As the new guy on the block, I have always been eager to get involved in activities that help me to better understand and serve the cause of behavioral health and addiction treatment. So, there was no better place to be than February's SECAD meeting in Nashville. From the opening keynote by David Mee-Lee to the closing comments of C.C. Nuckols, I was glad to be one of some 600 professionals engaged in the multi-track conference program. This year marks the last SECAD, which will soon evolve into the annual National Conference on Addiction Disorders (NCAD) to be held September 8-11, 2010, in Washington, D.C. But even as this vital conference undergoes important changes, its spirit will surely live on. That spirit was never stronger than at the awards luncheon on Monday, the first day of the conference, when senior professionals in the field stepped forward to welcome Claudia Black and Scott Teitelbaum into the Conway Hunter Society. The joy and satisfaction expressed by each of the senior professionals at the contributions made by their one-time students and protégées was heartfelt, as were the thanks expressed by the recipients. This wonderful moment, truly a passing of the torch, was an emotional highlight of the conference.
Other great moments at the same luncheon occurred as my fellow editor, Gary Enos of Addiction Professional, recognized the distinguished career of former Seabrook House medical director James Mulligan, as well as Outstanding Clinicians Joseph Troncale, MD, Joanne Goer, and Stephanie Steinman. I had the privilege of recognizing six remarkable people as 2009 Behavioral Healthcare Champions-John Van Camp, Betsy Pfromm, Mike Armstrong, Tony Zipple, David Hillis, and George Joseph-and presenting Citations of Merit for outstanding design of behavioral health facilities to teams representing Cannon Design/Lindner Center of Hope and Ellerbee Becket/Park Nicollet Melrose Institute.
I was deeply struck by the genuine warmth and humanity of the many clinicians, counselors, and participants that I met throughout the conference. Whether they were younger or older, seasoned or new, oft-quoted experts or students seeking their first professional degrees, I enjoyed every session, every conversation. With few exceptions, this field embodies the values it teaches: humility, dedication, personal growth, and a selfless devotion to the consumer that continues to launch thousands toward recovery every year. And so, the SECAD spirit lives on!
Dennis G. Grantham, Senior Editor Behavioral Healthcare 2010 March;30(3):6
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