JEVS Human Services is pleased to welcome Gwendolyn White as the new Executive Director of our Achievement through Counseling and Treatment (ACT) clinics. Gwen spent the last eight years at The Consortium, first as Director of Opiate Treatment Services and then as Division Director of Addiction Services. Her experience there included management of The Consortium’s Methadone treatment services as well as the implementation of Vivitrol and Buprenorphine treatment programs.
We recently spoke with Gwen for a Q&A to talk about what lead her to JEVS and what goals she has for the ACT clinics.
Q: What attracted you to this position at JEVS?
A: I did a lot of research on JEVS and was really interested in some of the programming they have outside of addiction treatment that is different from other organizations that I have worked for. I was impressed by the robust career services that JEVS provides. When someone is suffering from addiction, it is very difficult for them to get and keep employment. If we can link our consumers to career services, it can positively impact their recovery and put them on a firmer path to recovery. After all, work is an important part of who we are.
Q: Why are programs like ACT so important?
A: Outside of what is currently going on with the opioid epidemic, it gives the consumers a place to go and structure to get some relief. It provides them with the stability they need to get back in the community. These programs keep people out of jail, connect them with their families and most importantly give them a second chance at life.
Q: What are some of your goals for the clinics?
A: One of the things that I believe is so important in combatting the opioid crisis is bringing different treatment alternatives to JEVS. In order to be able to help more people overcome opiate addiction, we need to offer more medications. In addition, I would also like to grow our non-medicated assistance program for individuals who are using cocaine or another substance so we can treat people outside of opiate addiction. We want to be able to help any person that comes to our door.
Q: What first interested you in addiction treatment?
A: I kind of stumbled into it. I thought my calling was to treat battered women. There was an internship open in addiction treatment services and once I got into the field it gave me a sense of giving back. I have a family member who has suffered from addiction and most people know someone who has struggled with it. When you have a personal connection to addiction, it gives you extra motivation to create the kinds of programs that you would want for your family.