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Positioned in Purpose and Potential

October 5, 2011
by Don P. Osborn, MS, MA, MAC, LMHC, President of NAADAC
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A Busy First Year, With More in Store
Don P. Osborn, MS, MA, MAC, LMHC, President of NAADAC
Don P. Osborn, MS, MA, MAC, LMHC, President of NAADAC

NAADAC and its members are positioned in purpose and potential. I believe that the major responsibility of leadership in an organization is to be perceptive of changes that can impact the purpose of the organization, and its members. From that point leadership informs its members and provides guidance to transition to maximize potential. Leadership is visionary, not reactionary, nor should it be to accept the maintenance of the status quo.

A Plan Implemented of ‘Let's Build Upon a Heritage and Leave a Legacy’

When I became President-Elect, I shared with the Board of Directors and members a plan for the growth of NAADAC and the profession. That plan was endorsed, and the first phase of the plan has been implemented during this past year. It is my pleasure to highlight the process and accomplishments of the past year, along with individuals and entities who were integral in the process.

Organizational Efficiency

With the transition that Immediate Past President Patricia Greer helped bring about, within days I was able to begin the process of assessing the financial and business “health” of NAADAC and its day to day operations. The poor economy was affecting our members and NAADAC. The Executive Committee (EC) was informed of NAADAC's financial status and moved to further evaluate several aspects of the organization. As a part of this review, NAADAC staff were given a temporary salary decrease. The staff of NAADAC are the core of not only what NAADAC is but NAADAC's existence. The EC and I commend and acknowledge their sacrifice.

This summer, an annual audit is being completed and NAADAC policies and procedures, holdings, grants and contracts are being re-evaluated to ensure ongoing accountability to our members. NAADAC will continue to be mindful of business practices, policies and finances.

Commission and Committee Efforts: Innovation, Transparency and Commitment

The National Certification Commission (NCC), chaired by Jim Holder and supported by Director of Certification and Education Shirley Beckett Mikell, has evaluated internal operations and the needs of the profession and is focused on bringing greater exposure to the NCC, and on being more distinct in the NCC's identification in the addiction profession.

Last year the NAADAC Board of Directors (BOD) voted to maintain the collaborative relationship of NAADAC and the NCC and to review the corporate and financial relationship. Other initiatives are in process and will be revealed when they are completed.

I have asked that the Ethics Committee place findings of ethics board cases in NAADAC publications. The name of the person and NAADAC ethics citation will be made public with the final ruling of the Ethics Committee. This is in keeping with openness to the addiction and allied professions of internal and external accountability.

I am grateful for those who have accepted to chair the other distinctive NAADAC committees. Each committee endeavors to work toward the purpose and potential of NAADAC and will inform members in their committee reports at the conference in the BOD meeting.

Pathway to a Profession

A process initiated as an educational grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) came to fruition in 2010 with the development of a nationally standardized curriculum and the creation of the National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission (NASAC) to help accredit addiction studies programs in higher education. I was happy to Chair the committee that began this process and lead a group of more than 20 stakeholders as the process progressed. The NASAC will help ensure that the profession has a foundation of a nationally standardized curriculum, scope of practice and career ladder, clearly demonstrating to professionals and aspiring professionals how they can advance in the profession.

Collaboration and Partnership

NAADAC has continued to work toward strengthening the organization, members and the profession with like-minded stakeholders in addictions. To ensure that the Association's time and monies are not wasted, a business standard must guide all collaboration. Because of the history of NAADAC, other entities have in recent months sought to collaborate, or join with NAADAC in the goals and initiatives. Most notable are efforts with stakeholders such as the Addiction Technology Transfer Centers (ATTCs); NALGAP, The Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Addiction Professionals and Their Allies, the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP), Hazelden, Vendome Group, and the resulting association with the International Coalition for Addiction Studies Education (INCASE). Future collaborations will be announced in the upcoming year.

Current and Continuing Initiatives

I have had the opportunity to talk with past and current national and state affiliate leaders. Their counsel has been welcomed and has led to several Presidential Initiatives in the form of Executive Briefs designed to enhance what NAADAC does, resolve problems or add new components to NAADAC. Some of the Presidential Initiatives have included establishing an In Memoriam at our national conference to recognize NAADAC members who have died during the past year; establishing a Council of Past Presidents to engage past NAADAC leaders and tap into their vast wealth of knowledge; and organizing a March to Membership campaign to focus on special projects and activities that will be taken on by affiliates to increase and retain membership in the month of March.