New alcohol and drug counselor comes to campus

This past Monday, Joshua Ellow assumed the position of alcohol and other drugs counselor and educator.

Ellow holds a Master of Science in Clinical and Counseling Psychology with a concentration in addiction studies from Chestnut Hill College and has, until recently, worked at the outpatient treatment center Brandywine Counseling and Community Services in Delaware as a clinical supervisor, providing therapies for addiction recovery patients.

Beth Kotarski, Worth Health Center director described Ellow as “enthusiastic” and a “great listener.” Another member of the hiring board, Razi Shaban ’16, vice president of DART, described him as “open” and “flexible.”

Shaban stated that the responsibilities of the AOD have expanded and will now also encompass efforts for broader education regarding issues of drug and alcohol usage.

“One of the things we want to do with the new position is a kind of a broader educational programmatic shifts,” Shaban said. “We want to work at a campus level to try to shift drinking and drug culture. Those are things that didn’t really fall under the purview of the old position, but those are things that I’m pretty confident that Josh will be able to do.”

Ellow replaces Tom Elverson, the former AOD, fraternity brother and fraternity liaison that departed over the summer amidst controversy. In September, The Phoenix reported that Elverson had misrepresented his qualifications to sexual assault victims and was not certified to be a therapist or drug and alcohol counselor.

Kotarski attributes Ellow’s experiences both in treatment and needs assessment as great assets for fulfilling the responsibilities of the position.

“He comes with a lot of experience around the field of addictions and because of that he has insight into not just treatment, but also evaluating the needs here on campus,” said Kotarski. “He’ll be able to bring that experience to really look at a needs assessment and then be able to build a prevention model that looks at not just supporting folks once they are identified as having an alcohol and drug addiction, but also creating a supportive environment on campus that pays attention to the problem of high risk drinking, high risk drug use.”

Ellow’s on-the-field experiences and managerial abilities, as well as the positive results he has obtained from his programs greatly appealed to the college.

“His program actually ended up having the highest patients satisfaction rate in all of Delaware and we were all impressed by that,” President of DART Corinne Sommi ‘14 said.

The college has been seeking an individual who would be an advocate for the students, and Ellow, Sommi said, will be a good resource for students.

“He’s going to be a really great asset to not only give insight to policy changes, and handling drinking on campus, but I also think he’s going to be a great resource to people who end up getting in trouble and really need someone to turn to on campus,” said Sommi.

Ellow hopes to assist in consolidating the college’s position on the issue and to collaborate closely with the community.

“Within my transition, I hope to establish a clear understanding of the College’s current goals, strengths, and barriers regarding alcohol and other drug use,” said Ellow. “Accordingly, I have been researching some evidence-based approaches to assist in process. Once identified, I would like to work closely with students, and fellow staff, as means to promote overall health from an individual and community viewpoint.

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