Scott Washburn discusses public figures’ privacy with MinnPost

Scott Washburn, assistant director of Augsburg College’s StepUP® program, was one the experts interviewed by MinnPost for an article examining public figures’ right to privacy as well as the rights of the public figures’ significant others. The article examined an overarching theme that probed, “How much of a candidate’s own personal life should be made available for public debate?”

In responding to a question on whether it is appropriate for the mental health or addiction history of a political spouse or other family member to be made public, Washburn argued that sort of political playmaking goes over the line.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate at all,” Washburn said. “The candidate is running, not the family member. The electorate is voting for the candidate, not the family member. The family of a presidential candidate is going to be dragged into the public eye, but I think it’s important to respect some boundaries here. It’s an issue of respect and privacy. The candidate would be fair game from my perspective, but I don’t think family members should be. It just reflects how low things have gone in this political race.

All that being said, if the family member chooses to publically disclose his or her personal history, then that is a different conversation.”

Read additional responses from Washburn in “When is a public figure’s mental health or addiction status off limits?” on the MinnPost site.

Expert: Salmeri available to respond to President Obama’s address on substance abuse disorders, prescription drug addiction

Patrice Salmeri is director of Augsburg's residential collegiate recovery program

MINNEAPOLIS — Patrice Salmeri, director of Augsburg College’s StepUP® Program for students in recovery and President of the Association of Recovery in Higher Education, is a national expert available to talk to media about President Barack Obama’s announcement to bolster medial services for persons in recovery from substance abuse disorders.

When: Salmeri is available until 6:30 p.m., beginning immediately following President Barack Obama’s announcement. (Watch President Obama on the White House live stream at 2:15 p.m. EST at https://www.whitehouse.gov/live.)

What: Salmeri can address the importance of eliminating stigma by:

  • Shifting language used to describe these disorders. For instance, rather than using the term “addiction,” shifting to “substance abuse disorders” to recognize that addiction is a medical issue.
  • Treating substance abuse disorders as medical issues, not unlike society responds to diabetes or other chronic medical illnesses.
  • Ensuring those with substance abuse disorders can access mental health and substance use services as readily as other medical services.

How: Call Stephanie Weiss, director of news and media services, at 612.330.1476.

Full Bio: Patrice Salmeri is the Director of the StepUP® Program at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the largest residential collegiate recovery programs in the nation. She also serves as the President of the Association of Recovery in Higher Education.

She is a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, holds a Master’s Degree in Human Development specializing in leadership and spirituality, and also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Augsburg teaching courses related to chemical dependency. During Salmeri’s tenure as Director of StepUP, the program has experienced a 250 percent increase in the quantity of young people in recovery pursuing a college education.

In 2011, The U.S. Department of Education appointed Salmeri a Fellow for the United States Department of Education’s Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Violence Prevention. In 2013, The Association for Recovery in Higher Education presented Patrice with The Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Contribution to Collegiate Recovery.

Alex Peterson '16 interviewed for The Scientist

The ScientistAlex Peterson ’16 was interviewed for the cover story in the February edition of The Scientist magazine for an article titled “Pain and Progress: Is it possible to make a nonaddictive opioid painkiller.” Peterson, a student in Augsburg’s successful StepUP program for students in addiction recovery, shared his story and perspective on opioids. Read the article here.

Auggies reach Mt. Rainier summit

summitforsobrietyThe following is from an email sent by Andy Thomas and Thomas Chester, two Augsburg College students who climbed Mt. Rainier and raised money to provide assistance for young people seeking treatment for addiction.

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We are proud to announce to everyone who contributed, supported, and carried our message of hope that on July 1, at approximately 7:20 am, we successfully summited Mount Rainier. Thank you to everyone who has helped us reach our goals!

We woke up at 6:30 am Thursday, June 30, loaded our packs and joined our guides as we set off from Paradise at 5600 feet in elevation. It took most of the day, and despite a near white out and bad weather we reached Camp Muir at 10,000 feet at around 4 pm. Continue reading “Auggies reach Mt. Rainier summit”