Category Archives: Leadership

Celebrating 30 Years

President Rhonda Messamore opened the Spring 2011 meeting of the IC&RC Board of Directors with the bang of a gavel – and a heartfelt speech about the 30th anniversary.

“With this meeting, we kick off IC&RC’s anniversary, ‘Celebrating 30 Years of Setting Standards for Addiction Professionals.’ According to some traditions, the 30th wedding anniversary is the pearl anniversary. We’ve taken the pearl as a symbol for this year. Think about it: a pearl begins as a grain of sand, but oh-so-slowly, over time, the oyster turns this irritation into a beautiful treasure. A pearl represents healing from imperfection, creating beauty and meaning from pain.”

“This imagery resonated strongly for me, and I hope it does for you too. Our very work has at its foundation a world of hurt – the pain that drives addiction, and the pain that it causes, in individuals, in families and in communities. But slowly, with persistence, through the long, hard effort of counselors and prevention specialists, many of these wounds have been healed – and miraculous beauty has come from them. Through the long, patient work of certification boards, clients and their families can rest easy knowing they are working with competent, ethical professionals. Funders and employers know they are working from the latest, evidence-based practices.”

The Certification Reciprocity Consortium/Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse, Inc. adopted bylaws and articles of incorporation in South Bend, Indiana in 1981. At that time, the first office of the consortium was located in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

After three decades, IC&RC is stronger than ever. It represents 76 certification boards and more than 43,000 reciprocal-level certified professionals.  The organization now administers more than 8,000 examinations a year.

From the Executive Director

Welcome, Colorado Prevention!

Last week in Denver, Colorado, more than 75 delegates from Member Boards gathered to set the direction for the future of the international organization. Being in Colorado was made all the more special, when the Colorado Prevention Certification Board was joyfully welcomed into the organization. Carmelita Muniz, Mary Anne Burdick, and Cheryl Reid represented the new board at the meeting and already made their contributions clear.

I’m also happy to announce that Tammi Lewis, LPC, AADC, ALPS, Therapist at CAMC Family Resource Center in Charleston, West Virginia, is the new co-chair of the Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (AADC) Committee. Frank Davis, IAADC, ICCJP, LCDC, of the Texas Certification Board of Addiction Professionals has agreed to become the new co-chair of the Certified Criminal Justice Addictions Professional (CCJP) committee.

The Peer Recovery Support Specialist credential is continuing toward adoption. Based on three states that already offer a peer recovery credential, minimum standards have been developed, and the credential will undergo IC&RC’s evaluation process over the next six months.

As our 30th anniversary year continues, the staff is working to make all of our activities special. So don’t forget to mark your calendars for the Fall Meeting – October 25 to 27 in Orlando, Florida. See you there! 


Mary Jo Mather
Executive Director

Building a New Treatment System in South Africa


During a month-long training and consulting project in South Africa, I witnessed first-hand the overwhelming addiction treatment needs of that country. Rampant addiction in South Africa affects many other aspects of its citizens’ lives, including HIV, domestic violence and abuse, with a strong impact on the criminal justice system. South Africa’s current treatment structure is not meeting the vast needs of the population.

Fortunately government officials and treatment professionals are recognizing that fact, and invited Johnson to identify and establish specific areas of reform. As a result, a comprehensive strategic plan was developed to cost-effectively expand or redesign current treatment programs. Some treatment programs are operated illegally, with untrained staff using outdated models and charging exorbitant admission fees. I believe that new strategies are needed, including a more comprehensive, cost-effective approach.

These new strategies include adding trained addiction professionals to other programs and agencies and integrating addiction treatment into primary health care and other agencies such as private physician offices, primary care clinics, public health clinics, schools, hospitals and court service offices. As a result of adding these addiction professionals to non-traditional treatment sites these agencies can share facilities, staff, expenses and resources to expand services for those needing treatment.

In addition to these expanded non-traditional sites for services, I helped train and work with Comprehensive Care Centers that are placed in high-risk areas. These care centers will offer not only addiction treatment but mental health services, medical care for HIV and other physical issues, vocational training and court service staff. These Comprehensive Care Centers will be a one-stop shop for those needing assistance. Since these programs will also share facilities and resources, it can be done in a cost-effective manner and serve more individuals and families.

Treatment programs will also be established in some of the most needed schools, which will assist those children being able to access services. I also provided training for all of those professionals included in the new redesign of services including, doctors, nurses, social workers, court staff and law enforcement.

