Elizabeth Hodges Shilling, Alex Wilson, & Nicholle Karim

Using Peer Support in the Hospital

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Elizabeth Hodges Shilling, PhD, LPC, Wake Forest School of Medicine

Dr. Elizabeth Hodges Shilling received her Bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University, her Master of Arts in Counseling degree from Wake Forest University and her PhD in Counseling and Counselor Education from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Dr. Shilling is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at Wake Forest Baptist Health and is the Co-Director of the Addiction Research & Clinical Health Masters of Science Program in the Biomedical Campus of the graduate school at Wake Forest University. Dr. Shilling has over eight years of experience in substance abuse treatment and research and more than nine years of experience in clinical research and graduate level education.

Alex Wilson, CPSS


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Alex Wilson is a Certified Peer Support Specialist, receiving his certification in the state of North Carolina in 2017. Alex has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina and is a United States Navy veteran. Alex uses his more than 6 years of recovery in his role as a Peer Support Specialist at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in several Internal Medicine units where he provides support for patients with substance use disorders.

Nicholle Karim, MSW, Director of Behavioral Health, North Carolina Healthcare Association

Nicholle Karim is the Director of Behavioral Health for the NC Healthcare Association. Nicholle has experience as a licensed clinical social worker providing clinical services for youth and families impacted by behavioral health disorders. Previously Nicholle worked for NAMI North Carolina as their Director of Public Policy and Interim Executive Director.


This session explores the use of Certified Peer Support Specialists (CPSS) within the hospital setting at various points of treatment, from the emergency room to inpatient. Staff from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center will share their experience using CPSS, including outcomes.  In addition, presenters will discuss a current pilot project to imbed CPSS within emergency rooms in six hospitals.

Learning Objectives

  • Attendees will understand how some hospitals are using Peer Support programs in treatment plans.
  • Attendees will learn about a pilot project to imbed Peer Support within emergency rooms
  • Attendees will define the components of successful peer support programs.