#WVaRecovers: Learn about an integrated approach to treating addiction at WVWC’s recovery symposium

BUCKHANNON – In an effort to highlight an integrated approach to treating addiction, a group of West Virginia Wesleyan College faculty and community members have organized a symposium on substance use disorder recovery, which the college will host Friday.

The symposium will take place Friday, Sept. 20, and Saturday, Sept. 21 at Wesleyan’s Virginia Thomas Law Center for the Performing Arts. Director of the Albinson School of Business at West Virginia Wesleyan College, Dr. Susan Aloi, said the symposium will have four sessions throughout the two days.

“We have different speakers in four categories, sharing either research, or practices that have proven successful in other places, related to community support, brain research, health care and criminal justice,” Alois said.

She said the symposium is meant to work toward a more collaborative effort to treat substance use disorder.

“Some of the faculty on campus have been researching independently in those areas, and we realized there are other prevention and intervention programs around the state, but they seem to be in silos,” Alois said. “The research is showing that an integrated approach, combining all of those approaches, involving the community, configuring health care, utilizing the best research on how the brain is affected by addiction and recovery and more progressive criminal justice solutions work together better to address the problem.”

The event is open the public, but the organizers are asking those interested in attending the symposium to register online here for $50 to receive the continental breakfasts and lunches. Alois said even if people aren’t able to afford the $50 registration, they can still take part in the symposium; however, they won’t be provided breakfast or lunch.

“I think everyone is aware of the statistics related to West Virginia, the health issues and the economics issues and family issues,” Aloi said. “Everyone has someone in their family or friends’ group or workplace who has been affected by substance use disorder. It takes people from all different backgrounds and perspectives and areas of expertise to understand this together and to work for common solutions – and a multi-pronged approach.”

“One approach isn’t going to be enough,” Aloi added.

The first day of the symposium starts at 8 a.m. with the first session topic, “Initiatives from Health Communities in West Virginia” and keynote speaker Commissioner Betsy Ellis Jividen with the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Other speakers for the first session include Dr. Theresa Poling, APRN-BC, FNP; Assistant Professor of Nursing West Virginia Wesleyan College, Toni DiChiacchio, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, FAANP; and Lindsay Smith, clinical therapist. The second session topic, “Community Support in West Virginia,” starts the same day at 1:30 p.m. with speakers Lou Ortenzio, executive director of Clarksburg Mission; Melissa Kisner, Randolph County Substance Abuse Coalition; and Matt Kerner, executive director of Opportunity House.

Session three starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, with the third session topic – “Neuroscience Research in Substance Abuse and Recovery” with speakers including Casey Steckling, co-founder of Dayton Recovers; Dr. Amanda Vandivier; Bruce Anthony Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry, West Virginia Wesleyan College; and Dr. Chris Risher, Marshall University.

The fourth topic, “Criminal Justice and Support of Substance Abuse Recovery in West Virginia, gets underway the same day at 1:30 p.m. with speakers 13th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Jennifer F. Bailey, Kanawha County, W.Va.; Diane Shingler, therapist with W.Va. Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation; and Edward Preston, Chief of Police, Morgantown.

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