The training and consultation will be on-going. I will be returning the later part of this year to provide further services and trainings as well as on-going assistance.  I am also assisting in establishing an addiction credentialing board to set international standards for addiction professionals through IC&RC. Trained and credentialed staff will also add to the success and expansion of these new programs.

From the Executive Director

Dear Colleagues,

In the Mid-Atlantic, spring is gearing up, and we’re seeing crocuses and the buds of daffodils. That also means that the IC&RC staff is gearing up for our Spring Meeting in Denver, Colorado.

Slated for April 26 to 28, the first meeting of our 30th Anniversary year promises to be an exciting, productive one. Three notices have gone out with meeting information, but if you haven’t submitted your registration forms or booked a room yet, we’re providing the details again below.

Speaking of the Anniversary, we are viewing this year as an opportunity to capture as much of IC&RC’s history as possible, and we hope you can help us. We will be emailing an invitation to the IC&RC History Survey shortly, and I ask that you give it your highest attention.


Mary Jo Mather

Executive Director

Q&A: Charting a Course

Lee Dalphonse

With this first special issue for Co-Occurring Disorders, it seems like a perfect time to get to know the Co-Chairs a little better.

Lee A. Dalphonse, CAGS, LMHC, LCDS, ICCDP-D has over 28 years of experience planning, implementing, and evaluating behavioral health programs and services for individuals with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse problems, and he has also provided training and consultation to audiences and organizations throughout the United States and Canada.

Dave Parcher, LCPC, LPCMH, CCS, CCDPD has 27 years of experience in direct service provision, and behavioral health program development, implementation, and management for persons with co-occurring substance dependence, mental health and other co-morbidities such as HIV/AIDS. He serves as Executive Director and senior clinical supervisor for an organization providing treatment and prevention services to persons with these co-occurring disorders and provides training seminars for the State of Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health.

IC&RC: Do you hold any IC&RC credentials?

LD: Actually, I hold a couple of IC&RC credentials. I’ve been a Clinical Supervisor for 15 years, and I hold the Diplomate level of the Co-Occurring certification. I’m also licensed in the State of Rhode Island as a mental health counselor.

DP: I hold the IC&RC Co-Occurring certification at the Diplomate level (CCDPD) and the Clinical Supervisor certification (CCS). I am also a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in Maryland and a Licensed Counselor of Mental Health (LPCMH) in Delaware.

IC&RC: Why are co-occurring disorders so important to you?

LD: The driving force behind my desire to seek credentialing as a co-occurring treatment specialist was that I have worked in both traditional mental health and traditional substance abuse settings, where I witnessed first-hand individuals with dual needs bouncing back and forth between providers. In too many instances, both systems failed to address the needs of this population. The more I witnessed this, the more I became convinced of the need to develop an expertise regarding the interactive relationship between addiction and mental health problems.

DP: My interest in developing integrated treatment that would be effective for co-occurring disorders grew during the 13 years I served as the director of an Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Team treating persons with severe and persistent mental health disorders. At least 30 percent of individuals treated in that program presented with diagnosable co-occurring substance abuse/dependence. Through that experience and literature review by some of the pioneers in this arena, it became apparent to me that treatment would have to address both disorders simultaneously through an integrated set of protocols to address the impact of the symbiotic relation between these disorders. As a function of this concept, it seemed critical to me that co-occurring morbidity must be treated as a standalone disorder in and of itself for successful stabilization and long-term recovery.

IC&RC: When did you first hear of IC&RC?

LD: I joined the Rhode Island Board for the Certification of Chemical Dependency Professionals in 1991, partly out of a desire to learn about more about credentialing and also out of a desire to help bridge the gap between the substance abuse and mental health fields. In 2004, I became a delegate to IC&RC.

DP: I heard about IC&RC through certified persons I knew in the field. I became more educated about IC&RC when I joined the Delaware Certification Board in 2000. I have served as a delegate to IC&RC for the last 3 years and increased my participation with committee membership in the last year.

IC&RC: Why did you decide to become involved in IC&RC?

LD: I had a personal crusade to push for a co-occurring credential, and I wanted to be part of moving that agenda forward on an international level. I recognized IC&RC as the industry leader in setting standards for our profession and I saw a natural synergy between my own personal vision and the work of the IC&RC.

 Soon after I started attending IC&RC meetings, a Task Force was formed to explore the feasibility of a co-occurring focused credential, and I was appointed Co-Chair of that Task Force, along with Marshall Rosier from the Connecticut Certification Board. Based upon the work and recommendations of that Task Force, the IC&RC Member Boards formally endorsed the development of co-occurring credentials about a year and half later. I think the quick timeframe for formal approval of these credentials was thanks to a “perfect storm.”

