9/16/20 - A Message from Secretary Hou: Bright Spot – Dani Kirby, Director of SUPR

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Dear IDHS Staff,

Today I would like to congratulate Dani Kirby, our Director of the Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery (SUPR), for receiving the 2020 National Recovery Month Planning Partners' Ramstad/Kennedy Award for Outstanding Leadership. Please see an excerpt from the organization's press release, below.

Dani Kirby was honored for her leadership in recovery support programs across Illinois and nationally. The award was established in honor of Congressmen Jim Ramstad and Patrick J. Kennedy. The two Congressmen have been vocal advocates of recovery support services in all forms, and championed localized efforts to support prevention, treatment and recovery.

"Now, more than ever, recovery leaders are essential to our ability to address historic rates of overdoses and suicides," said Patrick J. Kennedy, founder of The Kennedy Forum. "People like Dani Kirby are not only serving the communities in which they work, they are also serving their country. We are extremely grateful for her hard work and dedication."

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recognizes that long-term recovery is not only possible, but is the goal of addiction treatment and recovery support programs. The 2020 honoree has worked to spread this positive message and the message that prevention can be effective in helping to break the cycle of addiction in families.

Dani Kirby established an ambitious agenda to promote recovery and change the narrative of "addiction" in Illinois and to eliminate the stigma that so frequently accompanies the treatment and recovery journey for individuals with substance use disorders and their children and families. She has vigorously promoted recovery concepts and applied them to public policy and funding opportunities. She addressed stigma through innovative public awareness campaigns as well as including persons with lived experience at decision making tables, showing others in strategic roles the importance of making recovery visible. She has been a strong supporter of National Recovery Month and has worked to bring understanding of the value of evidence-based FDA approved medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and recovery and advocated for its acceptance in Illinois.

"Dani Kirby has been in this position for less than two years, and yet has shown an energetic and inclusive spirit in supporting and promoting recovery community organizations and recovery resources for the present and future benefit of Illinois families and communities," said Sis Wenger, President and CEO of the National Association for Children of Addiction (NACoA), a Recovery Month Planning Partner."

Congratulations again, Dani and to the outstanding SUPR staff! We can't thank you enough for the important work that you do every day for SUPR and for our agency. We couldn't be happier to see you recognized on a national level for your work.



Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS