Joining Forces To Make a Difference
“One of the main reasons I love this conference is the opportunity to network and talk and collaborate with women from all different states,” said Starleen Scott Robbins of North Carolina’s Division of Mental Health and Disabilities Services.
Ms. Robbins joined more than 400 substance abuse counselors, treatment providers, prevention experts, clinicians, and public health educators from 44 states and 3 territories at the Third National Conference on Women, Addiction, and Recovery: Inspiring Leadership, Changing Lives, recently held in Tampa, FL.
Conference cosponsors (l to r): Mark Fontaine, Florida Alcohol and Drug Association; Dr. H. Westley Clark, SAMHSA; Valera Jackson, New Century Institute, Inc.
Plenaries and workshops featured leaders in the field on trauma-informed services; leadership and advocacy; parenting, families, and children; peer-recovery models; and health and wellness.
At the opening plenary, H. Westley Clark, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., Director of SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), presented data on women’s substance use. (See A Call to Action.)
To make sure attendees had an opportunity to be heard, SAMHSA’s Acting Deputy Administrator Kana Enomoto, M.A., chair of the Agency’s Advisory Committee on Women’s Services (ACWS), convened a listening session to allow time for individuals to voice their ideas and concerns with committee members. (See Listening Session.)
“This national committee has the unique mandate to advise SAMHSA on the needs of women in the field,” said Ms. Enomoto, who also moderated a plenary roundtable on “Leadership for the Next Generation.”
“As a member of SAMHSA’s Advisory Committee on Women’s Services, I think it was a brilliant move to co-locate the ACWS meeting with this dynamic conference,” said Susan C. Ayers, LICSW, Cambridge, MA. “It’s critical to have an opportunity to hear from the trenches where the real need is to bridge the gaps between policy and practice and evidence-based practices.”
Plenary speaker Frances L. Brisbane, Ph.D., focused on “Culture and Gender: Factors in Recovery and Leadership.” Dr. Brisbane is Professor and Dean of the School of Social Welfare, State University of New York.
Plenary speaker Dr. Francis L. Brisbane
“We’re inspired by Dr. Brisbane and other great presentations, meeting leaders in the field, and learning about cutting-edge program practices,” said Theresa Warr of the Florida Substance Abuse Program Office, Department of Children and Families. “We are making a difference.”
Conference sponsors included CSAT and two nonprofit Florida-based organizations— the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association and the New Century Institute.
“For SAMHSA, collaborating with these two cosponsors has broadened our scope,” said Sharon K. Amatetti, M.P.H., CSAT Project Officer for the conference. “Behind the scenes, we had tremendous local support.”
(l to r) SAMHSA Acting Deputy Administrator Kana Enomoto, Anita Bertrand, Dr. Francine Feinberg, and Nancy Hamilton participated in a lively plenary roundtable on “Lessons for the Next Generation.”