Program for Supportive Healthcare


The mission of the Program for Supportive Healthcare at Jefferson is to improve healthcare in partnership with people experiencing serious mental illnesses (SMI) and substance use disorders (SUD). Our focus is on developing and testing new models of care and educating healthcare professionals to deliver better healthcare and to improve health and well-being.


Our vision is a healthcare system that works for everyone!

What is Supportive Health Care?

We developed the concept of supportive healthcare to describe a range of approaches to support people with mental illness and substance use disorders to access the healthcare they need to achieve their own health and recovery goals. Supported healthcare is grounded in primary care and helps people to access care throughout the healthcare system. Supportive healthcare works to adapt the healthcare system to the person’s needs rather than the other way around. This model works to develop services and treatment approaches that consider a person’s needs holistically and recognizes that health issues may need coordinated efforts across multiple systems of care in order to improve health outcomes.

Supportive healthcare mirrors the approach of other evidence-based practices that help people with disabilities to thrive in their communities: supportive housing and supportive employment. 

  • Supportive housing links affordable, community-based housing with flexible, voluntary support services to help the individual people experiencing homelessness, as well as other people with disabilities, live in the community. (USICH)
  • Supported employment helps people with co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders participate in the competitive labor market through helping people find meaningful jobs and providing ongoing support at the level of professional help they need. (SAMHSA, Bond et al 2001)

Our Team


    Lara Carson Weinstein, MD, MPH, DrPH (Co-Lead) is a family physician, addiction medicine specialist, and public health researcher working to realizing health equity in partnership with people experiencing psychiatric disabilities, substance use disorders, and complex chronic disease. As an Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, she provides clinical care through the Project HOME Health Services (PHHS) Federally Qualified Health Center at the PHHS Pathways to Housing PA satellite, where she is the Director of Integrated Care and Research for the Pathways to Housing PA Housing First organization. Her work is done in collaboration with two nationally recognized community organizations in Philadelphia, Pathways to Housing PA and Project HOME that provide permanent supported housing for people with experiences of homelessness and serious mental illness and substance use disorders.

    Erin L. Kelly, PhD (Co-Lead) is a research psychologist who primarily focuses on addressing health disparities for individuals with serious mental illnesses. Using stakeholder-driven methods, she is currently working on projects related to co-occurring disorders, community integration, healthcare access, management of medical conditions, and the impacts of victimizations, violence, and stigma on care among those with mental health issues.

Affiliated Faculty

Megan K. Reed, MPH, PhD
Randa Sifri, MD
Amy Cunningham, PhD, MPH
Kristin Rising, MD, MSHP
Diane Abatemarco, PhD, MSW
Robert Sterling, PhD
Anna Marie Chang, MD
Brooke Worster, MD, FACP


HRSA T32 Jefferson Mental Illness, Addiction, & Primary Care (JeffMAP) Fellowship - This collaborative, multi-department and interdisciplinary training program will prepare 10 exceptional post-doctoral trainees to cultivate research projects in areas of urgent need in our region and nationally. This project will focus on addressing the closely interrelated priorities of ending the crisis of opioid use disorders and improving mental health access and care in integrated primary care and behavioral health settings.

Addiction Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine Fellowships - The Addiction Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine fellowships at Sidney Kimmel Medical College provide an opportunity to train in an environment known for clinical excellence, innovative community-based research, and a commitment to improving the experience of care for highly stigmatized populations.

Harm Reduction

Harm reduction is an evidenced-based, practical approach to reducing the negative personal and public health consequences of drug use.  However, staff in healthcare settings often struggle to openly discuss drug use with patients. The Introduction to Harm Reduction in Healthcare Video Series demonstrates practical strategies to support the health of people who use drugs.  Grounded in the belief that healthcare is a human right, this series supports our vision of a healthcare system that works for everyone!

Core Research Initiatives

  • Integrated primary and behavioral health care within supportive housing for people with SMI and/or SUD
  • Low-barrier primary care and treatment for people with opioid use disorders
  • Harm reduction and drug-checking for people who use drugs (PWUD)
  • Peer navigation
  • Supporting caregivers
  • Stake-holder defined definitions of recovery
  • Community integration and social networks
  • Improvement of medical education to address care of vulnerable populations

Our Community Partners