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Kristin Canan, MSW ’14

Connecting young adults with addiction and mental health resources

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Kristin Canan

Serving in clinical leadership, advocacy, outreach and program development roles for nearly a decade, Kristin Canan has been walking beside individuals who have experienced trauma and attempted to cope using numbing mechanisms such as substance use, eating disorders, self-harm and suicidality. Today Canan is national clinical outreach director at Recovery Campus in Birmingham, Alabama, where she partners with colleges, universities, young adults and other mental health providers nationwide to ensure that young adults who are struggling with addiction and other mental health disorders get connected to the resources they need to establish and maintain recovery. Canan also works on awareness-raising efforts for collegiate recovery program development and contributes to Recovery Campus magazine.

Her Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) master’s degree with a Mental Health concentration prepared her for this role by emphasizing both micro and macro approaches. Canan says she was able to enhance her clinical skills while also learning how to apply them in community, interpersonal and leadership capacities. “[GSSW's multifaceted education] gave me a strong foundation to build upon as I stepped into program development and clinical leadership positions to enhance organizational structure, staff support and service quality,” Canan says.

Canan also valued professional experiences of faculty members, many of whom maintain active clinical practices outside of their teaching. “These faculty members provided strong examples to utilize and dissect as we developed assessment, intervention and therapeutic skills throughout the program,” Canan says.

Canan reports that the best part of her GSSW experience was developing relationships with faculty members, who continue to be some of her greatest mentors, colleagues and friends. So it’s not surprising that her advice to other GSSW students is to take the time to get to know their professors. “They are phenomenal assets to your education and will continue to be resources for you as you progress through your career,” Canan says.

“An education that emphasized both micro and macro approaches supported me in enhancing my clinical skills while teaching me how to apply them in community, interpersonal and leadership capacities. This gave me a strong foundation to build upon as I stepped into program development and clinical leadership positions.” — Kristin Canan, MSW ’14, National Clinical Outreach Director, Recovery Campus