in our nation. Villanova's College of Professional Studies seeks to be part of the solution to this national crisis, by training and empowering the professionals and advocates helping those in need. The College of Professional Studies offers certification programs for Recovery Specialists and Addiction Studies.

Michael DiMaio-panel

Recovery Specialists

The Recovery Specialist curriculum is for individuals who are seeking the Certified Recovery Specialist (CRS), Certified Family Recovery Specialist (CFRS) or the Certified Recovery Specialist Supervisor (CRSS) credentials. According to the Pennsylvania Certification Board (PCB), the Recovery Specialist is an individual with personal, lived experience of their own recovery.

The Recovery Specialist is a role model, mentor, advocate, and motivator. Recovery Specialists advocate for the individual, the recovery system, recovery-oriented services and assist to identify and reduce stigma. They advocate to eliminate barriers, increase natural supports and build community.

The Recovery Specialist program is offered on campus on Saturdays each Fall and Spring.

Addiction Studies

Villanova's Addiction Studies program provides substance use disorder specific education for professionals interested in the subject or seeking a certification. Courses within this program can be applied to a variety of Pennsylvania Certification Board (PCB) and Delaware Certification Board (DCB) certifications. Students can choose to take individual courses or the full certificate. Individual courses in the program include Addiction Counseling, Ethical Decision Making, and Relapse Prevention.

The complete Addiction Studies program can be completed in under a year and completely online, with a new co-hort starting in the Spring of 2023.