Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Our Time to Celebrate: A Conference Presents an Opportunity to Bring the "Family" Together

Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Our Time to Celebrate: A Conference Presents an Opportunity to Bring the "Family" Together

Article excerpt

This month the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) will celebrate its 29th anniversary at our annual conference (this year in San Diego). During the countdown to our 30th anniversary, field historian William White will be constructing a written history of this association and its relationship to so many other key events in addiction treatment during the past 30 years.

One of Bill's important, but albeit difficult, tasks will be to take the vignettes and conversations from past conferences and weave them into the association's history. NAATP's annual conferences have been like family reunions. Stories, hugs, smiles, "secrets," sharing of dreams, shedding of tears--these have been key elements of NAATP's conferences.

When a small group of treatment providers gathered together in California early in 1978, little did they know that their creative vision would result in a national association that also includes member organizations in eight other countries. They initially were focused on forming a unified voice to "lobby" California Blue Cross and Blue Shield to include a uniform benefit in its plans to cover treatment for alcoholism and other drug addictions. This group laid the framework for a trade association that listens to its members and represents their interests in a wide variety of venues.

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Early in its history, NAATP recognized that it was important for members to gather on a regular basis and to not only provide education and information, but to create a climate of celebration and exchange. NAATP has long held that its strength is in the connection between its members. The celebration, informal exchanges, and short (sometimes not so short!) coffee breaks have provided the connections that have motivated people to reach out to colleagues and share marketing ideas, supervision structures, billing procedures, contracting ideas, vendor selection tips, and a host of other activities. …

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