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Ken Vick, Benilde Hall Executive Director, Making Big Impact on Credentialing for Counseling Professionals

Ken Vick, Benilde Hall’s executive director, is making a big impact on training programs for substance use disorder counseling professionals.

Harm Reduction Certification Training Ken Co-Created is the First State Program to Go International

First, a Harm Reduction credential training program that Ken co-created and is offered by the Missouri Credentialing Board has been rolled out on the international level. This is the first time a Missouri-based credential has been offered internationally, validating and emphasizing the need to incorporate harm reduction services in treating substance use disorder.

Ken says, “This 21-hour-long certification works to break stigmas associated with drug abuse and addiction. Harm reduction is a critical component of trauma-informed care, giving services needed and meeting people where they are, rather than activating them. Using substances is often a person’s coping mechanism for dealing with an underlying trauma, yet we treat the symptom (drug use) first, not the root cause. Harm reduction flips the script, addressing the causes first, such as depression or trauma, so the reason for substance abuse is gone. Essentially, we as professionals, need to treat the reasons for substance abuse and stop shutting down addicts’ coping mechanisms.”

Harm reduction is critical to keeping people who use drugs alive and as healthy as possible, helping decrease overdose fatalities, acute life-threatening infections related to unsterile drug injection and chronic diseases such as HIV/HCV.

Objectives of the Missouri Credentialing Board’s Harm Reduction Certification:

  • Increase knowledge around Harm Reduction and how it can be used in recovery processes
  • Apply skills within a Harm Reduction framework to current practice
  • Feel comfortable having conversations around Harm Reduction with clients and the community
  • Identify obstacles in applying Harm Reduction and develop strategies to overcome these obstacles
  • Learn to engage people who are continuing to use substances into Harm Reduction recovery practices
  • Build the foundation for clinical and non-clinical communication around Harm Reduction strategies

The first Harm Reduction Certification training began February 21, 2023 at Healing House, Inc. in Kansas City, Mo. The next training is scheduled for April 3-5, 2023 at the Aviary Recovery Center in Kirkwood, Mo. More information and registration for professionals is on the Missouri Credentialing Board’s website.

Ken Appointed President of the Missouri Credentialing Board

Second, the Missouri Credentialing Board (MCB) voted in Ken Vick as its new president. Ken also will remain Missouri’s Northwest region representative to the MCB.

Ken explains his role as MCB president as helping the executive director move forward with ideas that will ultimately help our state and our nation, maintain an ethical code and follow a safety checklist across professions to avoid people’s care falling through the cracks.

“We’re really trying to expand and find ways to improve. We want to share ideas with other states and collaborate as we look to offer more trainings. It involves changing the way we do things, but will help people in the end,” says Ken.

He also will continue leading training sessions on topics such as family support, medication management and harm reduction. Ken’s term as MCB president will last two years. After that, he has the option to run again.

The Missouri Credentialing Board (MCB) is a not-for-profit organization established in 1977 from the (then) Missouri Association of Alcoholism Counselors for the purpose of providing a recognized credential for qualified professionals working in the field of substance use disorders. MCB is a proud member of IC&RC, which protects the public by establishing standards and facilitating reciprocity for the credentialing of addiction-related professionals. The largest organization of its kind, IC&RC represents more than 40,000 professionals worldwide. The IC&RC web address is