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GSU associate professor feted for work studying sexuality-addiction link

Governors State University associate professor Raven James is author 'Sexuality Addiction: Making Connections Enhancing Recovery.'  |  Supplied photo

Governors State University associate professor Raven James is the author of "Sexuality and Addiction: Making Connections, Enhancing Recovery." | Supplied photo

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Updated: September 11, 2014 6:18AM



Raven James, an associate professor of addictions studies and behavioral health at Governors State University in University Park, recently earned the 2014 First Tracks Award for Innovation in Sexology from Honest Exchange, a sexuality education consulting firm based in New Jersey, according to a release from GSU.

James, who joined GSU’s department of addictions studies and behavioral health in 2008, is a 2012 recipient of GSU’s Faculty Excellence Award and author of “Sexuality and Addiction: Making Connections, Enhancing Recovery” (Praeger, 2012), the release said.

Honest Exchange president Melanie Davis selected James for the 2014 First Tracks Award in recognition of her cutting-edge work and commitment to making a difference in the lives of people challenged by substance abuse, the release said.

“The term ‘first tracks’ refers to the imprint made by someone who is the first to blaze a trail across new-fallen snow,” Davis said in the release. “I created the First Tracks Award in 2012 to recognize individuals or organizations in sexology who take creative approaches to problem-solving and who turn their ideas into action.

“The Sexual Health in Addiction Recovery Model that James developed and is testing reflects years of observation, data collection and research by James and other clinicians. It should trigger a fundamental shift in the field of substance abuse treatment through the development of evidence-based treatment approaches directed to the unique, gender-specific sexual health interventions.”

“It’s wonderful when others outside our college recognize the tremendous talent and commitment to excellence and innovation that Dr. James demonstrates in every aspect of her work,” Cheryl Mejta, professor and chair of the addictions studies and behavioral health department at GSU, said in the release. “Our students, most assuredly, are lucky to have as fine a resource as Dr. James during their time in our program.”

James has been addressing the connection between sexual health esteem issues and addictions for more than 20 years, first as a clinician and then as a researcher, the release said. Through her work, James has observed how sexuality-related variables often are linked to why people use substances and/or relapse back into problematic use, it said. Such variables include sexually transmitted infections and HIV, sexual behaviors, reproductive health, sexual dysfunction, sexual orientation, domestic violence, rape, incest and sexual assault, it said.

James recently presented the keynote address before more than 250 professionals at the Midwest Conference on Problem Gambling and Substance Abuse, held June 25 to 26 in Kansas City, Missouri, the release said.

She recently finished teaching a weeklong sexuality and addiction class at Rutgers Summer School of Addiction Studies, at its New Brunswick, New Jersey, campus, the release said.

James also will teach the sexuality course at GSU in the fall semester.

James is the editor of the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Sex and Sexuality (Greenwood Publishers), too, the release said. She publishes in peer-reviewed journals and delivers lectures nationally and locally on sexuality, addiction and related topics.

James was scheduled to present this month at the National Conference of Addictive Disorders in St. Louis, and at the National Association for Addiction Professionals in Seattle in September, the release said.

Staff report



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