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Biography and Statement - Paul H. Earley, MD, DFASAM

Candidate for President-Elect

What are your greatest contributions to ASAM and the field of addiction medicine? How would your election benefit ASAM and the field of addiction medicine?

My career in Addiction Medicine and ASAM has focused in three areas. My first area of involvement is in the governance of ASAM itself. I joined ASAM in 1987 and have remained active continuously since that time. My journey started when three of us founded the Georgia ASAM Chapter in the late 1980s. I joined the Board in 1995 and remained in several capacities until 2005. After a hiatus, I returned to the Board as a Director-at-Large in 2010 and remain in this position to this day. Like all society Boards, ASAM should continuously sharpens its focus on improving the field of Addiction Medicine. I believe I provide a historical perspective that balances its decisions and direction.

In the 1990’s, I was a key organizer and founding chairperson of two ASAM Committees. As the founder of the State Chapters Committee, I helped develop protocols to establish state chapters across the United States. We mentored chapter formation and state membership recruitment. We established organizational protocols where key ASAM policies would be vetted through the state chapters’ council. This empowered our state chapters, increasing their voice in an organization that was, at the time, driven primarily by “top down” forces.

In the late 1990s, our membership was decreasing. At the request of Jim Callahan (the ASAM EVP at the time), I worked hand-in-hand with the ASAM staff in developing membership retention procedures. The Membership Campaign Taskforce determined where our member losses were occurring and targeted specific responses to keep ASAM strong. Some of these membership retention services remain in place today. More recently, I have returned to the chair of the membership committee.

For a brief time, I was course as co-chair of the ASAM Review Course. Dr. Levounis was and is the prime mover in the constant evolution of that course. The ASAM Staff, as always, keep improving its execution. As co-chair I helped nurture this course to its high ratings by attendees. I have been a member of the ASAM Exam Committee (prior to ABAM), the finance committee and a member and the chair of the Physicians’ Health Committee. I have been a co-author of seven ASAM public policies. I have chaired the ASAM Fellow committee for the past eight years and am a member of the Nominations and Awards Committee. In my 30 years in addiction medicine, these committees have seen my commitment to both the heart and science of addiction care.

My second area of focus is physician health. This comes from my work as the Medical Director of two nationally known treatment programs specializing in the treatment of addicted health care professionals. Some of ASAM’s members develop an interest in addiction medicine from their personal struggle with addiction and success in recovery. Recovering physicians are attuned to the importance of, and advocate for proper addiction treatment for all Americans. The startling success of addiction treatment in physicians also provides a wealth of data on treatment efficacy; physician treatment models serve as a model for effective chronic disease management. Towards these ends, I am the author of the chapter titled Addiction among Physicians in the past three editions of ASAM’s Principles of Addiction Medicine. I speak nationally and internationally on addiction among physicians. I revitalized the ASAM Physician Health Committee in the 2000s and served as it chair until recently.

The third area of service enters into the science of the ASAM Criteria (formerly the PPC-2R). Starting with federal grants obtained in 2000, our software company developed a research version of the ASAM PPC-2R. Based upon the research of David Gastfriend, this software program uses a structured patient interview to determine the proper level of addiction care for an individual. The software has since been used in clinical trials in the United States, Iceland, Belgium and Norway. I collaborated with other colleagues as the lead developer of two other assessment tools, the ASAM PPC-2R Triage and the ASAM Recovery Support Services Assessment. These tools use a guided patient interview and critical path analysis to rapidly and accurately assess a patient’s need for treatment and support services. When ownership and legal difficulties emerged, I shepherded both these tools to their rightful owner, ASAM, who now own them completely free of royalty. I am also a minor author to the ASAM Criteria, as author of the chapter on addiction care for Safety Sensitive Workers.

I have collaborated in research projects with several publications, written two books about addiction treatment and championed addiction treatment with multiple national media appearances. I have a lifelong commitment to the heart of Addiction Medicine and ASAM. I hope to keep ASAM’s focus on improving treatment through science and innovation. I meld years of expertise in treatment with entrepreneurial acumen; this will help keep ASAM strong long into the future. I deeply believe that it is important to meld behavioral, psychological, support group attendance and medication management together when building addiction care. The resulting amalgam ensures our patients will find and enjoy a substantive recovery from this pervasive and devastating disease.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Earley has been an Addiction Medicine Physician for 30 years. He treats all types of addictive disorders and specializes in the assessment and treatment of health care professionals. As a therapist, he works with patients already in recovery, providing long term therapy for those who suffer from this disease. His professional expertise extends to advocacy for professionals before agencies and licensing boards.

Dr. Earley is a dynamic speaker and educator; he speaks and trains on topics of addiction, its treatment and addiction among health care professionals. In addition, he trains therapists about the neurobiological basis of psychotherapy. In his travels, he has provided training in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy and Switzerland.

He is the author of two books and numerous articles on addiction and its treatment. He is a contributing author to the ASAM Textbook: Principles of Addiction Medicine, as author of the chapter: Physician Health Programs and Addiction among Physicians. He is a contributing author to the ASAM Criteria. His most recent book Recovery Mind Training is published by Central Recovery Press.

His work was featured in the documentary series on addiction entitled Close to Home by Bill Moyers. Dr. Earley is a Fellow of ASAM and has been on the board of ASAM for over 14 years in several capacities and is currently a director-at-large. He has been the Medical Director of two nationally acclaimed addiction programs specializing in the care of addicted health care professionals. Currently, Dr. Earley is the Medical Director of the Georgia Professionals Health Program, Inc., the Physicians Health Program (PHP) for the state of Georgia in the U.S. With Earley Consultancy, LLC, he works with numerous treatment facilities, providing training in cohesive care, treatment effectiveness and staff development.

Dr. Earley is the recipient of the ASAM Annual Award in 2015. ASAM states the award is presented “For outstanding contributions to the growth and vitality of our Society, for thoughtful leadership in the field, and for deep understanding of the art and science of Addiction Medicine” and “For expanding the frontiers of the field of Addiction Medicine and broadening our understanding of the addictive process, through research and innovation.”

Dr. Earley discloses the following financial relationships:

  • Salary as the Medical Director of the Georgia Professionals Health Program, Inc.
  • Salary from Earley Consultancy, LLC.
  • Speaker for Alkermes, Inc.
  • Vice President for Medical Affairs, DynamiCare, Inc.

Dr. Earley is the president-elect of the Federation of State Physician Health Programs, Inc.