CADCA’s 32nd Annual National Leadership Forum is the premier and largest training event for community-based substance use and misuse prevention leaders. This year, Forum returns in-person and will be held from January 31 – February 3, 2022, at the Gaylord National Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. Forum is geared for all prevention leaders interested in making a positive impact in their community. The event offers trainings from top experts from the field, tools and strategies to advance prevention work, and the opportunity to network with thousands of advocates passionate about prevention.

CADCA’s Geographic Health Equity Alliance, a CDC-funded National Network, has worked closely with experts in the field to curate a number of sessions that are relevant for tobacco-prevention and control professionals. Check out our list below to view our recommended sessions. If you are interested in participating in this professional development opportunity, you still have time to register for CADCA’s Forum. You can also check out the rest of the event schedule and sessions on our training grid.

CADCA is committed to providing a safe, healthy and memorable Forum experience for its attendees. In partnership with our hotel and vendor partners, we have monitored and assessed local, state and federal guidelines and mandates for large gatherings to ensure extended protocols are in place on-site. Visit the Forum website to learn more about our vaccination requirement and our safety protocols.


GHEA Sessions:

An Inclusive Approach to Chronic Disease Prevention

Tuesday, February 1st 2:15 PM – 3:30 PM

Presenters: Karen Hacker, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Description: Dr. Karen Hacker will present on chronic disease as it relates to health equity and investing in previously underserved communities. This session will provide an overview of how the mission of CDC’s NCCDPHP to help people and communities prevent chronic disease and promote health and wellness for all, drives the center’s efforts to foster an inclusive and collaborative culture. The session will highlight examples of NCCDPHP’s efforts, research and programs to address health equity, including NCCDPHP’s partnership with CADCA through the Geographic Health Equity Alliance. The session will also discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated extant health disparities across the nation and amplified the importance of NCCDPHP’s work in health equity and social determinants.


Level the Field – Equity in Prevention

Tuesday, February 1st 4:00 PM – 5:15 PM

Presenter: Nigel Wrangham, CADCA Master Trainer

Description: “First, do no harm.” This statement, the oath taken by all health care professionals, should also apply to all coalition members and leaders, prevention activities and strategies to create drug-free communities. But how well do we follow it in practice? How intentional are we in ensuring that our work fosters justice, equity, dignity and inclusion for all people, especially those whose communities have historically been victimized, oppressed and marginalized? In this interactive session, we will explore the social determinants of health and how prevention activities can either enhance or obstruct them, depending on how committed we are to doing our work through the lens of health equity. The era of “prevention” relying mostly on imposing consequences and punishments upon youth and other vulnerable people is over; the age of leveling the playing field and grounding our efforts in equity is here. Bring your courage and critical thinking skills for a dynamic experience.


Shifting Mental Health and Substance Use Outcomes Using Tobacco Control Practices

Thursday, February 3rd 2:45 PM – 4:00 PM

Presenters: Taslim van Hattum, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Description: Causes and negative health outcomes of mental health and substance use are varied, yet the role of tobacco is inextricable linked to both, and approximately 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. has some form of mental health or substance use health condition, and these adults consume almost 40% of all cigarettes smoked. This session will cover what we can learn about preventing and mitigating negative mental health outcomes by both incorporating lessons learned from tobacco control, and also directly addressing tobacco as a negative determinant of health that impacts overall substance use and recovery outcomes.


Other Sessions We Recommend:

Have Faith! Youth Tobacco PUP Laws and Communities of Faith​

Thursday, February 3rd 9:00 AM – 10:15 AM

Presenters: Hala Mallah and Mona Abdallah-Hijazi, ACCESS/ ASAP Coalition

Description: This session discusses youth tobacco Possession, Use, and Purchase (PUP) laws, their role in tobacco control, often unfair consequences for youth and the concerns and opportunities they can pose for communities of faith, while looking toward alternatives.


