Howard Center Receives National Award for “Excellence in Addictions Treatment”

Howard Center has been named the recipient of the National Council for Behavioral Health’s 2019 Excellence in Addictions Treatment Award. Selected from 230 nominations from across the country, the award will be presented to Howard Center in Nashville, Tennessee, during the Awards of Excellence Celebration in conjunction with the National Council Conference – NatCon19.

The National Council for Behavioral Health’s Awards of Excellence recognize and honor individuals and organizations in behavioral health care for their ingenuity, hard work and dedication to improving the lives of Americans living with mental illnesses and addictions.

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said: “I am glad to see this recognition of Howard Center for its groundbreaking work treating addiction. Howard Center has long been a pioneer in providing effective, compassionate care through innovative models that have been replicated across Vermont and the entire country. Congratulations to them for this well-deserved award, and I know that they will continue to work hard to reverse the effects of addiction that have touched every Vermont community.”

A state and national leader in addiction services, Howard Center is credited with creating Vermont’s first Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) program—the Chittenden Clinic—in 2002. Since then, Howard Center introduced the highly effective and widely duplicated “Hub and Spoke” treatment model, with the Chittenden Clinic serving as the state’s first “Hub.” The Clinic was also the first “Hub” to offer substance use services in correctional facilities, a pioneer in the use of programmable medication boxes and telehealth technologies, and the first in the country to be accredited by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a substance abuse specialty provider. In addition, Howard Center also operates a “spoke” to provide office-based medication assisted treatment.

Howard Center is also the first organization in the state to provide a community-based, immediate access to buprenorphine program through its Safe Recovery syringe services program. Safe Recovery has operated for more than 18 years and is a bridge to receiving more permanent long-term supports and care. Safe Recovery distributes the majority of Vermont’s syringes to reduce the transmission of disease and 70% of Vermont’s overdose reversal medication, Narcan. Over 1,200 people have reported overdose reversals using Narcan from Safe Recovery.

Governor Phil Scott said: “Howard Center provides critical services for Vermonters seeking substance use treatment in communities across the state, and has been instrumental in Vermont’s work to address our opioid crisis. I appreciate their leadership, including Bob Bick’s service on my Opioid Coordination Council. I want to thank the entire staff for their work on the frontlines of this issue and for continuing to break down barriers to treatment, prevention and recovery in Vermont.”

Additionally, Howard Center has been a long-time leader in the delivery of substance use disorder treatment services across Vermont, providing evidence-based treatment, intervention and support services for individuals and families, including alcohol crisis and detoxification programs, outpatient counseling programs for individuals with co-occurring mental illness and substance use issues, residential programming for women with substance use challenges who are under the supervision of the state’s correctional system, and embedded programs in primary care and senior housing programs.

“We are truly honored to receive this recognition and to shine a spotlight on our compassionate and committed staff for the work they do to ensure that individuals and families have access to the best possible person-centered care and treatment for substance use. Their service also includes supporting children whose lives are impacted by addiction. We are confident that together with our community and state partners we will continue to make great strides in improving treatment outcomes and creating a healthier community,” said Howard Center’s Chief Client Services Officer Catherine Simonson.

The Excellence in Addictions Treatment award recognizes an organization that has provided effective addictions education and prevention programs in the community or improved treatment outcomes for people with addictions disorders through innovative, science-based programs and services.