digital communications

Digital Peer Support Enhanced Professional Learning Series

This enhanced professional learning (EPL) series is designed for mental health and substance use peer support specialists/recovery coaches to expand their skills in the use of digital technologies to provide peer support services.  Participants will receive training on: 1) the history and role of digital peer support; 2) digital peer support competencies; 3) how to select digital support technologies including decision support tools to aid in selection; 4) specific keys to digital peer support with a focus on engagement; 5) privacy and ethical issues; and 6) how to develop a digital peer support platform. This EPL will be taught by a digital health technology scientist and a peer certified digital peer support specialist. During the sessions, time will be built-in to practice text message-based support as well as discussions and other skill building activities as it relates to digital peer support.


Every Tuesday, March 7 – April 4, 2023, from 1:30 – 3:00 PM Eastern


Week 1: The Digital Peer Support Specialist

  • Understand the definition of digital peer support
  • Describe the history of digital peer support
  • Develop understanding in digital peer support terminology, including analytical techniques and technologies
  • Understand digital peer support competencies

Week 2: How Can I Select Digital Peer Support Technologies with Service Users to Support Recovery?

  • Recognize human factors in digital health engagement, including ethics, preference, and privacy features
  • Develop expertise in accessing technologies for digital peer support specialists and service users
  • Utilize decision-support tools to facilitate the selection of digital peer support technologies

Week 3: The Key to Digital Peer Support Engagement

  • Develop plan for teaching peer support specialists and service users how to use technology
  • Practice text message-based peer support
  • Understand how to develop new helping relationships through digital health technologies

Week 4: How to Develop a Digital Peer Support Platform

  • Understand the software development lifecycle
  • Discern appropriate user-centered design techniques based on population
  • Comprehend technology challenges and successes in achieving health equity through digital peer support technology design


Substance use peer support specialists, recovery coaches, and recovery service providers located in HHS Region 3 (Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia)


  • Attend a live 1-hour Orientation Session on Tuesday, August 30, 2022 at 11:00 am Mountain/12:00 pm Central
  • Commit to 4-weeks of training for 1.5 hours weekly from November 23-December 14, 2021
  • Complete weekly self-study learning activities
  • Access to appropriate technology to utilize Zoom videoconferencing platform (i.e., an internet connection, webcam, computer/laptop/tablet, speakers, and microphone)
  • Be prepared and actively engage while on camera during the scheduled series time


  • Karen L. Fortuna, PhD, LICSW
  • Robert Walker, MS, COAPS


The first 40 registrants will receive a waiver that covers the entire $350 cost of participation. Once the 40 spots have been filled, registration will be closed. Due to limited enrollment, if you cannot commit to the full requirements, please defer this opportunity to others.

Note: Registrants enrolled in this series are expected to attend the orientation and Week 1 sessions. If you cannot attend these sessions, you will forfeit your attendance. In addition, it is expected that participants will have access to the appropriate technology by March 7 to be able fully participate and be on camera during the session. This is not a webinar series and active participation is required to gain/improve skills.


The series has been approved for a total of 11 contact hours (10-hours content instruction and 1-hour orientation session). No credit will be awarded for non-attendance or partial attendance. The knowledge and skills learned should be applied within the framework of any applicable operating and/or credentialing regulations in your state of practice.


Please contact NFARtec Staff at or by phone at 775-784-6265.

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