PEER Services Names Behavioral Health Advocate Maureen McDonnell as Executive Director

For immediate release.
Contact: 847-492-1778

Evanston, IL (June 6, 2017) – PEER Services has announced the appointment of Maureen McDonnell as Executive Director. For over 25 years, McDonnell has been a passionate advocate for the health, needs, and rights of vulnerable populations including people with mental illness and substance use disorders. PEER Services provides substance abuse prevention, education, early intervention and outpatient treatment services for adolescents, adults and older adults in northern Cook County.

McDonnell is recognized as a national expert on building bridges between the behavioral health and justice systems, using Medicaid, Medicare and other public health care funding. Her work to align these systems has expanded opportunities for people to access these services instead of being incarcerated and to establish durable recovery in the community.

“The Board of Directors of PEER Services is so pleased to welcome Maureen as PEER’s Executive Director.  Maureen joins PEER Services at a time when the work of PEER has never been more critical to our communities, our clients and their families,” said Monica M. Weed, Chairman of the PEER Services Board of Directors.  “Maureen’s public health expertise, leadership skills and passion for and experience with delivering collaborative services to support those struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues perfectly aligns with PEER Services’ mission.”

Most recently, McDonnell served as National Director for Health Care Initiatives for TASC, Inc. (Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities), which advocates for alternatives to incarceration and community reentry services for people with substance use and mental health disorders, and serves more than 18,000 individuals and families in Illinois each year. Previously, she served as TASC’s Director for Business & Health Care Strategy Development.

During her tenure with TASC, McDonnell designed and implemented a ground-breaking collaboration among the courts, jail, health system, community providers and funders to fully leverage the Affordable Care Act to increase public health and reduce recidivism. Her many other accomplishments include developing innovative interventions that expanded access to Medicaid and health services for individuals at the point of release from Cook County Jail and other jails across the U.S. Through her efforts in designing infrastructure and systems for safe reentry into community services for people leaving jails with mental illness and substance use disorders, more than 150,000 detainees will be impacted annually.

“PEER Services’ strong reputation for high-quality services to people with substance use disorders results from the tireless efforts of the Board and staff to build and sustain a vital community organization over the past 40 years. I am honored to be joining this strong team as we build toward a vibrant future,” says McDonnell.

McDonnell is the author of numerous articles and policy papers that have formed the foundation for key policy changes and programs at the state-wide and national levels.  She has presented at more than 50 national, state and local conferences and planning sessions about leveraging the Affordable Care Act to accomplish justice reform.

McDonnell received a Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health.

She will join PEER Services as its Executive Director on June 12, 2017.

PEER Services’ mission is to eliminate substance use and the problems it causes for individuals, families, and communities through collaborative, high-quality prevention and treatment services. Since 1975, PEER Services has provided community-based substance abuse prevention and treatment services to the residents of Evanston, Northfield, New Trier, Maine and Niles Townships, and the north side of Chicago. For more information, visit

PEER Services engaged Kittleman & Associates to conduct a search for a new Executive Director. Kittleman & Associates is a Chicago-based national executive search firm that specializes in the recruitment of CEOs for tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, public charities and philanthropic organizations. For more information, visit