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Live Interviews at The National Conference on Addiction Disorders

Mental Health News Radio is heading to Denver again! MHNR’s Kristin Sunanta Walker will be doing live interviews at the National Conference on Addiction Disorders starting August 18. From the halls of the conference floor and a media room that the conference graciously set up for the show, Walker will be touching base with vendors, participants, and session presenters (many of whom have appeared on the show previously), with no topic off the table. Through live interviews and lots of candid conversation, Walker hopes to make new connections and further much-needed conversations on the most crucial messages coming out of this conference. Here, Walker talks about why she wanted to make this trip, what she’s most excited about, and how you can listen along.

Listen to our Live interviews from the media room at the conference!

Can you talk a bit about the National Conference on Addiction Disorders–what is it, who’s it for, and what makes it different from other conferences in this space?

Walker: NCAD is one of the largest conferences in the addiction disorders space. It is held in order to educate professionals about this market and showcase the vendors and clinicians that support addiction treatment and recovery.

This will be our first time attending this conference. The whole premise actually began when I had the pleasure of interviewing Doug Edwards, who is the vice president and managing director of Vendome Healthcare Media’s Behavioral Healthcare division, and the topic of us attending first came up. After deciding this would be a wonderful venue for us to continue some of the great conversations we’ve had around addiction and recovery, we reached out to the vendors we work with, such as NextStep Solutions, Inc, and asked if they would participate, too. We also invited a lot of the counselors we work with to attend as well.

Why did MHNR want to participate in this event, and what is your role in it this year?

Walker: Have microphone, will travel! Interviewing the top minds in the addiction and recovery field has been a blessing.

I also think we helped to earn our way there by bringing with us vendors who paid for booths and  attendees aplenty! Over the past two years, we have made some incredible connections in behavioral health because of the advocacy work we’ve been doing with our podcast, and much of those fruits can be seen in the caravan of experts we’re bringing to Denver—as well as those we’ll be speaking with while there.

Who are you bringing to this event, and why?

Walker: In addition to the vendors mentioned previously, we also will enjoy meeting up with Valant Behavioral Health EHR, the folks at Zen Charts EHR, and many other organizations we’ve enjoyed working with and have interviewed on our show. Also attending will be one of our popular cohosts Melissa Richards, who is a counselor in Miami, Florida. She is part of our regular line-up and will be there to help do the live interviews. Her spirit is infectious and I like surrounding myself with those kind of positive forces for good in the world!

What meetings do you have lined up so far–anything you’re particularly excited about?

I have to say, I’m most excited about sitting in on the sessions to be led by guests we’ve interviewed previously on the show. They’re all people we admire for their hard work in this field.

I’ll also get some face time with the vendors we work with in the EHR space, since my day job is as a technology consultant. And I am extremely excited to meet with Keith Houlihan, whose company is our first corporate sponsor for the radio show. Also of note: Dr. Darrin Hanna the CTO of NextStep Solutions, Inc. may be flying his plane in (Yes, he is also a pilot) so that’s exciting. We always enjoy spending time together as well as with his CEO, Dave Ballenberger. This is their first time at NCAD as vendors with a booth. I hope to hear Darrin speaking at many events about his field of study: Artificial Intelligence!

Many vendors and presenters are already carving out time to come by the media room and do live sound bytes. There isn’t enough time to meet with everyone and we have to make it to not only the vendor floor but the sessions being held by presenters. We’ll continue to interview people involved with this years NCAD long after the conference is over! Once we sign on to promote a cause, we do not stop with the event at hand.

Who have you interviewed so far, and what are the biggest insights you took away from those interviews? 

Too many to count! But to name a few, we’ve connected with:

Dr. Stephanie Covington, codirector of the Institute for Relational Development and Center for Gender & Justice; (I learned about the difference she is making with female prisoners. Stephanie is an inspiring woman. It was a great pleasure to share time with her).

Ben Cort, director of professional relations for the Center for Addiction Recovery and Rehabilitation (CeDAR) at the University of Colorado Hospital; (Ben is a maverick – we got into it on our show about topics many might shy away from. Ben was all in and I dig that about him!)

Lori Jean Glass, executive director of clinical operation for Five Sisters Ranch; (Soul sister. We connected right away. Talk about yet another positive force for good in the world!)

Dr. Darrin Hanna, the CTO of NextStep Solutions, Inc. (One of my dear friends. Admiration for him and the work he does in the world is not compliment enough. One of the best humans I know.) (The first company to become an official sponsor of our podcast.)

It wouldn’t be fair to skip out on mentioning anyone we’ve interviewed so please visit our dedicated page HERE for a list of all of our interviews to date with regards to NCAD.

Each interview offers its own nuggets of inspiration, based on an expert’s area of expertise, their personal experiences, and their biggest ambitions for this space. But I’d say the biggest insights from my vantage point are always in how refreshing it is to speak with people who have so much depth and dedication to their field. These are the real deals in behavioral health, and we get into it—precisely what that means—on each show. Because of the candid conversations started on this show, I’m proud to say most people I speak with leave their interviews as friends, which is always an honor for me. These experts don’t shy away from talking about their work with a focus on serving others, and I’m honored to help advance those messages to a greater audience.

Any tips for people heading to this conference on how to make the most of their time there? (or where the best grub is?)

Walker: I have been to Denver four times this year for various conferences and I’d say Jax Fish House is the best place to eat. Their Oyster Bar is amazing. Wherever you end up grubbing, grab your tablets, laptops, or paper and pen and get ready to be blown away by the education you’ll receive from the session presenters at this conference. Each time I’ve been in Denver listeners of the show like to get together and take us out to dinner which is pretty awesome!

What about people who can’t make the trip to Denver–how can they still reap the benefits without being there in person?

Walker: While I encourage anyone with the means and the availability to get to Denver to do so, it’s absolutely not required to be there in person to reap some of the benefits. That’s why we’re there! So listen to our podcasts with all of the presenters and partake in the great conversations I know we’ll be having. Is there a presenter or two whose message or insights especially spoke to you? Look them up on social media, so you can catch them in person if they make it to a city near you.

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