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HST student George Chao and Team RecoverWe win CAMTech Community Empowerment Award

Monday, February 11, 2019

By Wendy Lin

The Empire State Opioid Innovation Challenge (consisting of the Challenge Summit and Solution Sprint) took place in September 2018. Ninety days later, CAMTech hosted Demo Day in New York City to allow teams to present their progress and compete for a $10K prize plus acceleration support. George Chao, HST MEMP PhD student, was a member of Team RecoverWe, which won the Community Empowerment Award. In addition to the prize, the team will receive six months of support from the CAMTech Accelerator Program.

RecoverWe connects people looking for addiction help online with peer navigators that have personal experience with substance use recovery. Seekers can access the platform directly or be referred if a partnered search algorithm detects that they may benefit from addiction help. The team plans to recruit and train peer navigators to provide 24/7 coverage, eventually responding to queries in real time.

George Chao has been working with a team comprised of recovery peers, clinicians, public health professionals, and engineers in order to build the peer navigator network in Monroe County, NY. Looking ahead to a county-wide pilot, the team is looking for financial or in-kind partnerships to help with online referral, technology building, and logistics.

"We had the opportunity to speak at length with the recovery community to understand what they've observed to be the most impactful during the recovery journey,” said Chao.

“'Peer support' and 'timing' were two concepts we heard repeatedly. We are building our platform around these two pillars in the hopes of creating something that tangibly supports and encourages people in recovery and their families."

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