Recap: One Community in Recovery Conference Highlights and Awards

The Annual NC “One Community in Recovery” Conference is an annual event organized by a dedicated statewide committee of behavioral health providers and advocates, many of whom bring personal experiences of recovery from mental health and substance use challenges.

Taking place from March 6-8, 2024, this year's conference brought together over 200 participants to commemorate our 15th anniversary under the theme “The Power of Community: Together Towards Recovery.”

At the pre-conference workshop, Michael Hayes, the Founder and Executive Director of Umoja Health, Wellness, and Justice Collective, shared insights on “Equitable Recovery through the Lens of Cultural Humility.”


Among the highlights of the conference were 20 engaging breakout sessions, complemented by insightful keynote presentations from renowned figures in the field:

  • Wes Rider, a dedicated recovery champion and advocate for recovery-oriented initiatives and consumer-run service programs
  • Laurie Johnson-Wade, the Co-Founding Director of the esteemed Lost Dreams Awakening Recovery Community Organization

These keynote speakers brought valuable perspectives and expertise to the conference, enriching the overall experience for all attendees.


Attendees raved about their experience at the One Community Conference, sharing their thoughts and reflections on the impactful event:

  • The conference was very informative and motivational for me. I set new goals and plan new networking adventures
  • One of the BEST conferences I have attended, Topics were Great, presenters were knowledgeable and inspirational
  • I loved the conference and learned a lot of new things I can share with my community
  • I have been recommending this conference to colleagues and plan to attend again


Congrats to our Recovery Champion Award Recipients:

  • Wes Rider - Eastern Region
  • Contessa Smith - Central Region
  • Sue Polston - Western Region
  • David Curtis – Youth/Young Adult Voice Award


Check out photos from the event:

Contessa Smith
Contessa Smith accepts the Recovery Champion Award for Central North Carolina

David Curtis
David Curtis accepts the Youth/Young Adult Voice Award

Jayvein Greene

2023 Youth/Young Adult Award Recipient Jayvein Greene presents a breakout session on mental health recovery

Sue Polston and Tanasia Boyd

Sue Polston accepts the Recovery Champion Award for Western North Carolina from Tanasia Boyd

Wes Rider-1

Wes Rider, recipient of the Recovery Champion Award for Eastern North Carolina presents opening keynote address

Keawe Bone

Keawe Bone presents session on Traditional Ecological and Indigenous Knowledge Systems


Save The Date card isolated on white background








Who Should Attend?

Group therapy in session sitting in a circle in a bright roomWe warmly invite all individuals involved in any aspect of recovery and resiliency around mental health and substance use disorders. This conference will be beneficial to addictions specialists, administrators, advocates, allies, counselors, educators, family members, individuals with lived experience, marriage and family therapists, peer support specialists, policy makers, psychologists, social workers, and other health and human service professionals interested in recovery.



As part of its commitment to diversity and inclusion, the Northwest AHEC and Wake Forest Baptist Health provide compassionate education and respectful care for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.


One Community in Recovery Conference is provided by Northwest Area Health Education Center (AHEC), a program of Wake Forest University School of Medicine and part of the NC AHEC System, with support from the NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services and the UNC School of Social Work Behavioral Health Springboard. This program is funded in part by the SAMHSA Community Mental Health Services Block Grant.


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