Meeting in Review: September 5, 2012
President David Klaus called the meeting to order at 12:30 p.m., asked all to silence their cell phones, and led the American members and guests in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Rotarian Dick Pyle provided words of inspiration with reflections on his visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame with his 8-year-old granddaughter and on his upcoming retirement.
President David introduced the following guests of Rotarians:
- Miguel Leonardo of Morgan Stanley, a guest of Rotarian Sheldon Ray and a prospective member;
- Carolina Klein of the International Monetary Fund, a guest of Rotarian Clara Montanez and a prospective member;
- Dr. John Dardis of Embassy of Ireland, where he is First Secretary for Agriculture and Food, a guest of Rotarian Steen Steensen and a prospective member;
- John Magnuson of INFINITY Solutions, a guest of Rotarian Larry Margolis and a prospective member; and
- Anne Von Moltke, a guest of Rotarian Antje Ruhfus and a prospective member.
President David then introduced one visiting Rotarian (and former member of our club!) from overseas: Ralph Hanan (classification: international development) from the Rotary Club of Queenstown, New Zealand.
President David then invited visiting Rotarians from around the United States to introduce themselves: – Tim Mertz (classification: banking) from the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rotary Club in Maryland.
Sergeant-at-Arms Peggy Schoen recognized all Rotarians with perfect attendance for July and August, since there were no birthdays to celebrate - a conspicuous lack of fertility among Rotarians’ parents on this day nine months ago!
President Davis Klaus honored two Rotarians that donated funds to the Rotary Foundation: Past President Howard Davis (Paul Harris fellow + 4) and President David himself (Paul Harris fellow + 5).
President David announced that there would be a Rotary Club Happy Hour held at the University Club on September 6 from 6 to 7 p.m. He also announced that Movie Night would be September 13 showing “some French film with handsome men and beautiful women, probably in some stage of undress” (do I note a hint of jealousy?? J). President David also announced that the Fundraiser Committee would gather after the meeting with Rotarian Laurie Husak to discuss a fundraiser tentatively scheduled for February 9, 2013, with a Mardi Gras theme. He added that the Grate Patrol was looking for volunteers for September 18 and 21. Volunteers should contact John Jackson.
Rotarian Glynis Long was then asked to stand by President David. She was being honored by The International Alliance for Women (TIAW), an organization that recognizes women who have made a significant impact on the empowerment of women through a wide range of endeavors. This year, one hundred recipients, including Glynis, made the list, together with Cherie Blair (former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s wife) and other amazing women from around the world. The club and guests gave Glynis an enthusiastic standing ovation for her commitment and dedication to improving the well-being of women.
New Rotarian Yoshiko Urakawa gave her New Member Talk. She explained what brought her to the United States: a posting at the World Bank that got her traveling extensively throughout Africa, where she became involved with global donors, at one point raising more than US$ 15 billion for Sub-Saharan Africa and traveling to Paris every month to meet prospective donors! (Now I was jealous!) Yoshiko retired from the World Bank after more than 30 years and wanted to get involved in helping the local community, which led her to join the Rotary Club.
New Rotarian Rhonda Poirier was welcomed by President David as a new member, given her Rotary pin, her red badge, and a star to affix to the banner of New Members.
President David also pointed out that a folder from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice, had been left behind at the New Member Orientation last week. Nobody claimed it – how strange…
Rotarian Asif Bhally introduced the meeting’s guest speaker, Johnny Allem, who brings 25 years of experience as a leading national advocate for addiction recovery. He served as Deputy Commissioner of Mental Health for the District of Columbia and has been active in DC politics since 1971. Mr. Alan’s addiction/recovery story was featured in Gary Stronberg’s book “Second Chances”.
Mr. Allem gave the example of a recent study conducted in D.C. to evaluate the health of 1,000 residents, used to identify the level of primary health of residents. Normal primary health exams, lasting no more than 15 minutes, cannot identify properly behavioral issues and/or addiction. However, based on research done by the National Institutes of Health, 70% of the residents will report safe use of alcohol (and other chemicals) or complete abstinence, 4% will test positive for severe addiction (and are the focus of intervention by Government health or enforcement institutions), and the last 26% show significant use of alcohol or other drugs but are not yet suffering the adverse effects. These people drink more than the safe limit recommended by the Federal Government, are starting to suffer adverse consequences at home and at work, and are likely to progress to an addiction diagnosis.
He pointed out that our society and health institutions fail to identify and warn people at risk of addiction, yet more than two thirds of the damage related to alcohol misuse, including automobile accidents and broken marriages, happen to the people in this category.
He was very critical of the nation’s ability to modernize treatment for addiction and mental illnesses. The U.S. health system takes care of the very sick at prohibitive costs, which result in marginal recoveries. Some 70% of people with addiction disorders have jobs and private health insurance, but paradoxically 80% of addiction treatment in America is paid for by the taxpayer. Employers see their staff fade in effectiveness due to addiction to alcohol (or other drugs). These employees eventually loose their jobs (and sometimes their families) before finally getting help in an overcrowded public system. It is a very expensive cost for business and society; alcohol is a chronic illness that adds $36 billion to the nation’s health care bill.
His mission is now to create a specialty clinic that addresses addiction disorders and that can bring early relief for people at risk, by providing care while the addicts are still employed, still have a family, and still have health insurance. His Aquina Recovery Center seeks to change how the health industry and large employers deal with addiction. He focuses on simple changes that can have far reaching impacts. Health care integration is one of his goals: Aquila functions as a specialty clinic that has a referral relationship with primary care physicians to identify and refer people suspect of addiction disorders. Early screening is a second goal: Mr. Allem encourages physicians to use the World Health Organization’s Odyssey screen, a five-minute test. Some 50% of the people who take the test and who are identified as being at risk change their behavior! Assessment for co-occurring disorders is a third goal: The clinic undertakes a full assessment of both physical and mental indicators. Research shows that many individuals suffer from depression as well as from addiction. Success depends on treating ALL co-occurring disorders simultaneously. Peer support is a fourth goal: The partnering with someone who has vanquished his or her addiction with someone who is just starting his or her journey is essential.
He gave a passionate and very convincing talk about the need to change the way that our society deals with addiction and the opportunities that Aquila offers for the treatment of addiction. Plenty of questions were answered after his presentation, reflecting the interest of the audience.
President David ended the meeting with the raffle. New Rotarian Monica Smith sold the tickets. Ken Kimbrough won the small pot, which held $40. He did not draw the ace of spades, hence the $231 will continue to grow.
Greeters were New Rotarians Jessica Hancock, Casey Mauldin, and Jim Adduci.
The Hospitality Table was manned by Rotarians Balraj Gupta, Ted Hamady, Norm Coe and Stu Shalloway.
The Meeting in Review was written by New Rotarian Jean-Pierre Lacombe.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:30 p.m.