Valerie Kading DNP, MBA, MSN, PMHNP-BC

ACES: adverse childhood experiences

Valerie Kading was promoted from CEO of Sierra Tucson to VP of medical and clinical development at Acadia Healthcare, its parent company. She provides the strategic vision to ensure that the facility’s patients and their families receive innovative, compassionate, and leading medical and psychiatric treatment for trauma, addiction, and other mental health conditions from a world-class staff of clinicians and behavioural health professionals.

Valerie joined Sierra Tucson in 2015, where she was promoted chief medical operations officer, then interim chief medical officer, chief operations officer, and ultimately Group CEO for the entire 258-bed Sierra Tucson Group: Sierra Tucson in Arizona, along with Sierra by the Sea and Sunrise Ranch in California.

Valerie has a special interest in women’s mental health including perinatal mood disorders, maternal wellbeing, and postpartum depression. She also has deep expertise in addressing the trauma of Adverse Childhood Experiences (Aces) that can lead to substance use and other issues in adulthood.

She has written articles for multiple professional journals, and led webinars and CE events on topics ranging from adverse childhood experiences to compassion fatigue and provider resilience for organisations including: DB Recovery+ Ukesad conferences, S Arizona Advanced Practice/Nurse Practitioner’s Primary Care conferences, Tucson Postpartum Coalition, C4 conferences, Philippine Nurses Association and the University of Arizona.

Dr Kading graduated with honours from New Mexico State University at Las Cruces, with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. Her doctoral studies focused on optimising health care systems, translational methods and evidence-based practice, health care organisation innovation, epigenetics, utilisation of informatics in healthcare, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Her dissertation focused on increasing health care provider knowledge on perinatal depression, and she created a web-based educational programme for healthcare providers aimed at facilitating evidence-based treatment to perinatal women.

Dr Kading also graduated with honours from the University of Arizona with a master’s degree in nursing, a BSc in Nursing, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She received her Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Arizona. In 2006, she founded and served as president of the Southern Arizona Advanced Practice Nurse – Nurse Practitioner Society.

She has received recognition with honours and awards throughout her career, including most recently “Leaders to Watch in 2021” by AZ Business, “The 10 Most Admired Women Leaders in Business, 2020” by CIO Views and the “Advocate State Award for Excellence” from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.