Feedback Confirms WinR Conference Value
The Center of Alcohol and Substance Use Studies (CAS) held a riveting conference with and for the community on June 10. The event, Supporting the Supporters: Collective Action Through Research and Advocacy, included 70 attendees with a range of experiences and expertise.
This powerful in-person gathering was impactful for attendees. Many people were delighted to gather in-person for the first time, with some Community Advisory Board (CAB) members meeting face-to-face for the first time after more than a year of virtual collaboration. More participants joined virtually to interact via livestream.
WinR CAB Members recognized and awarded for their contributions. Top row (L to R): Peggy Swarbrick, Corey Kuebler, George Brice, Robin Shorter. Bottom row (L to R): Nina Cooperman, Keith Murphy, Denise Hien
Dr. Crystal Brandow presented her poster, Co-Developing a Well-Being Model for Young Black Adults, via laptop stream and was able to have engaging discussions about her pilot study from her home in upstate New York. Jacquese Armstrong, CAB Member (Mississippi) and Wande Ogunkoya, CAB Member (Massachusetts) were able to receive their CAB member awards and recognition via the laptop display and were fully included in the activities of the day.
Dr. Crystal Brandow talking via computer with Scarlett Mera (Rutgers University Behavioral Healthcare) and Mark Duffy (Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey, Inc.) about her poster on the Black Well-Being Model pilot study that she did with Dr. Peggy Swarbrick.
Following the event, the conference organizers received 20 post-event evaluation and satisfaction responses from attendees. The responses received were overwhelmingly positive:
- 85% of the attendees found the information presented in the keynote session to be extremely useful to them.
- 85% found the panel discussion and poster session to convey extremely useful information.
- 75 % felt the poster session was useful and 15 % reported it was moderately useful. One attendee noted that they would’ve “loved more information about or an introduction to the posters,” which the conference organizers also recognized as a future area for improvement to introduce the presenters and encourage discussion.
- 90% noted that the event had adequate time for networking, with only two indicating there was not enough time. Networking, building connections, and engaging in community conversations was a key aim of the WinR Conference.
Conference participants were asked to note the best part of the event for them. The responses were inspiring, with attendees indicating the best part of the event was:
- The Community Advisory Board panel for WinR and the Journey to Wellness project!
- …[That] it felt very safe to share on personal experiences that are not always easy to discuss in a public forum
- The networking, the experiences shared
- Connecting with others who share an authentic commitment to serving those with SUD [substance use disorders]
- Being able to feel included and engaged even while participating remotely. It felt like I was there with everyone, which was incredible!
One attendee noted, “I really enjoyed, respected, and appreciated the entire event! It was very well organized.” It was described as a “magnificent event” and a “truly inspirational day.”
Attendees left the conference wondering how more of these events could be developed and described that they got more than they expected out of the conference. As one attendee remarked, “the work being done is exceptional,” highlighting the need and interest in showcasing community-engaged wellness and recovery projects.
Corey Kuebler (right), CAB Member / Rutgers University Behavioral Healthcare; Dr. Alex Bauer (center), CAS Faculty; and Joshua Crick (left), Rutgers University Behavioral Healthcare.