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Award winners stay client-focused

July 15, 2011
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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My annual reminder of all the innovative clinical work being done in addiction treatment organizations, through reading the nominations for our Outstanding Clinicians Awards, serves as one of the most satisfying aspects of editing this magazine. In reviewing the 92 nominations we received in our three award categories this year, I was particularly struck by how the field's exemplary professionals refuse to let any roadblocks or gloomy predictions about the future diminish their task at hand.

The leaders profiled in our cover story-Kristina Gray, Kerry Black and Michael Miller, MD-all have maintained an unwavering focus on the patient, even as their job responsibilities occasionally pull them in different directions.

What also is noteworthy about these three individuals' exemplary work in addiction treatment is that it takes place in settings outside of the freestanding, unaffiliated addiction treatment center we often think of as the paradigm. People with substance use issues are being reached in numerous healthcare environments these days-even, judging from our counselor honoree, in a state government system that might not initially come to mind for many.

Another commonality that caught my attention is that for the two honorees with authoritative titles, they do not overplay their role either clinically or administratively. In my interviews, both Black and Miller used the term “facilitator” to describe their work with clients and colleagues. Not getting caught up in one's own status appears to carry great importance in maintaining balance in one's life and in avoiding burnout.

As Miller told me about his function, “It's a tremendous privilege to be a physician. We're talking to people about their lives, about their soul. As you see recovery happen, you experience the mystery of it all.”

I invite you to read the summaries of our honorees' work and to continue to celebrate the achievements of those who are making your own organizations successful.

This issue of Addiction Professional features extensive coverage related to the upcoming National Conference on Addiction Disorders (NCAD 11), to be held Sept. 17-21 in San Diego. Besides the profiles of the Outstanding Clinicians Award winners, we feature articles from and about two presenters at NCAD: Addiction Professional editorial advisory board member Joe Amico and his look at complex diagnoses in gay male clients, and Daniel Amen and his goals for expanding the use of neuroimaging as a treatment tool.

We also highlight in this issue NAADAC president Don Osborn's historical perspective on professional credentialing and what he sees in store for tying training to professional licensure.

All of these topics will be addressed at NCAD, which has become a vibrant forum that convenes key national associations and leaders from a number of disciplines involved in addiction treatment. Visit for a full description of conference highlights and key sessions. I look forward to seeing many of you in San Diego.

Gary A. Enos, Editor Addiction Professional 2011 July-August;9(4):12