Program DirectorCalifornia"There’s a buzz in the community as people are talking about where to go for treatment. It lets us know that we’re providing a valuable service."
Brendan Kavanaugh joined the Phoenix House Residential Program and Outpatient Services in Santa Ana as Program Director in 2015. He oversees residential and outpatient treatment as well as recovery support programs for adults in the county. He was previously the Managing Director of Phoenix House Residential Program in Long Island City, New York. He was drawn to the addiction treatment field by for a variety of reasons—from studying psychology as an undergraduate, to being an athlete during school and witnessing the connection between athletics and substance abuse. Brendan had the opportunity to work with adolescents after finishing school and found that he had a natural knack for working with young people. He was a case manager at a health center serving teens struggling with addiction and also has experience working with families. He enjoyed the sense of community his work fostered—he worked not only for the kids, but for the population. Later, Brendan received his graduate degree from Fordham University, and subsequently went into management.
Innovations in the field excite Brendan. As more people seek careers in substance abuse treatment, he sees an opportunity to build a team of future leaders and a new model of counselors. He seeks to embrace innovative forms of care, such as medication assisted treatment, to best serve Phoenix House clients. Additionally, Brendan and his team develop feedback processes to consistently improve service. He enjoys the challenge his career entails and collaborating with talented colleagues.
Brendan is uplifted by his clients’ successes. He was thrilled when, after completing a nine-month program at the Residential Program in Long Island City, a client secured a job working for a truck company and got his own apartment—an achievement that Brendan has seen take twice as long for some people. “There’s a buzz in the community as people are talking about where to go for treatment. It lets us know that we’re providing a valuable service.”