Donald McDonald, MSW

Behavioral Health Recovery Expert, Technical Expert Lead | JBS International

Donald McDonald, MSW is a person thriving in sustained recovery from severe mental and substance use disorders. Previously, Donald served as the National Field Director of Faces & Voices of Recovery, the Executive Director of Addiction Professionals of North Carolina, and the Director of Advocacy & Education at Recovery Communities of North Carolina. His current role is Technical Expert Lead at JBS International, where he provides training and technical assistance to HRSA-funded rural consortia across the country as they build prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery capacity in response to the overdose crisis.

Donald is a veteran, husband, father, grandfather, social worker, member of the 2016 inaugural cohort of Recovery Coach Professional from Center for Addiction Recovery Training, and formerly Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist. He holds a Bachelor of Education from NC State University and a Master of Social Work from UNC Chapel Hill. Donald is a proud recipient of the NCADD Bronze Key Award and the North Carolina Attorney General’s Dogwood Award. Donald is the producer and host of No Thanks But Yes, a podcast featuring chill conversations with splendid people who’ve overcome problematic relationships with substances and behaviors via many, many pathways.

2024 Presentation:

Seeds of Compassion: Growing Life-Giving Practice in a Season of Loss

The unprecedented substance use mortality crisis gripping the United States is the pivotal moment of our time. Behavioral health professionals rally to reduce lives lost, alleviate disease burden, and champion wellness for all. Our commitment to evidence-based care and ethical integrity demands that we confront and dismantle barriers to our calling with unwavering resolve. We will explore the intricate motivations behind substance use, unravel the complexities of pathology, and illuminate the diverse pathways of recovery. Gain invaluable insights into the concepts of bias and implicit bias, as we navigate through the labyrinth of professional ethical codes, ensuring that our practice remains grounded in science and compassion. Equip yourself with valuable tools to navigate the moral landscape of client care, including a framework for exploring beliefs and fostering meaningful connections. Leave empowered with actionable recommendations for delivering impactful, person-centered care that honors the inherent worth and dignity of every individual. Join us in this imperative dialogue, where together, we pave the way toward a future where compassion triumphs over stigma, and every individual can thrive in a life of connection, autonomy, and purpose.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the multifaceted nature of the substance use mortality crisis in the United States, including its underlying motivations, complexities of pathology, and diverse pathways of recovery, to inform evidence-based interventions and policies aimed at reducing lives lost and alleviating disease burden.
  • Identify and critically examine personal and professional biases, including implicit biases, that may impact the delivery of behavioral health care, and integrate strategies for mitigating bias into practice to ensure ethical integrity and the provision of compassionate, person-centered care.
  • Develop practical skills and utilize a framework for exploring beliefs and fostering meaningful connections with clients, equipping oneself with actionable recommendations for delivering impactful, person-centered care that upholds the inherent worth and dignity of every individual, thereby contributing to the reduction of stigma and the promotion of holistic wellness within communities.