Excellence in Research and Evaluation: Therapeutic Community Research Award

This award is presented to recognise the individuals, research teams and TCS that have contributed to evidence-based research and evaluation of TC services and programs.

In 2020 the ATCA award for excellence in research and evaluation is awarded to the University of NSW and Ted Noffs Foundation for a research project they undertook called The Youth Pathways Study.

The Australian Research Council and Ted Noffs funded project used mixed research methods to understand experiences and outcomes among young people referred to the Ted Noffs foundation residential AOD Treatment programs. Many are referred from the Juvenile Justice system and over a third identify as Aboriginal.

This project has provided a more comprehensive understanding of the pathways of young people following treatment referral than each of the methods individually. The findings have identified many challenges for young people in completing TC treatment and even when they successfully ‘complete’ there are successes and also challenges to maintaining a positive life trajectory. The findings point to the importance of considering strengths and sources of support that young people can build on, the role of Ted Noffs programs and other TCs, health, housing and social services in helping them establish their lives outside of treatment.

Multiple peer-reviewed journal articles have been published to date and the findings presented at national and international conferences in the AOD sector with Ted Noffs as co-authors.

The research has also informed public debate, for example an MJA publication and corresponding the Conversation piece highlighted the complex lives of young people that use methamphetamines who are referred to TC programs. The findings from the research program have challenged community perceptions of young people who use methamphetamines (and illicit drugs in general) highlighting the need to better address their complex needs. Lastly, the research findings helped inform the Ted Noffs’ submission to The Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug ‘Ice’ in NSW in 2019.

The 2020 ATCA Excellence in Research and Evaluation Award is presented to:

Dr Sally Nathan, UNSW Sydney

Dr Patrick Rawstorne, UNSW Sydney

Prof Andrew Hayen, UTS

A/Prof Joanne Bryant, UNSW Sydney

Prof Eileen Baldry, UNSW Sydney

Dr Megan Williams, UTS

Mr Mark Ferry, Ted Noffs Foundation

First Nations Innovation and Partnership Award. Therapeutic Community Movement in Australasia: Organisational Award

This award recognises organisations that have made a contribution to the TC movement in Australasia by way of innovation and forming partnerships that make TC culturally safe and relevant to first Nation’s people.

In 2020 the award was presented to the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council (SA) Inc (ADAC), who through joint collaboration with the SA Australian Ambulance paramedics developed a service where community paramedics attend each morning to perform health checks, provide health and medication education, and monitor the regularity of medication compliance.

The partnership with SA Ambulance Service has provided many benefits to clients. These include:

  • Increased medication management
  • No hospital admissions since the paramedics started attending the Day Centre
  • Increased interest in going to rehab to deal with AOD issues
  • Clients returning from the rehab have greatly enhanced Aftercare and therefore more chances to remain abstinent.

The First Nations Innovation and Partnerships award is presented to Kenny Smith and Donna Myers of ADAC.

Significant Contribution to the Therapeutic Community Movement in Australasia by an Individual

This award recognises the individuals who have made a significant contribution to the Therapeutic Community movement in Australasia over a considerable period. The purpose of this award is to acknowledge and publicly recognise the exceptional work done by people who have worked tirelessly over years to promote and develop the TC approach to treatment within the sector.

Garth PoppleIn 2020, the ATCA recognised the work of Garth Popple, ATCA Chair, for his commitment to the TC movement.

Garths contribution and dedication to the TC movement is evident through his impressive career. Garth is the Executive Director of We Help Ourselves (WHOS), a position he has held for more than 25 years. He is Vice President of the World Federation of Therapeutic Communities (WFTC) and holds a number of positions on the NSW Network of Drug and Alcohol Agencies, the Australian Council on Drugs, the International Federation of NGOs and many other national and international organisations.

Garths commitment to the Alcohol and Other Drugs Sector began in 1980.  He has held honorary committee and board positions since 1981 for the non-profit sector as well as serving on various State and Ministerial committee’s for NSW Health and on a National Council which directly reported to the Prime Minister of Australia.

Garth was made an Honorary Fellow of the University of Western Sydney which was awarded in recognition of ‘Services to the Community’ and in 2007 he received a National Honour Roll Award for a persons who have made a significant contribution, over a considerable period, to the Drug and Alcohol field.

He received the Prime Ministers Award at the 2010 National Drug and Alcohol Awards. The award recognises an individual as having made a significant commitment and contribution to reducing the impact and negative effects of drug and alcohol use.

Garths primary focus in his extraordinary career has been on the Therapeutic Community (TC) movement and model for treatment, including working with TCs throughout Asia.

In 1986 Garth became involved in harm minimisation initiatives as a result of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Garth realised that people were leaving the therapeutic communities, only to return HIV position. He then set about to try something different to prevent further transmission. In 1986 under Garths direction WHO’s started handing out needles, syringes and condoms. This move was controversial, with the World Therapeutic Communities discussing taking away their membership as it was thought that this approach was promoting drug use.

In February 2009 Garth to this approach to harm minimisation further and opened WHOS RTOD, a modified therapeutic community for people on opioid pharmacotherapy treatment. This was the first of its kind in Australia.


ATCA Recognition Award

In 2020 9 awards were made to people who have provided more than 10 years’ service to the TC movement in Australia and New Zealand. ATCA congratulates the following people:

For more than 30 years service:

  • Carol Daws – Cyrenian House

For more than 10 years service:

  • Mark Hill – One80T
  • Leigh Davidson – One80TC
  • Wendy Zani – Goldbridge
  • Mellissa Doran – Karralika
  • Jodie Bailey – Karralika
  • Christine Dewhurst – Windana
  • Mandy Sinclair – Windana
  • Suzanne Fahy – Windana

The cumulative years of service and commitment by those that have received recognition awards this year amounts to over one hundred years – and during that time thousands of people have entered and succeeded in their treatment journey. The ATCA congratulates you and thanks you for the work you have done to support residents in your TCs and your commitment to the TC model.


Honorary Life Membership

Honorary Life Memberships are granted to individuals in recognition of commitment and services rendered to the Association and its membership. In 2020 Dr Lynne Magor-Blatch was honoured for her long and active membership of the ATCA and the ATCA Board.

Dr Lynne Magor-BlatchLynne’s journey with the TC movement began in the United Kingdom in 1974, working at both Alpha House Portsmouth and the Ley Community in Oxford. In 1979 she returned to Australia and soon after, with Charlie Blatch, established the Killara House program, before moving to Canberra in 1988 to a role with AdFact (now known as Karralika Programs).

Over two 7-year stints with Karralika Programs Lynne established and developed a range of residential and non-residential programs, including the Karralika Family Program, STAIRways (short term assessment and intervention) and aftercare programs. She was also successful in winning the grant which established prison-based Solaris Program in the Alexander Maconochie Centre.

Lynne also worked in the AOD Policy, held positions with the National Mental Health Working Group, the National Comorbidity Taskforce and held Ministerial appointments to the Inter-Governmental Committee on Drugs, National AOD Workforce Development Strategy Working Group, the Advisory Committee for the Review of the Drug and Alcohol Prevention and Treatment Services Sector and is an International Editor of the International Journal of Therapeutic Communities.

Previous Awards