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National author and advocate David Sheff to speak at CMU about addiction, recovery and the story of his family’s journey

CMU Civic Forum and St. Mary’s Medical Center partner for a community wellness event

David Sheff reached #1 on the New York Times best seller list after authoring Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through his Son’s Addiction. Following this success, Amazon produced a film based on the novel featuring Steve Carell and Timothy Chalamet that received critical acclaim.

On Friday, March 27 at 12:30pm in the CMU Love Recital Hall, Sheff will share his story and join regional health care leaders to discuss community addiction. St. Mary’s Medical Center Addiction Medicine Clinic Director Dr. Ryan Jackman will introduce Sheff.

“Having traveled the world speaking about addiction and community wellness, I am convinced universities will play an important role in fighting addiction through education, research, and by bringing visibility to this critical societal challenge,” said Sheff. “I am excited to visit western Colorado and am pleased by the invitation from St. Mary’s Medical Center and Colorado Mesa University.”

Tickets are available to the community, health care advocates and providers. A question and answer session will follow remarks from Sheff.

In addition to his writing, Sheff has also contributed to addiction awareness through advocacy. Beautiful Boy was just the start of his efforts to understand addiction and his next work included, Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy. This work was also a New York Times best seller and resulted from Sheff and his efforts to research the disease of addiction and its relationship to the nation’s drug challenges. Sheff believes addiction and drugs are among the “most significant public health issues of our time.”

Sheff has received honors from the Partnership for Drug-free Kids, the College of Problems on Drug Dependence, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Sheff is also the first recipient of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry Arts and Literature Award. Beyond organizational accolades, Sheff has acquired recognition for his work from the New York Times, the Times of London and has contributed to publications and projects that include HBO’s Addiction: Why Can’t They Just Stop.

Sheff is a contributor to the New York Times magazine, The New York Times, Wired, Rolling Stone, Outside, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Playboy, Esquire and Observer Magazine in England, and Foreign Literature in Russia and Shueisha.

Demonstrated by this personal bio, Sheff has interviewed artist and dissident Ai Weiwei, Steve Jobs, Ansel Adams, nuclear physicist Ted Taylor, Congressman Barney Frank, Tom Hanks, Betty Friedan, Keith Haring, Jack Nicholson, Carl Sagan, Salman Rushdie, Fareed Zakaria and others. He also wrote an award-winning documentary about John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and a radio special about Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, both for National Public Radio.

“Hosting David Sheff is a great way for CMU to join the national conversation about challenges facing rural Colorado that include addiction,” said CMU President Tim Foster. “St. Mary’s Medical Center is doing a lot to address this issue and I am glad to see CMU faculty, students and community partners bringing the national discussion to western Colorado.”

During the moderated question and answer session, CMU Director of the Physician Assistant Program Amy Bronson, PA-C, EdD, will moderate the community dialogue. She will be joined by CMU Assistant Professor of Nursing Lucy Graham, PhD, as well as Dr. Jackman and Jessica Stephen Premo, PhD, behavioral health coordinator and certified addiction counselor at the Addiction Medicine Clinic. Also joining the conversation is CMU Vice President for Student Services John Marshall.

Dr. Bette Schans is the health sciences director at CMU and is pleased to see the university engaging in a national dialogue.

“CMU health sciences is working to create the next generation of nurses and health providers who have knowledge about issues like addiction and can contribute to a holistic, community-wide approach to treatment and prevention,” said Schans.

Prior to remarks by Sheff, Jackman will discuss how St. Mary’s and its community partners are working to improve knowledge of addiction in our community, as well as increasing access to individualized and integrated treatment and recovery resources in western Colorado. 

“As a community, if we are going to address addiction and addiction related health issues we will need a unified response as a community to tackle subjects like stigma, supporting persons in recovery, and understanding the disease of addiction and its treatments head on. Strong community partnerships, like those with CMU, are crucial to this process,” said Jackman. “Our team is excited about this partnership opportunity with CMU.”

Seating is limited, and community members are encouraged to reserve their seat early.

Reserve your seat and participate in this CMU Civic Forum Event.



Written by David Ludlam