The Recovery Education in the Academy Program: Transforming Academic Curricula With the Principles of Recovery and Self-Determination

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Topic: This article describes a curricular transformation initiative, the Recovery Education in the Academy Program (REAP), spearheaded by the University of Illinois at Chicago's National Research and Training Center on Psychiatric Disability. Purpose: REAP is designed to integrate principles of recovery, self-determination, and other evidence-based practices for people with psychiatric disabilities into medical, social, and behavioral sciences curricula. The principles on which the curricula transformation efforts are based, the instructional activities employed, early outcomes of the endeavor, and future plans for replication are delineated. Sources used: As described in this paper, REAP builds on a theoretical framework derived from the evidence-based literature, multiple technical reports, and curricular initiatives, including the Institute of Medicine, the Annapolis Coalition for Behavioral Workforce Development, and the Final Report of President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. Conclusions: REAP has delivered state-of-the-science education to over 1,000 trainees, including medical students, psychiatry residents, psychology and social work interns, and rehabilitation counselors, pre/post-doctoral students and professionals within a variety of academic settings. REAP serves as a replicable structure to successfully integrate recovery education into existing, accredited academic programs and curricula using the parameters outlined by multiple experts and stakeholders. Barriers to curricular transformation and strategies to overcome these barriers are highlighted.