Christine Vourakis, PhD, RN, FAAN is Professor Emeritus at California State University, Sacramento and at Samuel Merritt University, Oakland, CA.
Dr. Vourakis first became interested in the field of addictions during her work in a medical emergency clinic (MEC). She participated in the care of patients admitted to the MEC in acute withdrawal and intoxication from psychoactive substances. This led her to shift her specialty from acute care nursing to ambulatory nursing in a methadone maintenance treatment center in Atlanta, GA. She continued to expand her role and focused her graduate education in addictions. She has consistently advocated for nurses, no matter the specialty or setting, to identify patients at risk for substance use disorders and intervene with a focus or prevention, identification, and/or early intervention. In her Spring, 1996 Editorial for the Journal of Addictions Nursing, Dr Vourakis first published the coined phrase “Addictions Nursing is Knowledge Specific Not Setting Specific.”
Dr. Vourakis has dedicated her career to addictions nursing with contributions to service, practice and policy. In April 1979 as the lead author of the AJN cover article, “Angel Dust: Not Heaven Sent,” readers were introduced to a primary, secondary and tertiary prevention perspective on substance use. Her co-edited interdisciplinary collaborative textbook published in 1983, Substance Abuse: Pharmacologic, Developmental and Clinical Perspectives, was regarded by reviewers as landmark because it transformed nursing’s prevailing view of addictions from a singular focus on one who abuses substances to a focus on at-risk populations spanning all nursing specialties.
With the understanding that care of addicted individuals involves a tripartite: evidence-based practice, stellar research and informed policy, since 1996, Dr. Vourakis has devoted her career to all three. As the retiring Cofounder and Editor for the Journal of Addictions Nursing (spanning a 30 year career in addictions journal development and editorial leadership), a reviewer/writer for Addictions Nursing ANA Scope and Standards document, co-editor of three editions of the Addictions Nursing Core Curriculum, and as a 30 year leader on the International Nurses Society on Addictions Board of Directors, she has been instrumental in changing the culture of addictions nursing from a hopeless alcoholic perspective to one of promoting prevention and maintenance of change.
In October of 2014, she was inducted as a Fellow into the American Academy of Nursing, the highest honor in the profession.
Dr. Vourakis received her BSN from Texas Christian University, Fort Worth; MN from Emory University, Atlanta, GA and her PhD from University of California, San Francisco. She completed a pre-doctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health focusing on recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous and a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Washington to pursue research on pain and addiction.