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Alumni coordinators' group continues to gain momentum

August 12, 2010
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Some members will hold a facilitated session at next month’s NCAD conference

The alumni coordinator who launched an effort to establish an association of professionals who work with treatment programs’ graduates says it is clear to her that more treatment centers are seeing outreach to alumni as central to their service mission and business model. The fledgling Treatment Professionals in Alumni Development (TPAD) already has about 75 members representing 60 treatment centers, and next month some members will participate in a facilitated meeting at the National Conference on Addiction Disorders (NCAD) in Washington, D.C.

“It seems like I’m getting more calls from people saying, ‘We now have someone full-time in this role,’” says Lorie Obernauer, alumni coordinator at the Center for Dependency, Addiction and Rehabilitation (CeDAR) at the University of Colorado Hospital. “They are recognizing that this is an important full-time position.” This remains a prominent issue as many treatment centers continue to take criticism for delivering care in an episodic fashion that has not often emphasized ongoing post-treatment monitoring.

Sherri Layton, outpatient services administrator at the La Hacienda treatment center in Texas, is scheduled to facilitate a TPAD meeting on Sept. 9 as part of the Sept. 8-11 NCAD conference. NCAD is being produced by Vendome Group, publisher of Addiction Professional, as an event combining treatment, administration, design, technology and other information for addiction professionals. For more information about the conference, visit www.ncad10.com.

Obernauer says that the formal meeting is designed both to attract new members and formalize a strategy for next steps for the organization. The group could move in several possible directions, from building a Web site and a resource guide to possibly forming a broad network that would assist alumni in regions of the country where none of their fellow program graduates reside, Obernauer says.

Another area that the group is likely to tackle involves promoting research into how treatment programs stay in touch with alumni and which of their efforts appear to be most effective in promoting long-term recovery. Obernauer sees these as important initiatives for the treatment community. “This is about the future of our businesses,” she says.

Similar meetings to the facilitated session at NCAD are also planned for two other September conferences: the Cape Cod Symposium on Addictive Disorders and Foundations Associates’ “The Moment of Change” intervention conference.

For more information about TPAD, contact Lorie Obernauer at (303) 854-4087 or Lorie.Obernauer@uch.edu.

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