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May 10

Crafting Change on the Road to Recovery

Social determinants of health are the nonmedical factors that influence health outcomes. They are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and shape the conditions of daily life. The experience of substance use or mental illness is different for every individual, and often there is a combination of biological, psychological and social factors contributing to why a person may be struggling with behavioral health conditions. This event aims to deliver a collective of avenues practitioners can “craft” with participants to enhance personalized recovery pathways.

Keynote Speaker: Maia Szalavitz, Award-Winning Neuroscience Author, Journalist & Mental Health Advocate

Maia Szalavitz is an award-winning author and journalist who covers addiction and neuroscience. Her most recent book, Undoing Drugs: The Untold Story of Harm Reduction and the Future of Addiction, is the first history of the movement aimed at focusing drug policy on minimizing harms, not highs. Her previous New York Times bestseller, Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction wove together neuroscience and social science with her personal experience of heroin addiction to explore how reframing addiction as a learning disorder can transform prevention, treatment and policy. It won the 2018 media award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. She writes regularly for The New York Times and has written for numerous other publications including TIME, Wired, Elle, The Nation, Vice, The Guardian and Scientific American.

Her 2006 book, Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids, was the first to expose the damage caused by “tough love” youth treatment and helped spur Congressional hearings. She has also authored or co-authored five other books, including the classic on child trauma, The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, with Dr. Bruce D. Perry. With Dr. Perry, she has also written Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential—And Endangered, which laid out why empathy is essential for social trust and how inequality can erode it. With Dr. Joseph Volpicelli, she wrote Recovery Options: The Complete Guide, the first evidence-based guide to addiction treatment. 

Maia Szalavitz's work speaks to people with addiction, their family members, policy makers, concerned community members, politicians, treatment providers, physicians, social service agencies affected by mental illness and addiction, university communities, criminal justice officials and others who want to improve the way we prevent, treat and manage drug problems.

Plenary Speaker: Donald McDonald, MSW, Technical Expert Lead at JBS International, Inc. & Podcast Host

Donald McDonald is a behavioral health recovery expert dedicated to equity, access, wellness, and freedom for all people at risk of experiencing mental and substance use disorders. He is a person thriving in recovery from severe mental & substance use disorders. Donald’s background includes being a consumer of services, provider of non-clinical & clinical services in multiple settings, health policy advocate, and recovery community leader. Previously, Donald served as the National Field Director of Faces & Voices of Recovery, Director of Advocacy & Education for Recovery Communities of North Carolina, and Executive Director of Addiction Professionals of North Carolina. For the last five years, Donald has directed training and technical assistance nationally for grant-funded communities. In that capacity, he has worked with over 500 rural consortia across the country as they enhance their prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery support services infrastructures in response to substance use and overdose crises (including Mental Health America!)

Donald holds a Bachelor of Education from NC State University and Master of Social Work from UNC Chapel Hill. He serves on the Recovery Policy Collaborative at Georgetown Law’s O’Neill Institute. Donald is a proud recipient of the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence Bronze Key Award and the North Carolina Attorney General's Dogwood Award. For fun, he is the producer and host of the behavioral health recovery podcast 'No Thanks But Yes,' which features chill conversations with splendid people who’ve overcome chaotic relationships with substances and behaviors via many pathways.

Donald is a United States Navy war veteran and former preschool music teacher. He lives in Raleigh, NC with his wife of 29 years, Jill, in a nest emptied of four amazing and healthy children. Donald does not believe recovery ought to be a boring trudge. He is a musician, hiker, and avid pie lover who recovers out loud on social media. You’ll hear him say, “We get better than well. Come get you some.”

St. Elizabeth Training and Education Center (SETEC)
3861 Olympic Blvd, Erlanger, KY 41018
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May 10, 2024 08:00am ET - May 10, 2024 04:30pm ET

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