2004: 38th Annual WAAODA Conference

Thriving on Challenges: Integrating a
Public Health Perspective into Our Practice

We chose the public health approach to alcohol
and other drug addiction because AODA is widespread problem
with far-reaching consequences. Although AODA is preventable
and treatable, it continues to be a hugely costly public healthcare
problem–and Wisconsin continues to develop legislation and
regulation to better deal with it.

The WAAODA Conference attracts substance abuse
and mental health professionals, as well as other stakeholders
who must integrate both fields. Our education and training
programs historically have acknowledged and reinforced an
integrated approach. WAAODA has always integrated mental health
training in the annual Conference-it is a key component in
helping practitioners treat the whole person as part of the
whole community. So, in the 2004 Conference, we are going
to build on past successful education and training programs
to further improve the focus on the integration of mental
health services.

The Conference plenary sessions are always topical,
exploring a single issue of critical importance to the AODA
field. Traditionally, the rest of the Conference is devoted
to training direct line practitioners. While this is still
emphasized this year, we have also added a new track to the
Conference – the Management Institute, which focuses on major
business and administrative issues affecting top level executives
and managers, program directors and executive directors in
the AODA field.

Another important aspect of the Conference is
the Advocacy Luncheon, which typically attracts a full house,
often with standing room only. This year, nationally-acclaimed
recovery advocate William Cope Moyers will be the keynote
speaker. He is one of the field’s trail blazers and a huge
draw for people in recovery.

The 2004 Conference Program has slated a number
of top national and international experts including:

  • Dr. Louis Sullivan (President
    emeritus of Morehouse Medical School and former Secretary
    of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

  • Dr. David Powell (author
    of Clinical Supervision in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling)

  • Dr. Mary Marden Velasquez (co-author of Group
    Treatment for Substance Abuse: A Stages-of-Change Therapy

  • Dr. Carlton Erickson (leading
    addiction researcher and co-author of Drugs, the Brain and

  • Rokelle Learner (author
    of Affirmations for Adult Children of Alcoholics and creator
    of the Inner Path Relationship and Women’s Stage 2 Recovery
    Programs for Cottonwood de Tucson)

  • Rosalinda Ramirez (specialist
    in culturally competent AODA counseling and principal of

  • Pamela Woll (consultant
    and author of Healing the Stigma of Addiction)

Thus, the 2004 WAAODA Conference will be an
ideal platform for building a broad coalition of counselors
and other professionals for the future of substance abuse
and mental health services in Wisconsin.

Last year’s Conference attracted 425 registered
participants from 105 Wisconsin municipalities, plus 65 presenters,
including nationally recognized experts such as Dr. Carlton
Erickson, Dr. Lonny Shavelson, Dr. Dwayne Simpson, Mohammed
Bilal and Rosalinda Ramirez. The overall satisfaction rate
for the Conference was 97%, with 35% of participants rating
the three-day education and training symposium as “excellent”.