The Human Element in Addiction Treatment – Limelight

human element

In the limelight – Jacqueline Campbell – Sanford office.

When you think about addiction treatment, you may not think about the staff, at all levels, who will implement the programs day-to-day. But the people who work at an addiction treatment center are important to one’s overall comfort, participation, and success.  And when someone is vulnerable, a humane person-to-person connection can be the difference between hope and despair. The person who provides the most memorable experience in treatment may be your therapist or addictionologist. But it might also be the house chef, a gardener or a therapy animal.


Who Is Your Addiction Treatment Experience?

That is why staffing is vital to the excellence of an addiction treatment facility. And the subject of our Limelight Interview, Jacqueline Green Campbell, focuses her attention on the “human element”. As Director of Human Resources (HR) and New Initiatives, Jacq looks at all of Sanford’s employees as individuals. And in helping developing the Sanford team, she has used a holistic approach that mirrors the Sanford treatment model.


I try to approach HR with an open mind and my own perspective. In HR, things often seem to fit into boxes and situations are handled from a black and white point of view, when that’s not how things work in real life. I try to break that barrier and step outside that box to approach and handle a situation.  While procedures and protocols are important tools, you can’t lose sight of the human element. 

Jacqueline Green Campbell


human element

On the steps of Sanford Admissions & Outreach Center

The Human Element in Addiction Treatment  Limelight Interview Jacqueline Green Campbell

SH – Tell us about your job.

Jacq – As Director of HR, I have helped to establish the department! I consider it one of my greatest career achievements. When our CFO, Marcy Stellin, and I began this department, we had a filing cabinet filled with employee files and training, and not much else. We pretty much built the department from the ground up. I’m really proud when I look at where we are now from where we began. It’s been a lot of hard work, and Marcy has been a mentor for me. She never takes “no” for an answer and has passed some of that tenacity and drive off on me. As to New Initiatives, I do whatever is needed (laughs).


SH – What is the fun part of your job?

Jacq – Interviewing! I love meeting new people and learning about their unique personal experiences. It’s so interesting to read about who someone is on paper and then put a face and story to that resume. I like to find out if people are cat or dog people. I think that tells a lot about someone.


SH – And the challenging part of the job – dealing with the human element?

Jacq – Giving people bad news or letting someone go. It is important to put personal feeling aside and remain objective, but the fact we are disrupting a person’s life is never lost on me.


SH – What is the key to successful outcomes in recovery?

Jacq – I am not a therapist, but addiction has impacted our family. Two things. An internal switch has to toggle ON – you have to want that cycle to stop. And once out of treatment, you need support from family and community. Going home can be more difficult than people think – the triggers are in the home environment.


SH – Speaking of triggers, what are the pitfalls to recovery?

Jacq – The triggers of returning to a previous (toxic) life or home environment. Family misunderstandings. Setting boundaries post-treatment are important.


SH – What type of books do you read?

Jacq – (Smiles) Well, as the mother of a 3-year-old, I haven’t had time to do a lot of reading for myself recently, so I’m going to have to go with Dr. Seuss. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, and Oh! The Places You’ll Go are a few of my faves. Not only do I find them entertaining and fun to read aloud, I think they offer valuable lifelong lessons. There are so many Dr. Seuss quotes that can teach us! Whenever my son is hesitant to try something new, I will say, “If you never did, you should. These things are fun, and fun is good!” 


Dr Seuss book


SH – Your idea of perfect happiness?

Jacq – Being at the end of an island with nothing but time …


SH – What is your favorite journey?

Jacq – That’s an interesting question, I’ve been on so many journeys and have fit a lot into my 3 decades. After high school, I spent a year abroad. I kayaked, sailed, and hiked my way through Baja, Mexico and followed that up with living aboard a 90-foot schooner and sailing through the Eastern Caribbean for half a year. I think that experience, even at that young age, really turned me into a much more open-minded person, with an empathetic view of the world. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our little corner of West Michigan, but all over the world people are living their lives so differently from one another. It’s amazing to think about that human element. It’s a concept I often apply to my position in HR. I believe our differences build a wonderful patchwork of experiences and viewpoints, and I often think of our Sanford team in the same way. Everyone brings something different to the table.   


 SH – What makes Sanford unique?

Jacq – A few things. The approach we take not only to addiction treatment, but to our business in general. Since our inception, it has taken persistence due to the crazy climate of addiction treatment within Michigan, but we never gave up on our vision. We are a family owned and operated business, and I am overwhelmingly proud to be part of that family. My family’s passion for helping those suffering from substance use disorder shines through everything we do. I like to say we are unapologetically built in the Midwest upon Midwestern values, and I think a lot of that comes from Dad’s father. He was a respected businessman who always operated on the basis of doing what’s right combined with a drive to succeed, and that definitely been passed down through the generations. 


SH – Which words or phrases do you use most?

Jacq – Hummmm. I’ll tell you my least favorite phrase – everything happens for a reason. It seems dismissive to me.


SH – What would you say is your most marked characteristic?

Jacq – Quirkiness. I am intrigued by different things. I think I take a fresh look at most situations.


SH – What is your motto?

Jacq – It’s a lyric from Mumford and Sons that stuck with me a long time ago. More than once I’ve had to convince myself not to get it as a tattoo, “Where you invest your love, you invest your life.”


human element

Sanford Behavioral Health is licensed and accredited as an addiction, eating disorder, and co-occurring mental health treatment facility, serving all of Michigan and beyond. Each of Sanford’s facilities in Greater Grand Rapids is carefully and diligently crafted to create a welcoming and comforting environment. Sanford is led by a psychiatrist-led team of medical, clinical, and support personnel providing medication-assisted, evidenced-based treatment to residential, outpatient, and telehealth patients. For more information, visit