An iconic name in the addiction treatment community is officially undergoing a rebranding as of today, but the leaders of the organization emphasize that the move represents no departure from the core values of a nationally renowned facility established 33 years ago. They add that the renaming of Father Martin's Ashley to Ashley Addiction Treatment will go a long way toward preserving the rich legacy of the Maryland center's co-founder, the late Father Joseph Martin.
This morning's official announcement marks the culmination of a deliberative process in which Ashley's executive leadership and board determined that it was important to convey more clearly to the marketplace what the organization does and how. This became especially urgent as the Havre de Grace-based center introduced significant enhancements to its clinical programming in recent months, such as the opening of its Skip's Hall for Integrated Addiction Treatment.
“There was some confusion about our name—it doesn't really identify what we do,” Father Mark Hushen, Ashley's CEO, tells Addiction Professional. “There was even a misconception that because we were Father Martin's Ashley, we were owned and operated by the church,” with many unaware that the center's services incorporate knowledge from numerous approaches ranging from 12-Step to cognitive-behavioral and beyond.
Hushen says the information about the center's public image was first collected anecdotally and then confirmed in market research conducted by an outside firm. The organization has been referred to over the years as several shortened versions of its former name, from “Father Martin's” to simply “Ashley.”
As Father Martin and his famous “Chalk Talk” lectures continue to have a strong presence in homes and treatment centers everywhere to this day, Hushen acknowledges that some outsiders might criticize the name change. But he expects the overall feedback to be positive, and adds that Ashley co-founder Mae Abraham is comfortable with the move (Ashley is Abraham's maiden name, and Abraham still visits the center for a scheduled monthly recounting of its history to the facility's patients).
“This is not jettisoning the original—it's an evolution of it,” Hushen says. He adds in regard to Father Martin, who died in 2009, “He was really humble. He wasn't looking for glory.”
Ashley Addiction Treatment has been active in recent years in expanding the scope and evidence-based foundation of its programming. This has included a well-established and multimodal pain management program and specialized services for young adults. Most recently, Skip's Hall opened on the picturesque Ashley campus overlooking the Chesapeake Bay; it targets patients whose challenges require a multidisciplinary treatment approach. Also, the organization opened its first outpatient treatment site last year.
“As the problem of addiction grows and evolves, standing still is not an option,” Ashley vice president of treatment services Bernadette Solounias, MD, said in a news release announcing the rebranding. “New advances in addiction research bring new reasons for hope. Today we stand at the forefront as an innovator equipped and mobilized to fulfill that promise for the 21st century patient.”
Ashley leaders have suggested that announcements of additional new initiatives will be coming soon.
“The messaging around who we are and what we do needs to catch up to the program development,” says Hushen. He adds that what the organization wants the public to hear is that Ashley's services are governed by three characteristics beginning with the letter “i”: individualized, integrated and innovative.
Hushen added in a quote from today's news release, “Finding high quality addiction treatment can be confusing in today's fragmented marketplace. Our modern brand identity will help us reach more people who need our services than ever before.”
Also as part of the rebranding, Ashley Addiction Treatment has refreshed the design of its traditional leaf wreath logo, now using a vibrant green motif that Hushen says is meant to convey hope and renewal.
The organization also will employ a new tagline, “Everything for recovery because recovery is everything,” which builds on one of Father Martin's basic beliefs. When asked how far one should go to help an alcoholic or addict, Father Martin would reply, “As far as you can and then one step more.”