Center for Addiction Medicine

See videos about a person in recovery now helping others and how to administer NARCAN in the Center for Addiction Medicine's YouTube playlist.

The Center for Addiction Medicine at Denver Health

At Denver Health’s Center for Addiction Medicine every door is an opportunity. Doors lead to new beginnings. Doors open to hope. At the Center for Addiction Medicine, there are no wrong doors. The center brings Denver Health’s broad range of addiction programs and medical resources into a single place, providing comprehensive treatment options, mindful of the stigma of substance use.

The Center for Addiction Medicine is a Denver Health initiative dedicated to combating the damage being done to our community by the disease of addiction. In 2022, 1,799 people died of drug overdose in Colorado. Behind every statistic is a person: a unique individual with a family and a community.

Denver Health is on the frontline of this public health crisis. From first responders and social workers to emergency and primary care providers, our system-wide continuum of care ensures patients are stabilized and successfully treated at the right level of integrated physical and behavioral health care. The Center for Addiction Medicine is bringing these dedicated professionals together in an unprecedented effort to try to prevent more deaths and increase long-term recovery.

Goals, Vision and Guiding Principles

The goal of the Center for Addiction Medicine’s Knowledge Management Workgroup is to enhance information systems to systematically improve processes, generate new knowledge, and drive organizational outcomes. A total of 13 Denver Health addiction-related manuscripts and book chapters were published in 2022. 

Strategic Goals

The Center for Addiction Medicine established the following five-year strategic goals in 2019:

CAM 5 year goals 2023

Governing Structure

A governance structure has been established to achieve the strategic goals of the Center for Addiction Medicine, as well as to provide guidance and accountability. The Governing Council supports coordination of efforts across Denver Health’s array of care sites and with services in the community. Members include representatives from the executive leadership team and champions from each department across the system.

CAM governance structure aug 2021 600px
Center for Addiction Medicine 2023 Annual Report Thumbnail
To learn more about the Center for Addiction Medicine’s recent accomplishments, please see our 2023 Annual Report.

Ready to Begin Substance Treatment or Have Questions?

  • Please call our Substance Treatment Phone Line at 303-436-5711.
  • Calls are answered Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. (excluding holidays)
  • This line is staffed by experienced substance treatment experts who can provide brief screening, recommendations, and guidance to individuals, friends/families, and other professionals on accessing substance treatment both here at Denver Health, and through other programs in our Denver community and surrounding areas.

Contact Us

  • For professional technical assistance or information on implementation of the Center for Addiction Medicine, please email
  • For all other Denver Health services, please call 303-436-6000.

Center for Addiction Medicine Staff

Center for Addiction Medicine Leaders

  • Dr. Chris Thurstone – CAM Executive Sponsor
  • Mark Wright – CAM Executive Sponsor
  • Kris Gaw – CAM Executive Sponsor
  • Dr. Bob Belknap – CAM Executive Sponsor
  • Dr. Judy Shlay – CAM Medical Director + Inclusive and Compassionate Care Co-Lead
  • Brooke Bender – CAM Administrative Director + Fiscal Growth and Financial Partnership Lead
  • John Mills - CAM Public Health Planner
  • Dr. Josh Blum – Medical Director for CAM Academy
  • Holly Witt – CAM Continuum of Care Co-Lead 
  • Matthew Hoag – CAM Continuum of Care Co-Lead
  • Sarah Belstock – CAM Community Voice Lead
  • Helen Burnside – CAM Academy Lead
  • Alia Al-Tayyib – CAM Knowledge Management Research Lead
  • Dean McEwen – CAM Knowledge Management Senior Leader 
  • Alex Tillman – CAM Knowledge Management Evaluation Lead
  • Laura Podewils – CAM Knowledge Management Learning Health Systems Lead
  • April Valdez Villa  – CAM Communications Support
  • Lindsay Beaudrey – CAM Lean Support 

Center for Addiction Annual Reports

2023 Annual Report

2022 Annual Report

2021 Annual Report

2020 Annual Report

2019 Annual Report

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