Author: 
Angelique Wilkins, Vice President, Communications and Meetings, CADCA

CADCA's VP of Communications and Meetings Reflects on Training in a Global Pandemic

This summer, CADCA will host the 20th Annual Mid-Year Training Institute. As CADCA’s Vice President of Communications and Meetings, I have a unique perspective on our organization’s events, including our efforts to continue to host signature training events in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic. 

This time last year, CADCA had just completed our 30th Annual National Leadership Forum, held in-person at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. As we prepared to host our next in-person event, the Mid-Year Training Institute in Nashville, Tennessee, we saw the COVID-19 pandemic grip our nation and made the difficult decision to quickly pivot from an in-person event to an online training experience.

While we were confident our network of prevention advocates would approach this experience with enthusiasm and a positive mindset, we were truly astounded by the support we received from the field. In total, almost 3,000 substance misuse prevention professionals, federal and corporate partners and community advocates joined us as we navigated the virtual training landscape for the very first time!

Nearly one year later, we have just completed our second virtual signature training event and are preparing for the third—this year’s Mid-Year Training Institute. As I look back on the past year, I am struck by an overwhelming sense of gratitude for those of you who made my work possible. Without your tireless commitment to improving your communities through substance use and misuse prevention training, even as we collectively felt the vast impact of the pandemic, the prevention movement would have come to a standstill.

Your unrelenting efforts have provided the fuel for communities across the world to stay safe, healthy and drug-free. While we were forced to physically distance ourselves from one another, each of you committed to serving a community that you could not see in person.

As we look forward to July 11-15, 2021 for our 20th Annual Mid-Year Training Institute, it is so fitting that this year’s theme is “Every Day CADCA Trains: Community Coalition Leaders.” This event will serve as CADCA’s opportunity to celebrate your leadership and build on the prevention skills you bring to your communities each day. Moreover, it will give our field the opportunity to reflect on the past 20 years of this incredible signature training event and plan for building sustainability to carry us through the next 20 years of substance use and misuse prevention work in communities worldwide.

I am confident anyone who takes part in this experience will leave Mid-Year with the strategies, resources and connections to reinvigorate your work. I am equally confident that, as I look back on this experience one year from now, I will again feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude to those of you who made CADCA’s 20th Annual Mid-Year Training Institute possible.

See you in July,

Angelique Wilkins

Vice President, Communications and Meetings