Many individuals are turning to negative coping methods in an effort to manage mental health issues triggered or aggravated by the ongoing pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic. Collaboration among health care and community partners is an essential element for addressing substance use and promoting recovery.
The Great Plains Quality Innovation Network is working to advance behavioral health access initiatives and decrease substance and opioid misuse. Custer Health and Project Recovery will share best practices for expanding access to behavioral health and substance use recovery services using innovative programs and approaches.
- Explore implementation of telehealth to increase access to behavioral health services
- Explain the benefits of medication assisted treatment for addiction recovery
- Discuss impact of COVID-19 and needle exchange program adaptations
- Describe the Good Neighbor Project and the process for enrollment
Project Recovery is an organization in Rapid City SD. The mission is to provide high-quality, affordable, medication assisted treatment with low barriers to access and a harm reduction philosophy.
The Good Neighbor Project (GNP) is North Dakota’s first syringe exchange program. People who inject drugs and enroll in the GNP are offered many services including HIV/Hep C testing, harm reduction, education, clean supplies and referrals.
Jennifer Pelster RN, BSN
Custer Health | The Good Neighbor Project
Stephen Tamang, MD
Family Physician | Project Recovery
Pelster was born and raised in ND. She graduated from the University of Mary with her BSN in 2008. She has a background in Correctional Nursing, working at the ND State Penitentiary, ND Youth Correctional Center and ND jails. Through these experiences, she developed a passion for HIV/Hepatitis C/STD testing and counseling. This helped her to recognize the increasing need for a syringe service/exchange program. She has been a Public Health Nurse with Custer Health in Mandan ND since 2013. She helped get the Good Neighbor Project started in 2018, which was the first syringe exchange program in ND.
Dr. Tamang practices modern primary care medicine with an emphasis on cancer and cardiovascular disease prevention as well as improved human performance, both physical and mental. In addition to modern medicines, Dr. Tamang focuses on evidence-based nutrition and lifestyle modifications. He is certified to prescribe Suboxone, the most common drug used in medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction. Helping patients who struggle with opioid addiction is one of his professional passions. In his spare time, Dr. Tamang enjoys local triathlons, marathons and anything active.