by Comprehensive Staff
Judy Newland’s ?rst day of work at Comprehensive Healthcare was October 1, 1978 – 41 years ago! Originally from Yakima, Judy attended East Valley High School, and Yakima Valley College where she earned her Associate’s, Bachelor of Social Work and later got her got her Substance Use Disorder Professional certi?cation. When Judy ?rst began working at Comprehensive Healthcare, she was doing outpatient treatment for alcohol use mostly, until the drug unit grew to nine sta?, and the need for court assessments and referrals to treatment increased.
When she ?rst started with the methadone program, there were around 20-30 clients, now surpassing 200 at times. Jack Maris, the only Vice President at the time, was Judy’s supervisor and o?ered her the position as team lead/supervisor for methadone in the 1990’s, “but I don’t know how many bosses I had over all these years,” she said.
In 1995, Comprehensive Healthcare and a group of other providers in the state came together and started a state-wide program called the Washington State Association of Treatment of Opiate Dependent Treatment Providers. “Instead of being separate entities, we would meet twice a year and it has been a really signi?cant network to help us maintain a state-wide presence and pull in other resources in order to bolster our program.”
One challenging aspect of her career has been the stigmatizing de?nitions that people give themselves, and also the ones society gives to clients going through Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT). “The battle to gain support for MAT even from the State initially, was a di?cult battle, but we are having more and more support.”
Judy was instrumental in helping change perceptions about MAT to gain support. She was also helpful in communicating to inpatient providers in other parts of the state and helping them understand that MAT is indeed helpful and necessary for clients, where before, clients could not be on any medication before being admitted into inpatient care.
In addition to witnessing many department and organization changes, some of Judy’s most signi?cant events of her life have taken place these past 41 years. “I had my son when I was here, and when I had my daughter, I went to part time for a while.”
Some of her most outstanding memories? “I once went to a sta? picnic, and stepped on a bee. I had to go to the emergency room because it swelled so bad, it was splitting. I will never forget that!”
All of the client successes that she has witnessed have been the most phenomenal memories for Judy. “There have been so many. This modality of care is more than one assessment and you’re done..., I have known some of these people for over 30 years. You get to know people over their lifetime. You see them through marriages, divorces, losses, and successes, I will miss that.”
Judy says it has been a little emotional for her when clients express that they do not want her to retire or will miss her.
“One of my clients, who had been using for over a decade, went to Swedish Hospital in Tacoma where they were prescribed methadone, and no longer had cravings for heroin. They said they didn’t have cravings anymore, and can ?nally say no to heroin for the ?rst time in their life.”
She is going to miss a lot of the sta? too. When asked what advice she would give to her team, she said, “I hope that my sta? are con?dent in their own decision-making and have a broad knowledge-base for making those decisions. Just be con?dent. We have some great case managers on our team and they are going to do ?ne!”
Judy says she’s already booked three trips, including a trip to Maui in January to see her grandbaby, San Diego in February, and a cruise in March. “I plan to travel, do things I used to enjoy doing and not have to try to cram in those things on weekends. I want to get back into exercising and jogging.” Judy says she used to be an avid jogger. She is also looking forward to being able to spend more time working in her yard and gardening.