by Jane Sevier
At a White House ceremony May 20, National Drug Control Policy Director Michael Botticelli honored Vanderbilt researcher Andrew Finch as an Advocate for Action. Every year, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy recognizes leaders who are making a difference in their communities through advocacy or direct services.
“I am pleased to honor the work Andrew Finch is doing to make our communities healthier and safer,” said Botticelli. “By promoting evidence-based prevention, treatment and recovery efforts, Advocates for Action are helping to reduce drug use and its consequences across the country.”
Finch is associate professor of the practice of human and organizational development at Vanderbilt Peabody College of education and human development. He also serves as coordinator of the school counseling track in the master’s degree program in human development counseling.
In 1997, Finch helped start a recovery high school in Nashville, and in 2002 he co-founded the Association of Recovery Schools. He also developed and helped carry out the first and only accreditation program for these schools, which are specifically designed for students recovering from substance abuse or dependence.
Thanks in part to his research and development of best practices, recovery schools are changing perceptions of adolescent treatment and recovery support services in the United States.
“Recovery schools assist young people with social emotional learning, supportive peer relationships, reduced substance use, and graduation from school,” Finch said.
Finch also has promoted the growth of collegiate recovery programs.