2023 Virginia Summer Institute for Addiction Studies

The 2023 VSIAS kicked off on Sunday, July 16th and commenced on Wednesday, July 19th. VSIAS hosted 255 addiction professionals, 32 agencies in the exhibitor hall, and 21 presenters at the Williamsburg Woodlands Hotel and Suites. Classes included topics such as Navigating Grief, Neurobiology of Addiction, and The Ethics of Harm Reduction. Attendees left with up to 23 continuing education credits and, most importantly armed with valuable information, contacts, and a renewed sense of purpose. Thank you to all for attending and for making our communities healthier and more compassionate places to live and work!

"VSIAS is exciting this year: on topic, relevant, and most important, addressing the issues."
Jacqueline Butler
Virginia Association for Couples and Family Counseling

The Continuing Education Sessions:

VSIAS was kicked off on Sunday, July 16th and had a full house on Monday morning. Addiction Counselors are required to obtain continuing education credits each year. VSIAS sessions provided up to 23 credits throughout the course of the institute.

There were 21 sessions under the theme “guiding to hope and health” offered over the four days. Session topics included: Ethics, Advocacy, Group Therapy, Spirituality in Recovery, Family Therapy, Yoga, Cultural Competence, Peer Recovery Support, and Harm Reduction. The agenda included lunch and learns and an awards luncheon.

Attendees included Addiction Counselors, Therapists, Social Workers, Peer Recovery Specialists, Students and other interested learners. When not in sessions or the exhibit hall, attendees enjoyed the Woodlands property and pool.

"I have to admit - I was not bored in Jessica's session. She was so great. I have been in the field for 50 years and founded VSIAS, so it's hard to keep me interested!"
Jack Mallory
Founding Member of VSIAS

The Exhibit Hall:

The VSIAS Exhibit Hall hosted 32 organizations and agencies who shared literature, merchandise, and important information about their work. Many business cards were swapped, and valuable connections were made.

There were raffles and free gifts distributed during the session breaks. Thanks to sponsors, attendees enjoyed coffee and pastries while connecting with each other.

"The Exhibitor Hall was buzzing! VAAP secured four new Community Partners and 10 new Individual Members. VSIAS is a great place to network!"
Chris Coleman
VAAP Boar of Directors

Awards and More:

The 2023 Ron Pritchard Visionary Leadership Award was presented to Mark Blackwell (left). Mark has been involved in behavioral health for over 21 years supporting peer recovery specialists. He is the Director for Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services Office of Recovery Services. For a decade, he worked for the Substance Abuse and Addiction Recovery Alliance. Mark is retiring in September and is thrilled to be passing the torch to his team. Chuck Wilcox, member of the VAAP Board of Directors presented the award.

The VAAP Board of Directors met on Sunday to plan for the coming year. (Left to right: David Semanco, VAAP President, Nee Allison, Delegate at-large, Chris Coleman, Delegate at-large, Jessica Swan, Delegate at-large, Chuck Wilcox, Northern Region Vice President. Not shown: Craig James, Secretary, Jesalyn Moore, Treasurer, Bob Taylor, Delegate at-large).

"If I lead with love, I can't make mistakes."
Mark Blackwell
2023 Ron Pritchard Visionary Leadership Award Recipient

From the VAAP Blog:

VAAP Board Member, Jessica Swan, Speaks at the US Department of Justice

On Friday June 9th, VAAP Board Member and Executive Director of Recovery Consulting, Jessica Swan, spoke at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC. The session delved into the topic of addiction science and how to reduce medication-assisted treatment (MAT) stigma in correctional settings. The presentation covered all aspects of addiction science and attendees left the session with a deeper understanding of the ways in which MAT can be used to support individuals with addiction, as well as key strategies for decreasing MAT stigma in corrections.

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Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board offers Medication Assisted Treatment for Substance Use Disorder

In the Virginia Commonwealth, Community Services Boards (CSB’s) offer publicly funded assistance for those seeking treatment for substance use disorders as well as other mental health concerns. The Fairfax-Falls Church CSB’s Addiction Medicine Clinic (AMC) provides medication-assisted detoxification services and substance abuse treatment to adults in an outpatient setting. We asked Dr. Debra O’Beirne, Medical Director at the Fairfax-Falls Church CSB, and Rebecca Waxman, Behavioral Health Supervisor, LCSW of the Addiction Medicine Clinic (AMC) at the Fairfax-Falls Church CSB a few questions about their program:

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Are you a Community Partner (formerly called “Sustaining Members”) with VAAP? Do you have something you’d like to share with the VAAP community? As a Community Partner, you can collaborate with the VAAP Communications Specialist to create an article on topics such as innovative treatments, currents trends, peer reviewed research in psychopharmacology or neuroscience, policy, legal or medical developments, or updates on clinical trials or interventions. We’ll spotlight your article on our website, in our newsletter and on social media, and you can do the same! Interested? Contact Claire.