Building a Network of Support for LGBTQ+ Youth – Prevention from the CORE

Tuesday, February 1st 11:30 AM – 12:45 PM

Presenters: Kevin McCloskey and Mike Freeman, CAN Coalition – Los Angeles LGBT Center

Description: This session will look at research, evidence-based practices and experience to identify the unique needs of LGBTQ+ youth and what systems, resources and networks effectively help to prevent substance misuse among this population. In this interactive session, participants will receive not only informative data, but participate in lessons and listen as others tell their own stories via video. Presenters will share practical examples and best practices in reaching this population, focusing on building systems that enhance community support, network development and a positive sense of self. These will include coalition youth engagement methods, media advocacy, systems of support (e.g., QChat, PFLAG, Hope Lab, Mental Health, TAG and Linkage to Care) and training adults who work with LGBTQ+ youth.


Health Equity and Substance Use Prevention: Getting Started at the Local Level

Wednesday, February 2nd 10:45 AM – 12:00 PM

Presenters: Loretta Jackson-Brown, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Natasha Underwood, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, and Mona Hijazi, ACCESS/ ASAP Coalition

Description: Health disparities are preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or opportunities between population groups. Health equity is achieved when disparities are eliminated, and individuals are provided the resources to reach optimal health. This presentation will introduce key health equity principles and how they are related to youth substance use prevention efforts. Presenters will highlight CDC activities that address health equity and substance use, including adverse childhood experiences protective factors. Presenters will also share tools and resources to help coalitions engage various populations in substance use prevention activities.


Beyond Adultism and Tokenism

Wednesday, February 2nd 10:45 AM – 12:00 PM

Presenters: Nigel Wrangham, CADCA Master Trainer

Description: As we strive to invite, include, and empower young people in our efforts to create safe and healthy communities, we often encounter two formidable enemies: Adultism and Tokenism. Adultism is defined by YouthBuild USA as “behaviors and attitudes based on the assumptions that adults are better than young people, and entitled to act upon young people without agreement.” Tokenism is defined by the Oxford English Language Dictionary as “the practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to do a particular thing, especially by recruiting a small number of people from underrepresented groups in order to give the appearance of sexual or racial equality within a workforce.”

Both of these insidious phenomena have kept youth locked out of equitable, empowered roles within the field of substance abuse prevention for decades. But times are changing. In this dynamic, interactive workshop, we will explore the attitudes, language, behaviors, and institutional norms that have perpetuated adultism and tokenism, and we will learn how to transform our coalitions and communities into vehicles for intergenerational equity. We will no longer simply invite youth to our table; we will build an inclusive table together with youth.


Culture is Prevention: How a Community Organization and a Tribal Community Coordinated to Support Effective Prevention

Thursday, February 3rd 10:45 AM – 12:00 PM

Presenters: Deanne Armstrong, DCCCA, Joanna Mitchell, Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Boys and Girls Club & PBPN Youth Outreach and Prevention Coalition

Description: Everyone working in prevention desires their strategic plan to be effective in reaching the desired targeted outcomes. One reason that prevention efforts may not reach the desired outcomes intended is that they fail to address the full cultural context in which substance misuse and other risky behaviors occur. Traditionally, prevention efforts to decrease risky behaviors have sought to identify and address decreasing their associated risk factors. Risk factors only tell one, incomplete part of a community’s story. Research suggests that prevention efforts serving tribal communities may focus too heavily on risk factors instead of considering the protective factors already present in the Native Community that help young people to resist engaging in substance misuse or other risky behaviors. Participants in this session will hear about best practices for non-native prevention specialists when partnering and supporting the tribal communities in creating and implementing a strategic prevention plan that includes the centering of cultural practices. They will learn that “Culture is Prevention” is meant literally for the Native population and operates from a strength-based approach that is more likely to reach the desired outcomes to meet the needs in the Native Community. A mixture of both evidence-based practices and practice-based evidence will create a strong and effective prevention plan. Ways to begin recognizing practice-based evidence will be discussed. Participants will hear stories and examples from a tribal member that leads the prevention planning efforts in her community. Cultural activities will be shared that help to bring balance to the traditional Native world and the western world that the Native people live in. Participants will hear about lessons learned and strategies being implemented in the tribal community targeting youth marijuana use and opioid overdose prevention. Facilitators will share the strategic planning process and collaboration that took place to get to where they are now, along with, hope and dreams for future planning.


All Times Listed are Eastern Standard Time