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We are so thankful to our Founder, Corinna West


Corinna West is a national leader in the Recovery Movement and winner of the 2013 Judi Chamberlin “Joy In Advocacy” award from the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery. An American retired judoka and Olympian she competed in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and was named Outstanding Female Competitor in the US Judo Associations Hall of Fame. Her work on the Creating Community Solutions National Mental health dialogue project helped Kansas City to be the only city of over 300 cities to include psychiatric survivors substantially in their steering committee.


She is the founder of Poetry for Personal Power, the largest peer-run or behavioral health patient-advocacy organization in the Midwest. Poetry for Personal Power has an annual budget of $125,000, 6 staff members, 13 board members, and 74 sponsored artist/advocates. She has successfully supported over 263 Healthcare messaging events, including CER research comparing trauma messaging to resilience-based prevention



Poetry for Personal Power supports artist/advocate entrepreneurs, with outcomes showing that sponsored artists and advocates increase median income from $250 per year to $2500 per year. Artist/advocates showed a 10-15% increase in artist marketing tools, and a 10-20% increase in business-related financial management tools.


Corinna has participated in a Kansas CER tobacco dependence treatment research project. She completed community needs assessment projects with 548 young adults in Colorado and secured SAMHSA funding for CER work related to social inclusion, poetry, and young adults. She has published research on pharmaceutical drug development and on mental health stakeholder engagement.


She has an MS in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, is a Certified Peer Specialist, and is a survivor of 12 psychiatric diagnoses. Read her testimony about finding personal power in her 2016 interview with Psychology Today. 

In 2019, before her departure, founder Corinna West said, "I did what I set out to do. I build a million-dollar company despite lots of obstacles and adversity. I did this while recovering from brain injury, in bed at many times, through the opposition of many in the industry, and now we have 12 employees. We have done this with poetry and advocacy, two fields that rarely bring in revenue, let alone a million dollars of lifetime agency revenue. . . . We have a strong business model that is ready to scale up." 

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