Program for Recovery Research

The Program for Recovery Research (“PRR”) is a new program of the Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center and the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Department of Psychiatry. Our mission is to:

Conduct and support person-driven mental health recovery research using community-based participatory action approaches

Projects & Publications

While the term "recovery" in relation to mental health and illness has a broad application, our research focuses on two broad questions:

    • Recovering: What are the internal (e.g., self-efficacy) and external (e.g., services, supports) factors that help people diagnosed with a serious mental health condition to engage in a recovery process and ultimately recover?
    • Empowerment: How does the active participation of people diagnosed with serious mental conditions in making personal life choices and in helping other people impact their own personal well-being and the quality of their care?

This includes participation in:

            • Treatment decisions
            • Peer support work
            • Health care program development
            • Research
            • Community life


Recovery research at this program is broadly characterized as research on:

  • Personal recovery and theory development
  • Patient empowerment and activation
  • Self-directed care
  • Peer services
    • Peer run
    • Peer supports
  • Recovery measures and measurement
  • Participation Action Research
  • Recovery in clinical and integrated services

For more information, please contact:

Jonathan Delman, PhD, JD, MPH, Director
Assistant Research Professor, Department of Psychiatry
Phone: 617-877-4148


A note on language:

We support SAMHSA’s broadly defined multidimensional working definition of Recovery, largely based on guiding principles. In brief summary: “A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”

"Recovery" as an outcome has been defined in a variety of ways in the literature, from symptom reduction/alleviation to finding a meaningful role in life; we respect this breadth and look forward to working with others to bring some rigor to the study of recovery outcomes.

"Recovery oriented" is a term used to describe the attributes of a service and support "system" that supports recovery. ” The description and scope of “recovery-orientation” has been addressed from various perspectives in the literature. A leader in defining this area is the SAMHSA Recovery To Practice Initiative.


Latest News

-Psychosocial Interventions for Mental and Substance Use Disorders: A Framework for Establishing Evidence-Based Standards
Jonathan Delman, PhD, JD, MPH worked on an Institute of Medicine committee that just released a report on Developing Evidence-Based Standards for Psychosocial Interventions for Mental Disorders. Download the report 

- Final Outcomes Report: Recovery Learning Communities Outcomes Study

-Recently the Wall Street Journal published an editorial in their review and outlook section criticizing SAMHSA for undermining the treatment of the mentally ill. We invite you to read the Wall Street Journal article and then read the Morning Zen post from Guest contributor Jonathan Delman.

-Jonathan Delman is an advisor to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) on the development of a global recovery measurement tool

-Jonathan Delman was a panelist is the recent SAMHSA/NIH podcast: New Trends and Implications: Discoveries and Developments in Behavioral Health, where he discusses his own recovery perspective, and the importance of participatory action research, social integration, the consumer movement, and the mind-body

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