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The Essential Role of Treatment Leadership through the Pandemic and Beyond

“Stay open and stay safe” was the message we delivered to treatment program leadership in the spring and summer of 2020 as the pandemic surged into our treatment programs and our lives. It was a good message but far easier said than done. It was the challenge of treatment leadership, and it was met with wisdom, courage, and resilience by NAATP members. You did stay open and safe, you made painful choices, you held up staff, and you continued to deliver lifesaving care through the visioning of effective administrative and clinical adjustments.

It is hard to imagine a more difficult time for leadership in our treatment program history. Concurrently, people got sicker. Those who needed care tended to shy from it while isolation and trauma grew an already tragic addiction crisis with increased use and overdose fatalities. While facing all of this, you also stayed together. NAATP membership did not decrease. To the contrary, we, as a professional society, recognized the need for community and collective voice at the very time community and collective voice were and remain sorely lacking in our larger culture. NAATP membership rose to all-time highs during this period as we worked together to deliver and share the support members needed. 

Leadership is essential.

Here at NAATP, The Association is governed by leaders: a volunteer board of directors that provides indispensable support and guidance for the association and the field at large. The role of these directors is to ensure the operational competence of the association and provide the vision that produces high quality care now and into the future. As NAATP enters its fifth decade of service, at a time when leadership and vision are critical, it is important to acknowledge the service these leaders provide.

I am grateful to all our directors who, despite the challenges of holding up their own programs during this crisis, never wavered in their commitment to NAATP. Within our board, our officers play a particularly busy role. John Driscoll, our outgoing board chair, provided exemplary service during the past two unprecedented years. John’s steadiness, vision, devotion, and support enabled the association to not only thrive but to provide our members with much needed support. We are grateful to Art VanDivier who completed his tenure on the executive committee during this time, having served in multiple roles including board chair. Now, as we move into the next phase of our work, it is my pleasure to welcome our new board chair, Bob Ferguson. Bob has served the association as a board member, board secretary, board vice chair, foundation campaign chair, and now becomes our board of director’s chair. Bob is a highly motivated, inspiring, a visible ambassador for the association, and an effective advocate for treatment and recovery at large. We will be well-served by his leadership. 

See the Entire NAATP Board of Directors

We also thank our outgoing board members. These leaders served NAATP well and have worked to sustain and improve our service over many years. We owe them all a debt of gratitude.

Thank you for your completed service!

Our role at NAATP is to provide the field with resources, convene the field for education, training, and collaboration, promote our members as quality operators, produce collective public policy advocacy, and develop and sustain addiction treatment as essential health care. It is a tall order and one that we embrace. Leadership remains paramount in that process and leadership is not static. As we thank our outgoing and current leadership, we also know that fresh leadership, the next generations, must be developed. We are always leading.

Please join us in this process as we convene for the first time in over two years for the NAATP 42nd National Addiction Leadership Conference in Denver this December.

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