Melissa Doane-Williams Honored as Provider of Year by Virginia Community Health Association (VCHA)

Southwest Virginia Community Health Systems’ (SVCHS) New Day Recovery’s (NDR) Behavioral Health Program Manager, Melissa Doane-Williams, was honored as Provider of the Year by Virginia Community Health Association (VCHA) on Thursday, September 28, 2023 in Norfolk, Va.

Doane-Williams was nominated for her continued efforts to find and implement innovative treatments for patients of New Day Recovery, which include three Office-Based Addiction Treatment (OBAT) sites in Saltville, Bristol, and Tazewell, Va.

Doane-Williams is responsible for the behavioral health services at NDR including outpatient individual and group therapy, care coordination, and integration with Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) and PCP services. She has been working hard to figure out new and effective treatments for our patients who live with substance use disorders, medical illnesses, and mental health disorders. For example, she researched and initiated pet therapy in our Saltville NDR site including developing policy and procedures for pet-assisted therapies. She also initiated contingency management programming at our sites, which is an evidence-based and rarely implemented treatment for substance use disorder. In addition, Melissa developed a comprehensive plan to improve treatment for our patients with stimulant use disorder that we named our Community of Hope. Since stimulant use disorder does not have any FDA-approved MAT medications, behavioral health, and care coordination are the main modalities of treatment. Her approach is to really meet patients where they are with a heavy focus on social determinants of health and building community among our patients for the support they often lack at home.

Director of Behavioral Health, Marcy Rosenbaum, LCSW, said, “Her leadership has helped the NDR staff imagine and implement new treatment and program initiatives with quite a difficult and complicated patient population who are one laced fentanyl pill away from overdose. SVCHS is a rural area with barriers to care including transportation, unemployment, food insecurities, and the severe community stigmatization of substance use disorder, mental health treatment, and MAT. If it weren’t for NDR, most patients wouldn’t get to substance disorder treatment and if they did, it wouldn’t include a full array of integrated services.”

Doane-Williams’ leadership at SVCHS has engaged other staff in awareness and advocacy for patients with substance use disorders. She also leads NDR BH staff in community outreach and building referral pathways for people who would benefit from our services. For example, she recently led a group of NDR staff in collaboration with a regional prison to develop community reentry programs. She encourages other staff to engage with community service partners. Melissa’s example and leadership style demonstrate an ability to encourage her staff to be creative in their programming and then help them get what they need, whether it be tangible items or emotional support, to be and do their best.

Doane-Williams’ most recent achievement is the oversite of a stimulant use disorder closed group study that utilized an OCD approach and group cohesion. Early results show significant improvement in abstaining from stimulant use. She includes all disciplines and input on treatment planning and operational decision-making from the most effective and efficient placement of offices to the most evidence-based treatment services for integrated medical and behavioral health services for people with substance use disorders.

Rosenbaum said, “Melissa is also a role model for treating patients with dignity, no judgments, and only compassionate, effective treatment.”

SVCHS has NDR sites in Saltville, Va., Bristol, Va., and Tazewell, Va. For more information, call 276-496-4492.