Behavioral health research and policy leader Eric Goplerud, PhD, is leaving the field to work more closely on climate change issues, but he says his new role is highly relevant to the addiction and mental health community that he has served for years.
“Extreme weather is likely to have particularly severe impacts on the people served by the behavioral health system,” Goplerud wrote this week in an e-mail announcement of his planned departure from the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago.
He added, “Displacement of people impacted by severe weather and social disruption accompanying extreme weather is already generating climate refugees who are experiencing traumas that will affect the mental health of children and adults. There's much work to do.”
Goplerud, whose roles in the behavioral health field included several leadership positions at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), most recently served as vice president and senior fellow at NORC. The nonprofit's projects in behavioral health included development of a tool with the National Safety Council and Shatterproof to help employers calculate the cost impact of substance use on their workplaces. Goplerud was a presenter on this topic this month at the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta.
In recent years. Goplerud founded the Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions, which has been organizing faith communities to apply their influence toward policy and practice change to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He now will be devoting more time to this effort.
“I'm certain that local action, involving government, business, health care, education, civic groups and private citizens, will be essential,” he wrote.
As of April 27, Goplerud can be reached at email@example.com.
Addiction professionals annually convene at the National Conference on Addiction Disorders to share what’s working: Clinicians hear from thought leaders on delivering treatment, while executives of behavioral healthcare organizations learn how to run more effective, more efficient, and ethically minded businesses.