Holy Family University Awarded Second-Year Grant Extension from the Independence Blue Cross Foundation for Collegiate Recovery Program

Holy Family University has been awarded additional funding from the Independence Blue Cross (IBX) Foundation for its collegiate recovery efforts, in partnership with the Association of Recovery in Higher Education. 

Holy Family University received funding from the Foundation last year to establish the university’s first Collegiate Recovery Program (CRP).  The CRP program is designed to enable recovery for students who are experiencing or believe they may have a substance use disorder, are curious about sobriety, or have someone in their lives who is struggling with these issues. The Collegiate Recovery Program meets throughout each semester.

Holy Family’s CRP is directed by Dr. Patrick McElwaine, a licensed clinical psychologist and professional counselor and director of Holy Family University’s Master of Counseling Psychology program.  Dr. McElwaine, who earned two degrees at Holy Family (’00, ’04), contributed to a blog about CRPs as part of IBX’s Know Your Mind public awareness campaign.  Resources on the Know Your Mind website are designed to provide expert information and resources about the symptoms and treatment of depression and anxiety, mental and behavioral health.  

“We are grateful for the vote of confidence and the support from the IBX Foundation for this important initiative. As someone who has been in recovery for 14 years, I wanted to create a culture and atmosphere at Holy Family University that would normalize recovery,” McElwaine said.  “Two out of five university students could meet the criteria for addiction. Ninety-seven percent of students know someone who is struggling with a substance abuse disorder. I wanted to let students know that it’s okay to not be okay. I want them to know that the support and help are out there for everyone. If you are struggling with opioids, or alcohol, or nicotine, please come. If you are upset by someone in your family who is struggling with addiction, come on in.”

“The absence of recovery programs on college campuses is concerning when we consider the number of young people affected by addiction” said Lorina Marshall-Blake, president of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation. “These programs support students in their recovery or impacted by addiction, so they have the best opportunity to succeed in higher education. That’s why we remain committed to advancing collegiate recovery efforts in our region and the nation. We are proud to support Holy Family and more than a dozen other colleges and universities in our region as they work to help students reach their full potential.”

“We did a lot of student outreach, and our program has received a lot of positive reviews,” said McElwaine, who is currently mentoring a number of other universities with their outreach efforts.  “Our main goal is just to change the culture. I know it takes a lot of courage for students to walk into a meeting. We just want to give our students a safe place to go and talk, and I don’t want to miss a student who might be struggling.  I want them to know that there is support, and we are here to help them in any way that we can, which is also the mission of Holy Family University.”


Jan Giel