Center City, Minn. (Jan. 12, 2022) – Kevin Doyle, EdD, has been promoted to president and CEO of the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies, a school focused on training and educating in-demand counselors to lead the treatment and recovery field as the U.S. continues to grapple with an overdose and addiction crisis as well as a global COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Doyle was hired as dean of the school one year ago. Following the retirement last fall of longtime Provost Valerie Slaymaker, PhD, the school's Board of Governors restructured the school's bylaws to create a president and CEO role that centralizes leadership and fits best practices in higher education accreditation. In the new role, which encompasses aspects of both the former dean and provost positions, Dr. Doyle reports to the Board of Governors while also serving on the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation senior leadership council and working closely with Hazelden Betty Ford President and CEO Joseph Lee, MD, and the nonprofit's executive team. Dr. Doyle has been the graduate school's interim president and CEO since September.
"After more than two decades as an accredited graduate school, we are delighted to select Dr. Doyle to serve as our first President and CEO, a role that reflects our continued evolution and the health, maturity and strength of our institution today," said Mary Pattiz, who chairs the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies Board of Governors. "With Dr. Doyle at the helm, and the school even better aligned with higher education best practices, we are poised to be an educational force of healing and hope for years to come."
"I am humbled and honored by the Board's trust in me, confident because we have such an outstanding faculty and staff, and excited for all that we will accomplish together in the future with and on behalf of our students," added Dr. Doyle, who earned his doctorate in counselor education from the University of Virginia and is licensed as a professional counselor and substance use treatment practitioner in Virginia.
Substance use disorder counseling is an increasingly specialized area of behavioral health, serving patients who have complex substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders. Employment in the field is projected to grow 25% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.1
With both onsite and distance-learning options, the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School typically enrolls more than 200 students each year in two addiction counseling programs. While focused on the treatment of substance use disorders, both programs also include coursework on mental health and co-occurring disorders—preparing students to provide integrated, comprehensive care consistent with best practices in health care. Graduates taking licensing and certification examinations have a 99.5% exam pass rate, and 92% of graduates are successfully employed within six months of graduation.2
Under Dr. Doyle's leadership in 2021, enrollment grew by 7% over 2020. And, as a new semester kicked off this week, the school is also planning its first in-person commencement—to be held April 22—since 2019. In each of the past two years, commencement was held virtually due to COVID-19-related risks.
"We are excited to recognize and honor our graduates in-person again as they go out into the world to help individuals, families and communities overcome substance use and mental health conditions amid an escalating overdose epidemic and unrelenting COVID-19 pandemic," Dr. Doyle said.
Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission, the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies upholds the highest standards of academic excellence and professional competence. The school is preparing to also pursue accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), which is gaining significance as states update licensure requirements and more students pursue their higher education via distance learning.
Prior to joining the Hazelden Betty Ford team last January, Dr. Doyle was at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., where he served as a professor of counselor education and chair of the Department of Education and Counseling, leading the school's master's degree in counseling program. He also maintained a private counseling practice, specializing in group work with people who have substance use disorders, including health care professionals.
"Dr. Doyle has a deep and unique combination of experience and knowledge in both clinical settings and higher education, and more importantly, has shown over the past year that he brings the kind of spirit to his work that motivates and inspires hope and possibility," said Hazelden Betty Ford President Dr. Lee, who serves on the graduate school's Board of Governors. "The pandemic has revealed and exacerbated how many people are hurting, increasing demand and underscoring the incredible need nationally for excellently trained addiction and mental health counselors. Countless students and, in turn, patients around the world will benefit from Dr. Doyle's leadership in the coming years."
The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is the nation's largest nonprofit provider of addiction and mental health care, recovery resources, and related education, prevention, research and advocacy. For more than 50 years—longer than any other institution in the United States—the Foundation has prepared counselors to help individuals and families reclaim their lives from the disease of addiction.
The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is a force of healing and hope for individuals, families and communities affected by addiction to alcohol and other drugs. As the nation's leading nonprofit provider of comprehensive inpatient and outpatient addiction and mental health care for adults and youth, the Foundation has treatment centers and telehealth services nationwide as well as a network of collaborators throughout health care. Through charitable support and a commitment to innovation, the Foundation is able to continually enhance care, research, programs and services, and help more people. With a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center, the Foundation today is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion in its services and throughout the organization, which also encompasses a graduate school of addiction studies, a publishing division, an addiction research center, recovery advocacy and thought leadership, professional and medical education programs, school-based prevention resources and a specialized program for children who grow up in families with addiction.