Oakton professor honored for substance abuse counseling advocacy


Last updated 12/19/2019 at 1:55pm

As a faculty member and chairperson of Oakton Community College’s Human Services and Substance Abuse Counseling programs, Bakahia Madison, Psy.D., isn’t just training students to provide services — she’s inspiring them to become advocates.

Her focus on advocacy started long before she ever set foot in a classroom as a professor. She cultivated this passion during her two-decade career as a social worker and administrator at several organizations. More than half of that time was spent at the Haymarket Center, a Chicago-based agency that provides comprehensive behavioral health solutions to people struggling with substance abuse disorders.

Madison’s work at Haymarket earned her a Most Distinguished Women of Illinois award from the Orrington Institute — a nonprofit organization that supports underserved youth in urban neighborhoods. The award honors ‘powerful, educated, civic minded, trailblazing women of Illinois,’ according to the organization’s website.

“There are people out there that really depend on us in this field to be a voice for them,” Madison said. “For that reason, I was so honored and flattered to receive this award that recognizes my advocacy work.”

Back in the classroom, she leverages her years of experience to help connect students with opportunities to participate in workshops, conferences and practicums to enrich their Oakton experience and prepare them for career success.

“Students ask me all the time, ‘what more can I do?’ They want to know how they can contribute,” Madison said.

At Oakton, students can enroll in associate degree or certificate program paths in Human Services or Substance Abuse Counseling.

The Human Services curriculum trains students to work in a variety of settings including residential and day programs for youth and adults; shelters for abused women and the homeless; programs for the developmentally disabled; mental health crisis centers; geriatric centers and hospice and respite care centers.

The Substance Abuse Counseling program prepares students for employment as alcohol and drug abuse counselors and provides counseling education and training for social services and human resource professionals.

“Dr. Madison’s passion and experience are true assets for students pursuing careers in social service fields,” said Oakton Associate Vice President for Workforce Education and Dean of Business and Career Technologies Marc Battista. “I’m confident students enrolled in these programs will leave Oakton ready to make a difference.”

Those who complete either program can also pursue advanced degrees in social service fields.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, social service worker jobs are expected to increase by 11% nationally by 2028, much faster than the average for all jobs.

For more information about Oakton’s Human Services and Substance Abuse Counseling programs, contact Bakahia Madison at (847) 635-1845, or [email protected].


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