ADAPAO Prevention Award 2021 Recipient: Derek Longmeier

Posted on: June 26, 2021 6:00 pm

Derek Longmeier is the recipient of the 2021 ADAPAO Visionary Award, which honors an individual for exemplary efforts to advance prevention across Ohio.

Derek has been engaged in prevention since his high school years as a Teen Institute participant, then youth leader, in Auglaize County. He set the tone for his eventual professional career as a teen, diving head first into Teen Institute, including eventually serving on the Ohio Teen Institute youth staff and, once in college, as an alumni intern.

Derek started his official prevention career at Century Health, a behavioral health provider in Hancock County. Barely two years later he began a 10-year tenure at the statewide organization we now know as Prevention Action Alliance, engaging in or leading multiple initiatives from project coordination to training development and delivery. Derek’s efforts included the traditional prevention focus on substance use, but he also began working on projects targeting prevention of problem gambling.

Derek quickly became one of Ohio’s leading experts on problem gambling, especially the prevention side of the continuum of care, recognizing the inherent connections between prevention of problem gambling and other forms of prevention, and aiding the field and communities to apply prevention approaches to this much less familiar behavioral health issue.

Derek was named the executive director of the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio (PGNO) in 2016, leading the statewide behavioral health organization which focuses on prevention, but also treatment, and recovery. In that role, Derek is continuing a growing trend of Ohio Certified Prevention Consultants leading organizations that provide services across the continuum of care.

Derek has been a change agent since the day he started as PGNO executive director. He ensures prevention is a priority with PGNO, from training provision to resource development. He intentionally maintains the links bridging problem gambling prevention and substance use prevention. He patiently walks newer prevention professionals – and more established ones for whom gambling prevention is a new area of focus – to increased understanding of the science and practice.

Throughout, Derek has anchored his work to fundamental concepts of collaboration and seizing opportunities to advance the field. Whether sitting on the Prevention Committee of the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board, speaking to legislators, serving as a coach with The OCAM Network, or becoming one of the Ohio’s first Master Trainers of the latest version of SAPST, Derek is committed to furthering the reach of prevention in Ohio.

Derek lives his commitment to prevention, from the thoughtful expansion into broader behavioral health to the continued development of our state’s systems and its prevention professionals community. For challenging Ohio's prevention community to do the same, every day, Derek Longmeier is awarded the 2021 ADAPAO Prevention Visionary Award.