History of Talbott

Talbott Recovery is part of the Foundations Recovery Network (FRN) family of treatment centers. In 2015, FRN became the Addiction Services Division of Pennsylvania-based Universal Health Services, Inc., one of the nation’s largest hospital companies. Families have trusted us with their loved ones for several decades because our unique system of care, which has proven effective time and time again.

Talbott’s storied history can be traced back to Dr. G. Douglas Talbott, who was one of the most forceful voices in advocating the recognition of alcoholism as a disease. A pioneer in educating physicians about substance abuse and in offering substance abuse treatment programs for medical professionals, Dr. Talbott created the first treatment program specifically designed to meet the requirements of physicians suffering from the disease of addiction. He was the guiding force who helped the Talbott Recovery Campus establish a national reputation as the treatment center of choice for addicted healthcare professionals.

A graduate of Hotchkiss, Yale University and Columbia Medical School, Dr. Talbott began his career as an internist, before earning fame as a cardiologist who specialized in the treatment and care of individuals with alcohol and other drug dependencies. During the critical early years in the addiction treatment field, he was consistently a leader in the development of new treatment methods. He served as an Air Force captain in the 1950s and worked with NASA to help select suitable crews for the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs. In the ’60s, Dr. Talbott founded and become Director of the Cox Heart Institute, a nationally recognized cardiac research institute. The 1970s found him serving as Medical Director of Baltimore’s Public Inebriate Program.

Dr. Talbott was a formative figure in the AMA’s Impaired Physicians Program, creating the DeKalb County Impaired Physicians Committee, which became the official program for the Medical Association of Georgia. This program then became a national model for treating impaired physicians and other health professionals. In 1976 he entered the private treatment business.

In the early 1980s, Dr. Talbott’s path collided with Ben Underwood, a respected leader in the field of behavioral health and addiction treatment. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Ben began his career in the mid-1960s as Associate Administrator of Atlanta’s Metropolitan Psychiatric Center, later serving as President and CEO. He then served as CEO of Ridgeview Institute before becoming President and CEO of Safe Centers, which operated chemical dependency programs around the southeast.

Together, Dr. Talbott and Ben Underwood co-developed and launched the Talbott Recovery Program, with Underwood serving as CEO beginning in 1985. In 1989, they opened the Talbott Recovery Campus which became a model for the treatment of physicians and other professionals such as nurses, dentists and veterinarians.

Talbott’s success with health professionals led the organization to expand its programming to others regardless of their occupations. In the 1990s this included a modified version for adolescents and young adults. This expansion allowed thousands to receive the same core treatment as professionals received.

Dr. Talbott was an addiction treatment icon and a nationally recognized authority on alcoholism and other drug addictions. He consulted at the White House, authored dozens of papers and articles, published numerous books, appeared frequently on television programs and talk shows, lectured and conducted workshops throughout the United States and Canada.

Doc (or “Doccy” as he was affectionately called by his family) was also passionate about the game of squash, and for many years was a nationally ranked masters player. After 67 years of marriage, six kids and a remarkable career, Dr. Talbott passed away in 2014. Today, Foundations Recovery Network continues Dr. Talbott’s innovative work in the field of co-occurring treatment.

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