The Women’s Addiction Services Leadership Institute (WASLI) is a comprehensive leadership program that fosters the growth of emerging leaders in women’s behavioral health services and strengthens their capacity to serve women with substance use and co-occurring disorders.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) has several initiatives that strengthen the capacity to serve women with substance use and co-occurring disorders. As a result, many effective, evidence- based practices, programs, and policies are available that address the specific needs of women and their families and reduce health disparities. However, these approaches have yet to be brought to scale and are unavailable to most women. To respond to this need, SAMHSA/CSAT created the WASLI program.
The 2018 WASLI class comprises early- and mid-career professionals with at least 5 years’ experience working with, or on behalf of, women with substance use disorders (SUDs). The focus is on developing leaders, with special consideration for those in women’s medication-assisted treatment, serving young adult women (e.g., adolescents or collegiate recovery), and women of color. The program, materials, and most travel expenses are supported through SAMHSA/CSAT. The 2018 WASLI program began in January 2018.
The goals of WASLI are to strengthen the capacity to meet the prevention, treatment, and recovery needs of women with substance use and mental health problems by:
- Developing and improving leadership skills of participants
- Creating a network of the next generation of leaders in women’s services
- Establishing a model of women’s leadership training
WASLI Program Elements
- Individualized Assessments. Associates engage in assessments, including a 360-degree leadership inventory, to better understand their styles, actions, strengths, and areas for improvement.
- Coaching and Action Learning. WASLI Associates implement a Leadership Enhancement Action Plan (LEAP) and complete a Women’s Services Leadership Project. They receive ongoing coaching by a WASLI Coach, who are selected for their leadership in women’s addiction services and their capacity to motivate others.
- Immersion Training. This 4-day, in-person training is customized to meet the goals of leaders working to address the treatment/recovery concerns of women.
- Enhancement Training. This 3-day, in-person Enhancement Training to further refine leadership skills and address trends in women’s behavioral health.
- Graduation. Upon completion of the 6-month program, Associates conduct graduation presentation webinars to share their leadership projects and celebrate their accomplishments.
WASLI Alumni Network
Associates and coaches, along with other stakeholders involved with the program, are linked together through the national WASLI Alumni Network, which offers vital ongoing learning and mutual leadership support.
SAMHSA has offered the WASLI program for leaders in women’s services three times, and 56 associates and 27 coaches have completed the program.
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