Fairbanks physician honored at Heroes for Recovery Awards

Dr. James Meacham, a physician at Fairbanks, was one of the recipients at Mental Health America of Indiana’s (MHAI) Heroes for Recovery Awards banquet Dec. 15 at the Columbia Club.

The Heroes for Recovery Awards showcase and honor mental health, addiction and recovery professionals and advocates from around the state  for exemplary work to promote recovery and improve the lives of individuals and families facing the challenges of mental illness.

Meacham, a Hamilton County resident, was a staff endocrinologist at IU Health for six years before coming to Fairbanks. Previously he was assistant medical director at Clarian Diabetes and Endocrinology Inc. and served as managing partner for Diabetes & Endocrinology Associates.

Meacham became interested in addiction medicine in 2004, when he started volunteering at Fairbanks. He coordinated weekly meetings between the youth group at his church, Grace Community, and young adults in Fairbanks’ inpatient programs.

Along with providing personalized treatment at Fairbanks, Meacham also meets with other medical professionals to advocate treating addiction as a disease rather than a moral failing, as well as to help them better identify patients who are struggling with substance abuse.

“I’m truly here by God’s grace,” said Meacham, who is currently working toward board certification in addictionology and is already certified in internal medicine and pediatrics. “I am a grandson, a son and a father of individuals affected by this disease.”

“I knew that someday I’d spend the next season of my life walking alongside people who struggle with addiction.”

Meacham accepted his award on behalf of his Fairbanks colleagues who work on the clinical side of addiction treatment.

“They are physically and emotionally present for people who are suffering in ways very few of us can really understand. They do it with grace, charm and immense love,” he said while also acknowledging the efforts of Fairbanks’ administration and board of directors.

“They’re silent in the background, but go toe-to-toe with the disease of addiction every day. To them I’m eternally grateful for the opportunity to work with them.”