Patrick J. Kennedy to Speak at Largest Gathering of Policy Makers and Opioid Addiction Treatment Experts in the U.S. | The Kennedy Forum

Patrick J. Kennedy to Speak at Largest Gathering of Policy Makers and Opioid Addiction Treatment Experts in the U.S.
March 9, 2018

AATOD Conference will convene national experts in pursuit of solutions for combating the opioid crisis

New York, N.Y./ March 9, 2018 – The American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence, Inc. (AATOD) will host its 2018 Conference March 10 – 14, 2018 at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square. More than 1,800 treatment providers and policy officials from every state will unite to explore the use of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder; discuss collaboration between treatment programs and community partners; examine methods to promote, support, and integrate MAT into judicial and penal systems, government, and social service organizations; and more.

Patrick J. Kennedy, founder of The Kennedy Forum and lifelong mental health advocate, will speak on March 14. In addition to sharing unique insights from his time in Congress and his journey in long-term recovery, Kennedy will discuss the complexities of addiction treatment within our current health care system; the importance of technology and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in expanding access to and quality of care; the need for full enforcement of the Federal Parity Law; and his experience serving on The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.

“When it comes to addressing our nation’s opioid epidemic, improving access to medication-assisted treatment is a logical step in moving from words to action. I am honored to be part of the largest gathering of professionals in the opioid treatment community and look forward to connecting with MAT providers, policymakers, peers, and advocates as we strive to achieve true health care reform, integrated systems of delivery, and evidence-based responses to the greatest public health crisis of our time,” said Kennedy.

Other featured speakers include:

  • The Honorable Chris Christie, former Governor of New Jersey and Chairman of the President’s Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis
  • Jason A. Helgerson, MPP, Deputy Commissioner/New York State Medicaid Director, New York State Department of Health Office of Health Insurance Programs
  • Kathleen Maurer, MD, Director of Health and Addiction Services and Medical Director, Connecticut Department of Corrections
  • Mark Friedlander, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Aetna Behavioral Health
  • The Honorable Elinore McCance-Katz, MD, Assistant Secretary for Health and Substance Use, United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

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About The Kennedy Forum
Founded in 2013 by former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.), The Kennedy Forum leads a national dialogue on transforming the health care system by uniting mental health advocates, business leaders, and government agencies around a common set of principles, including full implementation of the Federal Parity Law. Launched in celebration of the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s signing of the landmark Community Mental Health Act, the nonprofit aims to achieve health equity by advancing evidence-based practices, policies, and programming for the treatment of mental health and addiction issues. The Kennedy Forum publishes frequent issue briefs and is a repository of other educational resources and tools focused on parity. To learn more, visit