NAADAC Leadership Moves Forward on Shaping the Association's Strategy

By Cynthia Moreno Tuohy, NCAC II, CCDC III, SAP

The NAADAC Executive Committee met in March to discuss NAADAC and its role in supporting its members and the profession.  The Committee took a basic look  at  our association and its fundamentals: who we are, what we do and how we do it.

What emerged from their discussions was a determination to focus on four major areas, "four pillars" of outreach in order to strengthen and improve our association.

The Four Pillars: essential roles and reasons for NAADAC to exist. These pillars are:

  • Professional Development
  • Public Engagement
  • Professional Services
  • Communicate the Mission

Our discussions allowed us to define and describe the unique services that NAADAC offers and focus on delivering them to the best of our ability.

Professional Development

  • Education and training stand at the center of our efforts to ensure that both current professionals and those that are new to the field are always prepared to adopt the newest evidence based practices in their work.
  • Mentorship is essential to the continued growth of our workforce
  • Professional standards are foundational in our development of a professional career path for addiction professionals.  No other organization can represent what the needs are for standards of professional practice better than NAADAC can.
  • Like all professions, The Association for Addictions Professionals has defined a code of ethics for the field.   We will continue to protect the profession and the public by holding our members to this high set of professional standards.
  • Our commitment to continue to grow the profession will be bolstered by an increased outreach to students and new professionals.
  • In furthering the above activities the Association will work toward improving salary and benefits for our members and for the profession at large.

Public Engagement

Our Association has to be the voice of the profession.  There is no one else who can authoritatively speak for us.  Our responsibility to be advocates and educators and policy partners requires that we be effective communicators about who we are, what we know and what we do.  We have to ensure that our voice is recognized - not because it is loudest, but because it is well informed.  This is a role that can only be accomplished if all members actively support the Association through affiliates, committees, networking and advocacy.  NAADAC is the “go to” source for information about the addiction profession.

Public Engagement will engage both internal and external components:


  • Members getting involved in the association through affiliates, committees, leadership and/or the speakers bureau
  • Networking


  • Advocacy
  • Educating the public
  • Relationships with government and agencies

Professional Services

In addition to being both the foundation and the voice of the profession the Association needs to provide quality services to its affiliates and its members.  Professional's satisfaction with the national association is generally tied to their experience  with the local affiliate.  Resources for state affiliates will be increasingly important as we work to grow our professional association.  NAADAC products have to be top notch and NAADAC services have to be marked by a level of consumer attention that is unmatched.  Our ability to offer technical assistance and professional expertise to others who share our interests and our mission will have to match the growing recognition that addiction shares space with mental health, primary health care, employment and housing.  We need to be prepared to effectively offer our services to those who need the services of our members. The specific areas addressed by Professional Services are:

  • NAADAC products
  • Alliances and strategic partnerships
  • Resources for state affiliates
  • The NAADAC Approved Education Provider program
  • Technical assistance and sharing expertise with other professions (including mental health, marriage and family therapists, social workers or other group seeking assistance)
  • Providing resources through the NAADAC Education and Research Foundation

Communicate the Mission of the Organization

In some ways this is a restatement of some components of the other three pillars; but, it deserves its own place.  NAADAC's Mission Statement, adopted in 1998, says that our job is "to lead, unify and empower addiction focused professionals to achieve excellence through education, advocacy, knowledge, standards of practice, ethics, professional development and research." 

In order to do that effectively we need to communicate this mission broadly: to members, to partners and to other stakeholders.  We need to communicate with one voice. And we need to base that broader set of messages on exceptionally good communication between and among NAADAC's members, leaders and staff. 

The four pillars plan is a change in direction for our association; but, it is a change that NAADAC's leadership believes will increase our effectiveness and help to grow the Association. By focusing on the core principles of NAADAC and ensuring that we focus on those attributes, we will best serve our members and the profession as a whole.

With all that we intend to do, new efforts and continuing efforts, we recognize that effective financial and administrative management are essential to NAADAC's foundation. We view your dues as an investment in your association as well as your profession.  As stewards of these resources, we are committed to using this money prudently on initiatives that benefit our members, our association and the profession as a whole. 

Please share your thoughts with us. Is there more that we could be doing to serve our association and our profession? Feel free to contact me to discuss this or any other issue.

Cynthia Moreno Tuohy is the Executive Director of NAADAC, the Association of Addiction Professionals. She can be contacted at [email protected] or 800.548.0497 ext 119.