Alumnae/i Feature

Enacting Change: Mike Duggan '18MSW Creates Resources for Those in Recovery

What does your job entail?

I'm the Director of Business Development for New England for Recovery Centers of America (RCA), which runs evidence-based drug and alcohol treatment centers throughout the Northeast. As a person in long-term recovery from a substance use disorder, I handle a diverse range of leadership responsibilities for the centers, from forging community partnerships to overseeing clinical programs and training staff. Recently, I helped open two new inpatient centers in Massachusetts — one of which I co-founded before merging it with RCA. I feel fortunate to be in a position where I can enact a lot of change by creating more inpatient resources for the region.

What brought you to Simmons?

As founder and CEO of Wicked Sober, a grassroots organization focused on treatment and awareness for substance use disorders (now a partner of RCA), I met a Simmons School of Social Work faculty member who encouraged me to apply. Pursuing my MSW helped me to develop comprehensive clinical skills to build on my background as a business manager, community organizer, and licensed interventionist.

How did Simmons prepare you?

The program’s rigorous coursework developed my diagnosis and treatment skills, expanded my knowledge of crisis intervention, and opened up new areas of knowledge, such as evidence-based practices for working with adolescents and gender and sexual minorities.

Kim Harriman, MSW, helped me obtain field placements that challenged me at a whole different level. I completed internships at Ellenhorn, a community-based outpatient mental health program in Arlington, Massachusetts, and the New England Center for Addiction Medicine in Danvers, Massachusetts. Simmons gave me a 360-degree view of how to best serve our patients.

Why is your job rewarding?

When you struggle with a substance use disorder, it’s easy to isolate and push people away because of the guilt and shame. So being able to open up a conversation and begin to work with a client without judgment is gratifying all by itself. But there’s nothing better than the hopeful, uplifting stories about people who have gone on to productive lives.

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