About Us

Stephen M. Taylor, MD, MPH, FASAM

Candidate for Region X Director

Biography and Statement

taylor-asam-election-2020

1. What are your greatest contributions to ASAM and the field of addiction medicine?

Until recent years, my contributions to ASAM have consisted of approximately 20 years of loyal, consistent membership in ASAM, attendance at ASAM events, such as the Annual Conference, and longstanding, uninterrupted certification in addiction medicine, dating back to the ASAM Certification that was offered in the early 2000’s. For many years I considered myself too inexperienced in the field and too junior to take leadership positions in ASAM.

In recent years, with encouragement from legendary ASAM giants like Dr. Marc Galanter, Dr. Lou Baxter, Dr. Lawrence Brown, Dr. Wesley Clark, Dr. Andrea Barthwell, Dr. Beth Howell and, most recently, Dr. Paul Earley – all of whom have served as role models and/or mentors to me to some degree or another – and commensurate with my leadership position directing the Player Assistance and Anti-Drug Program of the National Basketball Association and National Basketball Players Association, and my leadership position as a Chief Medical Officer of a startup addiction treatment company (in addition to serving on several boards that are related to the field of addiction medicine), I have come to understand the need for my services in a leadership role for ASAM and in the field of addiction medicine as a whole. I have also come to embrace the notion that participation at a leadership level in ASAM, both at the national and state level, is consistent with the lifelong passion I have had to help patients and families who suffer from the disease of addiction, but it allows me to work in concert with like-minded physicians as we hone and combine our expertise and our efforts for an absolutely essential cause.

Hence, I have stepped up my efforts during the last several years to participate and contribute to the work of the ASAM Legislative Advocacy Committee, including participating in last month’s (September 2019) ASAM Hill Day. Prior to that, I was privileged to be among the attendees of the initial meetings and financial contributors that voted for and enacted the formation of ABAM, the American Board of Addiction Medicine, which was instrumental in accomplishing the recognition of addiction medicine as a medical specialty. For the past year I have also been serving as the President of ALSAM, the Alabama Society of Addiction Medicine, which is the Alabama state chapter of ASAM, and in that capacity I have been a regular and consistent participant in the meetings and activities of the ASAM Chapters Council.

Clearly, I can do more for ASAM and I feel a need and a strong desire to do more for ASAM. I consider it unacceptable and inadequate that I have been an ASAM member for approximately 20 years, but I have only been active in ASAM committees for 3 – 4 years, and I am only now beginning to function as a part of ASAM leadership for the past 2 – 3 years. That said, the only way I can improve my involvement in ASAM is to increase my participation and contributions to ASAM, as I have done in recent years, and as I intend to continue to do as the Region X Director.

With respect to the broader field of addiction medicine, the story is quite different. I have toiled tirelessly, continuously and passionately as an advocate for patients and families suffering from the disease of addiction ever since I completed my fellowship in Addiction Psychiatry under Dr. Marc Galanter at NYU School of Medicine/Bellevue Hospital Center in 1996. I began work as a privately practicing addiction psychiatrist in that year, and I have continued to work in the field in several different capacities right up to the present. I have been a frequent speaker and educator at countless educational events in local communities where I have lived and visited, addressing issues of adolescent substance use disorders, prevention of substance abuse in adolescents, recognition and understanding of addiction disorders, and proper evidence-based treatment of patients with addiction disease. I have taught numerous professional societies (including physicians and other health care professionals), parents’ groups, church groups, community organizations, and children, teens and college and university students about various issues in the area of addiction medicine and addiction psychiatry. As just one of numerous examples I could cite, I have given an annual introductory 2-hour survey lecture on “Substance Use and Addiction Disorders in Adults and Adolescents” every year for at least the last 10 years to the students in a Pastoral Counselors’ class taught by Dr. Rachel Julian, a Birmingham psychiatrist and United Methodist Minister.

2. How would your election benefit ASAM and the field of addiction medicine?

My election would benefit ASAM by bringing to the ASAM Board an energetic, passionate “fresh face” to the ASAM Board of Directors in the person of someone who is nonetheless quite experienced in the field of addiction medicine and in the membership of ASAM. I have had the experience of directing a nationwide drug testing and treatment program for the past 12 years. I am currently serving at the C-suite level in a company that is opening and operating outpatient addiction treatment offices in several southern states (and that among my many responsibilities in both of these roles is the continued evaluation and treatment of patients). All of this experience, along with the experience documented in the previous question, has given me a rich but unique perspective on the field of addiction medicine, and it equips me to contribute to ASAM in a way that might complement the contributions of other leaders in ASAM.

Frankly, although I would have been much more active in ASAM membership and leadership at a much earlier age if I had it to do over again, it is a benefit that I am now at an age and a stage in life that I can commit to the responsibilities of a Regional Director without worrying about spending too much time away from young children at home (my children are young adults who own their own homes); and without worrying about lacking the flexibility or resources to attend the meetings that would be required of a Regional Director or to contribute to the Ruth Fox Fund.

My election would allow me to enhance ASAM’s increasingly powerful and influential leadership in the field of addiction medicine, ensuring that compassionate, patient-centered, evidence-based treatment and prevention efforts continue to determine the way this nascent medical specialty is shaped and advanced. My life history of growing up in a depressed inner-city community in New York City, where I later completed my residency and addiction fellowship, followed by over 20 years of living and working in Alabama gives me perspectives on the manifestations of addiction disorders in markedly disparate populations. My experience and expertise as a child and adolescent psychiatrist who has been board certified in that specialty for the past 20 years, as well as a professional with a Master of Public Health degree, makes me uniquely suited to engage in advocacy and leadership in the areas of substance abuse prevention and public advocacy for patients with substance use disorders. Both of these are areas that are increasingly important to ASAM and its mission.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Stephen Taylor is board-certified in general psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, and addiction medicine. In his 25 years of practice experience, and as an educator and presenter, Dr. Taylor’s life’s work has been to help adolescents and adults avoid or overcome addiction disorders and co-occurring general psychiatric disorders. Dr. Taylor is completing his 13th season as the Medical Director of the Player Assistance and Anti-Drug Program of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). Dr. Taylor also serves as the Chief Medical Officer of the Behavioral Health Division of Pathway Healthcare, a company that has opened and is operating 13 outpatient addiction treatment offices spread across Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas, and is currently working on opening additional offices in Louisiana and Virginia.

Dr. Taylor is a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). He is currently the president of the Alabama Society of Addiction Medicine (ALSAM) and is thus an active member of the ASAM Chapter’s Council. He has served on ASAM’s Legislative Advocacy Committee, and currently co-chairs the newly formed ASAM Writing Subcommittee on Advancing Racial Justice in Addiction Prevention, Treatment and Recovery. He also serves as an ASAM Representative to the AMA House of Delegates, and thus, is an Ex-Officio Member of the ASAM Board of Directors.

Dr. Taylor is a certified Medical Review Officer (MRO) and serves on the Board of Directors of the Medical Review Officer Certification Council (MROCC). He also serves on the Drug Testing Advisory Board (DTAB) of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and he serves on the Board of Directors of the Addiction Prevention Coalition, a non-profit community organization in Birmingham, AL.

An honors graduate of Harvard College, with a Master of Public Health degree from the Harvard School of Public Health and a medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine, Dr. Taylor completed residency training in pediatrics, psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Bronx Municipal Hospital Center, and then completed a fellowship in addiction psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine/Bellevue Hospital Center.