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NAADAC Honors Professionals

November 17, 2011
by Donovan Kuehn
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Diverse Backgrounds and Programs Honored
Donovan Kuehn, NAADAC Director of Operations and Outreach
Donovan Kuehn, NAADAC Director of Operations and Outreach

Passion, vision and commitment link the 2011 award winners selected by NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals. The recipients of these awards exemplify the qualities held in highest regard by the addiction profession and the community.

The award winners and highlights of their accomplishments are laid out below.

Mel Schulstad Professional of the Year

The Mel Schulstad Professional of the Year award was created in November 1979 and is named after the first President of NAADAC. The award recognizes an individual who has made outstanding and sustained contributions to the advancement of the addiction counseling profession.

Rocio Del Milagro Woody, MSW, is the 2011 Mel Schulstad Professional of the Year. Ms. Woody's primary area of interest in the clinical field is the impact of linguistically appropriate and culturally sensitive health care in the treatment needs of children, adolescent and adult patients suffering from psychiatric disorders. In 1995, she founded the Road to Recovery, Inc., the first fully multilingual and multicultural professional counseling clinical practice for behavioral health and substance abuse services and the only private, minority-owned clinical practice to have been awarded local, state and federal contracts to provide DUI, drug court behavioral health services and psychological counseling for minors.

Woody serves in the Drug Court Advisory Committee of the Georgia Supreme Court, is a member of the Board of Visitors of Grady Health Systems and is on the Advisory Board of the Southeast Addiction Technology Transfer Center at Morehouse School of Medicine. She also serves in the community as a Founder of the International Family Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of domestic abuse in the Latino community, is a former Council Member of the General Consulate of Perú in Miami, Florida, and is the immediate past President of the League of Women Voters of DeKalb County, Georgia. Woody is originally from Lima, Peru. She proudly became a citizen of the United States of America on November 13, 1987.

Lora Roe Memorial Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselor of the Year

This award is presented to a counselor who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession of addiction counseling.

Thomas A. Peltz, CAS, LADC I, has worked in the mental health field as both a counselor and an administrator since 1973. In his private practice in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts, he works with adults, and offers individual, couples and family treatment. Peltz leads group sessions and lectures in the community and has supervised clinical staff and intern students since 1980 in both Massachusetts and Southern Vermont. He has published multiple professional articles, and has been involved with a number of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, SAMHSA Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) publications. His selection as Counselor of the Year was endorsed by many professionals, including David Mee-Lee, MD, Chief Editor of the ASAM Patient Placement Criteria and Senior Vice President for The Change Companies, who stated that the longer clinicians work in the profession the more they can succumb to a “been there, done that” perspective. Peltz stands out because he “has avoided this pitfall and has always demonstrated a professional humility and admirable thirst for improving knowledge and skills in counseling,” Mee-Lee said. These qualities help “explain the clinical excellence he strives for and delivers to the people he serves.”

NAADAC Organizational Achievement Award

Presented to organizations that have demonstrated a strong commitment to the addiction profession and particularly strong support for the individual addiction professional.

The Rutgers University Alcohol & Other Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) in New Jersey is the winner of the 2011 NAADAC Organizational Achievement Award. The program, one of the first in the nation, focuses on building ties with the community and supporting students in the university community. ADAP strengthens these ties by training psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, interns and graduate students both inside and outside of the Rutgers system. In 2011, over 300 individuals were trained. ADAP has helped support recovery housing, with 28 students in New Brunswick and three more in Newark. Students in recovery housing maintain a higher Grade Point Average than the average Rutgers student.

With the support of ADAP, students in the program speak at hospitals, detox centers, rehabs, correction facilities, other universities and high schools. This is done for free, and not part of any other 12-Step work that they do. ADAP also offers free training and advice to other university campuses, either in person, via email or on the phone. As the number of colleges that offer true recovery support services and housing grows, Rutgers stands out as a pioneer.

NAADAC's awards were presented at the 2011 NAADAC national conference held in San Diego, Calif.

Addiction Professional 2011 November-December;9(6):N1