TRANSCOM: Peer Workforce Policy

Transcom is a subcommittee of the Massachusetts State Mental Health Planning Council

Recent Publications

Transcom Brief: Peer Recovery Coaches (May 2018)

Transcom: Establishing a Strong Peer Support Workforce in Massachusetts (December 2017)

About Transcom

Transcom is a broad-based collaboration of various stakeholders from the mental health and drug use areas devoted to developing consensus and strengthening person-centered, long-term recovery supports across the Commonwealth.

Transcom found that the most successful way for accomplishing these goals is to integrate peer support positions and peer-operated programs as integrated and valued components of the workforce.

Transcom has played a key role in the establishment of most of the peer support workforce that exists now in Massachusetts.

Clinical and other community-based services, peer-run services, and inpatient care are now all part of this rapidly expanding workforce.

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Priority Goals

1) Support, safeguard & expand peer specialists, peer workers, and peer-run programs.

2) Promote information, education and training on innovative recovery practices.

3) Advocate for funding for peer workers and innovative recovery oriented services.


Transcom (Transformation Committee) was established in November 2004 to support the Massachusetts’ Center for Medicaid Services Mental Health Systems Transformation Grant. The grant was completed in 2007, but Transcom members continue to meet monthly to focus on priority goals through lively discussion and short-term work groups. Transcom is committed to person-driven practices and policies that bring the voice of people with mental health, trauma and addiction recovery needs to bear on statewide policy issues.

Overview of Progress on Mental Health Peer Roles 

Brief overview of documents and activities to support the integrity, implementation and funding of peer workers in Massachusetts, features the work of Transcom.  

Transcom Publications

December 2017: Establishing a Strong Peer Support Workforce in Massachusetts

Transcom‘s appeal to policy leaders and funders affirming the importance of the Peer Support workforce for mental health and substance use systems. This is a call for action to ensure fidelity to the role in accordance with the values, principles and conduct detailed in national guidelines and codes of ethics recognized in Massachusetts.

April 2014: Massachusetts Peer Professional Workforce Development Guidelines

April 2014: Executive Summary

The emergence of peer roles in healthcare has been accompanied by confusion as these roles increase without enough guidance from experts in the field of peer support.   Based on 10 years of broad collaboration and focused inquiry, Transcom offers that guidance to recovery health providers and integrated healthcare systems.   This document includes five elements:

1) A summary of what sets peer support roles apart from other mental health and addiction support roles,

2) Essential practices regarding the effective use of peer professionals and

3) A chart showing the various stages of peer professional development.

Following the chart is:

4) A list of acronyms, trainings, web links and references and

5) The Massachusetts Certified Peer Specialist Code of Ethics.

2013 Revision – Promoting a Culture of Respect

Transcom’s Position Statement on Employee Self-Disclosure in Health and Social Service Workplaces  (originally published 2007, link below)

2012 Update: Status of the Developing Mental Health Peer Workforce in Massachusetts

(originally published 2006, link below)

2012 Update: Executive Summary

Provides new context and recommendations to for those who want to successfully integrate mental health peer specialists into the workforce. Transcom calls for a unified, system-wide, focused and sustained effort to strengthen and protect the integrity of the peer worker role and the success of Certified Peer Specialists (CPSs).

Extensive appendices include: MA Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) Code of Ethics, Brief Literature Review, Massachusetts-Based Studies of Peer Specialists, References,  History of Funding for Peer Support in Massachusetts (chart).

2008 – Peers as Valued Workers

A Massachusetts Roadmap for Successfully Integrating Peer Specialists and Peer Support Workers into the Public Mental Health System

2008 Executive Summary and personal testimony

Transcom’s policy recommendations on hiring and valuing peers in the mental health workforce. The executive summary begins with Transcom’s letter and personal testimony to the Department of Mental Health Commissioner Barbara Leadholm introducing the report.

2007 – Promoting a Culture of Respect:

Transcom’s Position Statement on Employee Self-Disclosure in Mental Health Service Workplaces (Revised 2013, link above)

2006 Position Paper:  Developing a Mental Health Peer Specialist Workforce in Massachusetts

(Revised 2012, link above)

Transcom’s first position paper clarifies the important role peer specialists have as change agents.  Outlines 2006 peer support activities in Massachusetts, the evidence base for peer specialists, challenges and solutions for the successful integration of certified peer specialists and next steps for expanding peer specialists throughout the state.