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Dr Arthur Evans to speak in New Zealand

Dr Arthur Evans to speak in New Zealand

Drug and Alcohol Practitioners’ Association Aotearoa–New Zealand (dapaanz) media release 4 September 2017

Dapaanz would like to inform New Zealand media that American Psychological Association CEO Dr Arthur Evans will be visiting New Zealand to speak at the Cutting Edge Addiction Conference in Wellington (6-9 September).

As we approach an election in New Zealand and grapple with issues like mental health, drug law reform and homelessness in our own country, this is a unique opportunity to interview someone who, in Philadelphia, “has successfully spearheaded systemwide change… de-stigmatising mental health issues and making services more accessible for our most vulnerable citizens.” [1]

As Commissioner of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Service, a $1.2 billion health care agency, Dr Evans realigned the agency’s treatment philosophy, service delivery models and fiscal policies to improve health outcomes and increase the efficiency of the service system.

In so doing he has demonstrated that evidence-based approaches to mental health, addiction and disability can transform a system into one where the most vulnerable, marginalised and disadvantaged people can begin to lead meaningful lives.

Improved outcomes for people accessing services have resulted in fewer inpatient admissions and visits to crisis centres, and significant cost savings that the city has reinvested into community-based services and supports.

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“My work with the department has been enormously fulfilling… I'm proud to have seen our system transform to a place where self-determination is now the expectation for people with intellectual disabilities, and recovery and resilience are the expectations for adults and children experiencing behavioural health challenges," Dr Evans said in a January 2017 media release.[2]

Dr Evans has been recognised nationally and internationally as an innovative and effective policymaker. Among his numerous awards, he was named by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy as an Advocate for Action in 2015. In 2013, he received the American Medical Association’s top government service award in health care, the Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service, for his leadership in transforming the Philadelphia behavioural health system, particularly around the adoption of a public health framework.

He is the author or co-author of 40 peer-reviewed research articles and of numerous chapters, reviews and editorials.

More about Dr Evans’ achievements:

Arthur C Evans Jr Named CEO of American Psychological Association,
American Psychological Association, 18 January 2017

City behavioral health commissioner Arthur Evans is leaving after 12 years,
Philly.Com, 18 January 2017

Mayor Announces Resignation of Dr Arthur Evans,
City of Philadelphia, 18 January 2017.

Cutting Edge

6-9 September 2017, Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, Wellington

The Cutting Edge Addiction Conference is held each year in a different place in New Zealand and usually attracts more than 400 delegates from the addiction treatment sector both here and overseas. It is chiefly organised by dapaanzwith support from the Health Promotion Agency, Matua Raki and the Ministry of Health.

The theme of the conference, Addiction is everybody’s business highlights the role we all have to play – from addiction counsellors and specialists to ordinary New Zealanders – in creating an integrated system of care that is truly responsive to people’s circumstances. It is in everybody’s interests that those experiencing addiction and their families/whanau receive the support they need to enter recovery.

So far as a society we have only tinkered around the edges of this and with little success, making voices like those of Dr Evans particularly important.

Find out more about Cutting Edge at

Dr Evans’ presentations

A population health framework for addressing addiction: the Philadelphia experience

Thursday 7 September 10am, Amokura Gallery

This presentation will present a framework for addressing mental health and addiction issues from a population health perspective. It will draw on examples from a decade-long transformation of the Philadelphia service system. This transformational work first focused on recovery as an overarching framework, but over time shifted to a population health perspective as its organising principle – emphasising that addiction and mental health issues are everyone’s business.

The presentation will provide a conceptual model, discuss why the city made these changes and touch on how thinking evolved over time within the community. Examples which range from the systematic implementation of evidence-based practices in treatment programmes to the use of community participatory art projects as a health promotion strategy will be provided in addition to the strategies that were employed to make large-scale change.

Employing strategies to change systems; changing addiction systems: how difficult could it really be?

Friday 8 September 2pm, Amokura Gallery

Changing service systems can be complex and challenging work. This highly interactive session will present strategies for transforming a large behavioural health system to a population-based framework.

Specific examples from transformation initiatives in Connecticut and Philadelphia will be presented and participants will be able to pose questions to the presenter regarding their efforts in transforming their own organisations or service systems.


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