Peer Mentor


What Is the Peer Mentor Program?

Posted By Cris Mix, OTR/L


The Henry B. Betts LIFE Center's peer mentor program is one way Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is committed to empowering patients by encouraging them to partner with their healthcare team to make the best choices for themselves and their families.

Who Are Peer Mentors?

Our more than 35 amazing peer mentors include individuals with a diverse range of conditions, backgrounds and experiences. Peer mentors include former patients, family members and caregivers who are equipped to share their experiences and help current patients and families achieve post-rehabilitation success.

How Will I Get Paired with a Peer Mentor?

A Peer Mentor Coordinator or other member of the LIFE Center team will help you find a peer mentor who has a similar condition, age and lifestyle as you.

What Can I Talk to a Peer Mentor About?

Anything! Peer mentors have special training to provide their own lived perspectives, insights and support, while incorporating a patient-centered approach. You and your family family members are encouraged to ask about your most pressing concerns. The list is endless and frequent discussed topics include:

  • Being your own advocate.
  • Building and sustaining relationships.
  • Coping and adjusting.
  • Getting around and accessibility.
  • Managing care, equipment and activities of daily living.
  • Quality of life.
  • Staying active.
  • Transitioning to the community.

How Can I Connect with a Peer Mentor?

In addition to individual meetings between peer mentors, patients and support team, you also may see a peer mentor in patient education sessions, group education, peer panels and special events. 

Has the Peer Mentor Program Changed Because of COVID-19 Precautions?

Great news! The LIFE Center was able to transition the peer mentor program to virtual and remote platforms such as WebEx, teleconferencing and phone calls. The great benefit and silver lining of this expanded use of technology is that everyone can connect from wherever they are while maintaining their safety across all the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab levels of care.

As of recent, the program is resuming in person visits upon completing hospital COVID requirements in addition to continuing virtual and remote connections.

How Can I Connect with a Peer Mentor?

If you are interested in being paired with a peer mentor, contact Cris Mix, OTR/L, Education Program Manager and Peer Mentor Coordinator, Henry B. Betts LIFE Center, at 312.238.6230 or email *, attention to


Cris Mix, OTR/L, Education Program Manager and Peer Mentor Coordinator at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Henry B. Betts LIFE Center, is an occupational therapist with 30-plus years of experience in pediatrics, physical rehabilitation, spinal cord injury, brain injury and family education. She coordinates the Peer Mentor program for patients, families and staff across the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab systems of care.

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