St. Christopher's Inn Selected to Receive $193,000 Grant and Join Nationwide Learning Collaborative on Substance Abuse Treatment Access & Retention Barriers

Submitted by: 09/20/2003

St. Christopher's Inn, a not-for-profit substance abuse treatment clinic and one of the nation's longest running men's shelters, has been named a national team member of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) Paths to Recovery Learning Collaborative. Out of the 334 substance abuse sites that submitted proposals, only ten organizations from around the country were selected to participate in this unique learning collaborative to address the organizational barriers to substance abuse treatment.

The RWJF grant of $193,234 over an 18-month period will enable St. Christopher's Inn, a ministry of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, to meet with nine well-respected peer agencies, access new approaches, develop new strategies and serve as a model of excellence for programs nationwide. The award recognizes the Inn as being a leading provider in the substance abuse field and its ability to demonstrate innovative change within its own organization.

According to Father Bernie Palka, S.A., President and Chief Executive Officer of St. Christopher's Inn, by working with this ten-agency national team, "we will be able to increase the opportunities to seize the all-too-often fleeting moments when people in crisis are willing to accept help and, once they are here, to prevent them from falling through the cracks."

St. Christopher's Inn Executives, Marianne Taylor Rhoades, Director of Operations, and David Gerber, Administrative Director of Counseling and Shelter Services, lead the 13-member St. Christopher's Inn Paths to Recovery team, which was formed to address innovative approaches to reducing organizational barriers to substance abuse treatment.


Nationally, fewer than one in four people addicted to alcohol or drugs receive treatment, and as many as half of those who do successfully access treatment leave their treatment program before its full benefit can be realized. While finances and readiness are two issues that may prevent someone from entering and/or remaining in a treatment program, often the most significant obstacle is the way in which the services are provided.

The treatment sites selected are leading providers in the field who have been making innovative changes in their own organizations. By redesigning processes such as client intake, assessment, scheduling, outreach, and family involvement, the Paths to Recovery goal is to create a more efficient system that is less frustrating for both clients and staff, and that makes it easier for clients to complete treatment.

St. Christopher's Inn, a ministry of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement located at Graymoor in Garrison, NY, serves more than 1,200 men each year, many of whom are homeless and suffering from drug addiction and/or alcohol abuse. Since the Inn was founded almost 100 years ago by R. Paul Watson, S.A, in 1909, it has offered a combination of spiritual, physical and emotional healing to thousands of men aged 18 years and older, regardless of race, color or creed.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, based in Princeton, N.J., is the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care. It concentrates its grantmaking in four goal areas: to assure that all Americans have access to quality health care at reasonable cost; to improve the quality of care and support for people with chronic health conditions; to promote healthy communities and lifestyles; and to reduce the personal, social and economic harm caused by substance abuse - tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs.

Paths to Recovery is a national initiative of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation designed to strengthen the substance abuse field's ability to significantly and continuously improve the care processes that facilitate patient access to and retention in substance abuse treatment programs. For more information regarding the project and the selected recipients, please visit

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