Howie lives in Providence, Rhode Island, and is dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. He has behavioral health conditions that make it difficult for him to make friends in his residential building, often sensing a degree of stigma reflected in people’s faces. Howie has found social acceptance and an escape from his isolation by attending a day program at a wellness and recovery center for people with mental health conditions. “It helps my mood and self-confidence. I made lots of friends, I get free lunch Monday through Friday. In addition, we play games and they have computers for us to learn to navigate the internet. When I attend the center, I feel whole.”

Peer support like that Howie benefits from has been shown to be a positive and effective model in engaging and empowering people to take charge of their lives and to optimize their overall health and  functioning. Howie stated, “We were unhappy when the center's hours were cut back due to lack of funding, and now I get pretty depressed not seeing people at the center as often, and I am sure the others feel the same way.”

The Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation works to promote innovative models of care that devote equal attention and resources to behavioral health as to physical health.

We gratefully acknowledge our partners at the Rhode Island Organizing Project for their assistance in telling Howie's story.

Consumer Stories

The needs and experiences of health care consumers — particularly people in marginalized or low-income communities or with complex needs and significant disabilities — are the driving force of the Center’s work. Documenting and amplifying patients’ real-life health care situations, in their own words, is central to our ability to create a health care system that works for all of us. Click below for stories from some of the consumers we work with.