About COPE

Bonnie Wilford Named COPE Executive Vice President

COPE’s Board of Directors has appointed Bonnie B. Wilford, M.S., to serve as the organization’s first full-time Executive Vice President. In making the announcement, Chair David C. Lewis, M.D., cited Mrs. Wilford’s experience as an administrator in medical organizations and with government agencies.

When recounting her experiences in the addiction field, Mrs. Wilford cites a “formative decade” spent at the American Medical Association, where she helped to create a number of collaborative programs, including a national Steering Committee on Prescription Drug Abuse, the AMA’s Department of Adolescent Health, and a U.S.-Mexico Border Health initiative. She also authored the AMA’s handbook, Drug Abuse: A Guide for the Primary Care Physician, which sold 50,000 copies worldwide. After serving as Director of the AMA’s Department of Substance Abuse, she moved up to direct the AMA’s Division of Clinical Science — the first woman to hold either post.

On leaving the AMA, Mrs. Wilford joined the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), where she conducted a study of federally-funded medical education programs on substance use disorders and represented ONDCP to a British Ministry of Health initiative to improve medical education about addiction in U.K. medical schools. At the end of the Bush administration, she moved to the George Washington University, where she directed a policy research center and was named a Fellow of the University’s Institute on Health Care, Outcomes and Human Values.

For the past decade, Mrs. Wilford has directed a series of HHS contracts that developed medical education programs and other resources on the treatment of pain and addiction. For those contracts, she collaborated with medical schools and health professions organizations to deliver more than 60 live CME courses at sites around the U.S., helped to organize three White House conferences on medical education in substance abuse, and authored journal articles and other educational resources, such as SAMHSA’s Opioid Overdose Toolkit.

She also has served as a section editor of one of the standard textbooks in the field, ASAM’s Principles of Addiction Medicine, and a contributor to medical journals and UpToDate®. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including the AMA’s Distinguished Service Award and the President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in Addiction Education from the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

In announcing the appointment, Dr. Lewis said: “Bonnie Wilford is a great talent for COPE because she has a track record of accomplishment and respect from so many of the organizations and agencies whose work contributes to medical education and with whom COPE will seek to collaborate.” He added that the appointment of a full-time executive is a “very positive sign” of COPE’s growing presence as a force for improving medical education about addiction.