International Association of Addiction and Offender Counselors

Editor’s note:
Information for each candidate, including biographical information, qualifications and reasons for seeking office is published below and in the December issue of Counseling Today. Online voting for all ACA, division and region elections will begin Dec. 1. The following answers are published as the candidates submitted them. They have not been edited.



Christine Chasek

I am thrilled and honored to be nominated for President Elect of the International Association of Addiction and Offender Counseling! IAAOC has been my home division over the course of my career and I am proud to be a member. I am passionate about addiction and offender counseling, having served in the field for 20 years as a clinician, educator, and advocate. I have held several leadership positions in IAAOC including the Legislative and Advocacy Chair, Membership Chair and task force member researching professional identity and licensing issues. I have also served at the State level in the Nebraska Counseling Association as president, membership chair, and founding member of the Association for Addiction and Offender Counseling division, the largest division in the State branch. As Chairman of the Alcohol and Drug Licensing Board for the State of Nebraska, I have become interested and involved in advocating for the addiction counseling profession in ways that effect system level change. I believe that IAAOC is uniquely positioned to effect system level change in that the membership is highly trained and educated with many members holding Master’s degrees. Should I be elected as President Elect I will work diligently to set a course that highlights the division as the premier division serving addiction and offender counselors across the country elevating the professional identity of our field. My experience on the local, state, and national level have prepared me well for serving in a leadership role in IAAOC and I’d be honored to serve as President Elect.

Kirk Bowden

Dr Kirk Bowden has been an addiction professional for more than 27 years. The first half of his career was spent as a clinician, and clinical supervisor. The second half has been in higher education, devoted to developing future addiction counselors. He chairs the Addiction and Substance Use Disorder Program at Rio Salado College and serves as addiction subject matter expert for Ottawa University. On April 4th of this year Dr Bowden represented ACA serving as a panelist for a congressional briefing on opioid use disorders. He again will be serving as opioid use disorders panelist/presenter at the 2018 ACA Conference in Atlanta. He served on the ACA’s Ethics Committee from 2012 to 2015. From 2013 to 2015 he served as co-chair and senior co-chair. He has also served on the ACA’s Ethics Appeal Panel. Currently he chairs IAAOC’s Ethics Committee. At the 2017 ACA Conference in San Francisco he was the keynote at IAAOC’s membership business meeting. He has received the ACA Counselor Educator Advocacy Award and ACA Fellow Award and IAAOC’s Outstanding Addiction/Offender Professional Award. Dr Bowden is a past president of NAADAC the Association of Addiction Professionals. He serves on the Opioids Review Panel of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and served on the Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Coalition for National Clinical Criteria steering committee. He has served on several SAMHSA expert panel steering committees including Partners for Recovery and Scopes of Practice in the Field of Substance Use Disorders. He serves as an advisory editor for the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, and on the editorial boards of Advances in Addiction & Recovery and Substance Abuse, the journal of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA).


Aklima Baksh

I have been a counselor for over 17 years, and a member of the ACA since graduate school. As a current member of IAAOC, I would like to become more active in promoting the goals and values of both ACA and IAAOC. I have worked for the past two years as a member and co-chair of the Sex Offender subcommittee. As a professional who specializes in Sex Offender Counseling, I would also like to strengthen this aspect of IAAOC and help expand membership and leadership. I currently serve as a board member for a non-profit Soup Kitchen and believe that my leadership skills can benefit the division.

Rochelle Cade

I am honored to have been nominated as a candidate for secretary of IAAOC. The role and function of secretary can support the division’s vision and mission through accurate record keeping, timely dissemination of records to the Executive Committee and the American Counseling Association, and adequate notice of meetings to the membership. I am proud to stay that IAAOC has been a division home for me when I was a practicing Licensed Professional Counselor in correctional settings and now as a counselor educator at a university. IAAOC has given me a place to grow professionally and collaborate with colleagues working with clients who are offenders or clients with substance use disorders. Through service as an editorial board member for the Journal of Addiction and Offender Counseling and as a member of the Legislative and Advocacy Committee, I have worked with fellow division members to support IAAOC’s mission of providing leadership and advancing the fields of addiction and offender counseling.

Stephanie Carroll

Candidate information unavailable.

Joanne Ongsitco

What an honor it is to be nominated for the position of Secretary for IAAOC. I have been involved in IAAOC and ACA since I was in graduate school at the University of Florida. I was and still am fortunate enough to have had an amazing group of support through my academic advisor, my mentors, and my classmates turned friends and colleagues as I pursue my passion in addictions counseling. As a National Certified Counselor (NCC) and being on the path to state licensure, I believe I have a lot to both offer and learn from being in this position. I am constantly and continuously looking for ways to remain active in this community, enrich my professional and personal growth, and discover directions and paths to conducting more research. I am currently a primary therapist at a detox treatment center where we serve clients of all ages and backgrounds. I am passionate about learning more and giving back to this community, and would be truly grateful to hold this position.

Jennifer L. Rogers

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Counseling at Wake Forest University, and I am excited about the possibility of serving as IAAOC Secretary. I am a current member of the Training and CACREP Standards committee. I have been involved with addictions counseling since my first practicum placement, working with clients who were receiving medication-assisted treatment for opiate addiction. Looking back, those first clients taught me many lessons that are reflected in my current scholarship and work with clients and students. Specifically, I believe that utilizing a developmental and ecological frame in our work with all kinds of people, including those struggling with problematic substance use, is in keeping with our identity as counselors and suggests a unique contribution that we can make to society. In a forthcoming article in the Journal of Addictions and Offender Counseling, my co-authors and I examined the relationship between baseline client characteristics and changes in drinking patterns made after a brief intervention in a trauma unit. At the ACA conference, co-presenters and I will be leading a session on the multisystemic factors that have led to and sustain the current opioid epidemic. I believe that increased knowledge and awareness of ecological complexities can lead to more deeply client-centered addictions treatment, and also underscore the importance of counselor advocacy in multiple arenas that must be addressed in our responses to a variety of clinical concerns. As Secretary, I would view my role as one of service to the members of the division, the profession, and the public. I would act as an advocate on behalf of all of these stakeholders with goals of increasing the visibility, accessibility, and quality of treatment for members of the substance-abusing and offender populations and their families.