Mike Flaherty, PhD
Founder, Institute for Research, Education, and Training in the Addictions
Former Director, Northeast ATTC
The ATTC Network Role in Recovery
As the 20th century was coming to an end, addiction was treated systemically as an acute, self-inflicted illness with a limited number of covered treatment episodes—or in jail—or on your own. In 2001, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) resolved “the American health care delivery system is in need of fundamental change” and that under-addressing chronic illness was both the major cost and life shortening. Experts in addiction (McLellan et al., 2000; White et al., 2002) were quick to add that in lieu of the existing acute care model, addiction was best understood and treated as a chronic illness.By braiding scientific understanding of the illness with the proven recovery and wellness experience, science advanced.
The ATTCs collectively studied this message (Flaherty et al., 2006) and while keeping best science firmly in mind, looked to learn from those in recovery as to how treatment (and prevention) should be updated and made more relevant to each person and community. The ATTCs conducted a qualitative analysis of their own perceptions and the concerns in each region. Amidst unique geographical responses, all agreed that considering those in recovery and their shared experience and knowledge was the path to ultimate knowledge adoption—and health. In that day’s ATTC meeting, Mary Beth Johnson, then head of the ATTC National Office, proclaimed with a tear in her eye, “those in recovery are being welcomed back into the tent.” The ATTC role in recovery was born. A paradigm shift occurred. Person-centered care was defined. Science evolved.
Advancing the Science of Treatment and Recovery
|Mike Flaherty, Lonnetta Albright, and Bill White
Repositories for this information and its emerging science were developed by William White (www.williamwhitepapers.com), John Kelly (www.RecoveryAnswers.org) at Harvard, and SAMHSA (www.samhsa.gov/recovery). To anchor this course, earlier visionary work (e.g., DeLeon, Kurtz, White, Moos, Valliant, et al.) was linked to a first ever and still evolving definition of recovery.
Science evolved. Illness built its recovery. The ATTCs, by creating this tipping point, found their pinnacle moment – to date.
Institute of Medicine. (2001) Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21stCentury. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press
Flaherty, M.T. (2006). Special Report: A Unified Vision for the Prevention and Management of Substance Use Disorders: Building resiliency, wellness and recovery – A shift from an Acute Care to a sustained care recovery management model. National consensus statement compiled by Institute for Research, Education and Training in the Addictions and Northeast Addiction Technology Center. Pittsburgh, Pa.
McLellan AT, Lewis, DC, O’Brien CP, Kleber HD, (2000) Drug dependence, a chronic medical illness: Implications for treatment, insurance, and outcomes evaluation. JAMA, 284:1689-95.
White W, Boyle M. & Loveland D. (2002). Alcoholism/Addiction as a Chronic Disease: From rhetoric to clinical reality, Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 20(?3/4), 107-30.v
About our Guest Blogger
Dr. Flaherty is a clinical psychologist with more than 30 years experience in the prevention, intervention, treatment, research and policy development related to substance use, addiction and recovery. Prior to founding the Institute for Research, Education and Training in the Addictions in 1999 and becoming the Principle Investigator of its SAMHSA/CSAT funded Northeast ATTC, Dr. Flaherty was the Vice President of the St. Francis Health System and Director of its Institute for Psychiatry and Addiction Services, the then largest such facility in Pennsylvania. He has authored and overseen over 20 Federal and Foundational grants, more than 50 articles and books on topics ranging from pregnancy and addiction to the chronic disease understanding of addiction; how prevention is the cornerstone of wellness and recovery; and the need for a unified vision for prevention/intervention/ treatment, wellness and recovery in America. He regularly consults on the central role of prevention, wellness and recovery in addressing substance use. While currently dedicating himself to clinical practice he still leads key projects, prepares clinical monographs and researches the importance of understanding further the components of personal recovery. Dr. Flaherty is also committed to translating this knowledge into building a better work force through the building of skilled workers at all levels and in all disciplines addressing the prevention and treatment of substance use.