It was clear that at the same time that the health care system was being strained by growing costs and a dramatic increase in uninsured, individuals with co-occurring treatment needs were being under-recognized and under-treated. No longer could the treatment system afford to have duplication of efforts and ineffective treatment approaches for a population that ends up accessing high end services such as hospitals and emergency rooms when the treatment system fails to adequately meet their needs.

DP: Delaware was one of the first IC&RC States. Our State contracting authorities have recognized IC&RC as the leader in setting standards since the beginning. So, here in Delaware when one thinks of standards, one thinks IC&RC.

Delaware has had the Alcohol and Drug Counselor certification from the beginning of IC&RC. When I became president of the Delaware Certification Board and aware that IC&RC offered the co-occurring credential, I saw it as my obligation to bring that credential to Delaware during my tenure as President. This initiative was based on my clinical experience and the fact that through the Co-occurring State Incentive Grant (COSIG) the State was taking action to support the integration of co-occurring disorders as standard within the treatment constellation.

IC&RC: Where do you see the field going?

LD: I believe the writing is on the wall. The statistics show clearly that, in publicly funded programs, co-occurring disorders are the rule not the exception. Given that, it is incumbent on programs to ensure that all members of their staff are able to meet the needs of the majority of their clients. I think there will be growing pressure to demonstrate that program staff are competent in co-occurring disorders, and the best way to do that is to have staff that are dually licensed or hold a co-occurring credentials.

DP: I believe that integrated treatment is the rule of the future. Programs need to have the capacity to provide treatment at all levels of care without the barriers and inefficiency created by the treatment silos in parallel infrastructures. With the Affordable Care Act, there will be increased pressure for programs to create the economies of scale offered by integrated prevention and treatment. Persons who are trained and certified to treat co-occurring disorders will have a tremendous advantage in this arena.

IC&RC: What do you like to do in your free time?

LD: Music is one of my passions – I love all kinds of music. I also try to spend as much time as possible with my wife of 26 years and my 15-year-old daughter. I strive to maintain a balance between being an active, committed professional and an active, committed family person. It’s not always an easy balance.

DP:  My two daughters are in college and doing their own thing but, I love to spend time with them when our schedules permit. With regard to activities, first and foremost, I am a martial artist. I hold two black belts in Shukoki and Tikwondo. I also like to ride motorcycles and bicycles. I love to sail, fish, and hunt. I love to dance and love music (all kinds). I am by no means a guitarist, but I like to play just to relieve stress but only when no one is listening. Balancing professional life with personal life is always a challenge.

Focus On: Co-Occurring Disorders

Dave Parcher

Dave Parcher

Dear Colleagues,

Since Scottsdale, the Co-Occurring Disorders Committee has been energized, moving forward with marketing the credential. Probably the largest factor in this new energy has been my new Co-Chair, Lee Dalphonse of Rhode Island. Many of you know Lee by his thoughtful contributions to IC&RC meetings. He has brought that same mind to our work, and I’m proud to call him my Co-Chair.

Another driver in our work is health care reform. Lee and I believe this is creating vast new opportunities for co-occurring professionals, and we want IC&RC Member Boards to be as prepared as possible to meet these growing needs. We’re glad to have an article from Andrew Kessler, IC&RC’s Federal Policy Liaison to discuss this issue more fully.

Lastly, we want to thank each of you who took the time to complete a survey on Co-Occurring Disorders last year. We hope you find the summary of results as interesting as we did.


Dave Parcher
Co-Chair, Co-Occurring Disorders

From the Executive Director – January 3, 2011

Dear Colleagues,

 It is with the warmest heart that I welcome 2011. It promises to be another banner year for IC&RC, all the more so because it is the organization’s 30th anniversary.

 If you haven’t read the history of IC&RC, now might be a good time to remind yourself of our earliest days and the efforts that brought us to where we are today: the largest organization dedicated to addiction-related behavioral healthcare credentialing. We represent at least 40,000 professionals worldwide, and that number is only expected to grow.

Our profession is needed more than ever, a fact recognized by the federal government. While we don’t yet know exactly how landmark legislation of 2010 will be implemented, we are glad to be at the table, working with federal agencies to help shape the conversation.

You can look forward to more recognition of the anniversary as the year progresses, but for now, let’s all say “Happy New Year, IC&RC!”


Mary Jo Mather
Executive Director