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Andrew Finch - Vanderbilt University. Nashville, TN, US

Andrew Finch Andrew Finch

Associate Professor of the Practice, Department of Human and Organizational Development; Core Faculty, Human Development Counseling | Vanderbilt University


An expert who specializes in recovery high schools, substance use disorders, teen addiction and school counseling.






Peabody Faculty Profile: Andy Finch



Andrew Finch is program coordinator for the online M.Ed. in human development counseling with a specialization in school counseling. His research interests include the role of schools as continuing care for substance use disorders, counseling and human development and the ecology of schools.

Areas of Expertise (17)

Addiction and mental health counseling


Substance Abuse and Addiction

Teen Addiction

Drug Abuse

Addiction & Recovery

Organizational Theory, Leadership, and Public Policy

Ecology of Schools

Role of Schools in Recovery from Substance Use & Co-Occurring Disorders

Human Development

School Counseling

Recovery High Schools

Teen Alcohol Abuse

Drug Addiction and Treatment

Dropout Prevention

War on Drugs

Alcoholism and Recovery

Accomplishments (3)

Advocate for Action (professional)

Presented by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy

Counselor Advocate of the Year (professional)

Presented by the Middle Tennessee Counselor Association

Outstanding Individual Program (professional)

Presented to Chapter Executive Committee by the Chi Sigma Iota Counseling Academic and Professional International Honor Society

Education (3)

Vanderbilt University: Ph.D.

Vanderbilt University: M.A.

University of Kansas: B.S.

Affiliations (3)

  • Member, American Counseling Association
  • Member, American Educational Research Association
  • Co-Founder and Board of Directors Senior Advisor, Association of Recovery Schools

Selected Media Appearances (3)

Readin'. Writin’. Recovery: Faith-based high school new option for Lehigh Valley students battling addiction

Allentown Morning Call  online


That’s typically why recovery high schools are successful, said Andy Finch, a professor at Vanderbilt University who has studied recovery high schools. Studies have shown that recovery high schools have a positive impact on students, and that can be attributed to the small class sizes and support systems. “You’ve created a culture of peers who are ... trying to change their alcohol and drug use, and trying to stop,” Finch said. “When a kid starts to struggle, people are aware of it.”

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Ohio Opens School For Students With Addiction

WILL News - Illinois Public Media  online


Research on these small schools is limited, but Vanderbilt professor Andrew Finch says outcomes have been encouraging. "The scientific findings have shown so far that you do see a positive effect of having a recovery high school even for a short period of time," Finch says. Finch is co-founder of the Association of Recovery Schools. In a 2017 peer-reviewed study, he and his research partner found that recovery schools have a variety of beneficial effects.

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Fresh Times at Rehab High

Pacific Standard  online


Because recovery schools are all run independently of one another, they vary greatly in almost every other way: size, structure, curriculum, funding sources. Schools range between five and 100 students. "It's not a one-size-fits-all approach," says leading researcher on recovery high schools Andy Finch, an associate professor at Vanderbilt University and co-founder of the ARS.

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Selected Articles (6)

Readin'. Writin’. Recovery: Faith-based high school new option for Lehigh Valley students battling addiction

The Morning Call

Jacqueline Palochko



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Recovery high schools: Effect of schools supporting recovery from substance use disorders

The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Andrew J Finch, Emily Tanner-Smith, Emily Hennessy, D Paul Moberg

2017 A quasi-experimental design comparing outcomes for adolescents with treated SUDs who attended RHSs for at least 28 days versus a propensity-score balanced sample of students with treated SUDs who did not attend RHSs. The sample included 194 adolescents (134 in RHSs, 60 in non-RHSs) enrolled in Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Texas schools (M age = 16; 86% White; 49% female).

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The ecological and developmental role of recovery high schools

Peabody Journal of Education

Andrew J Finch, Gina Frieden

2014 Recovery high schools are secondary schools designed specifically for students recovering from substance use or co-occurring disorders. Studies have affirmed the chronic nature of substance use disorders and the developmental value of social supports for adolescents. As part of understanding human growth and development, training programs for human service professionals (teachers, counselors, and social workers) emphasize comprehension and application of developmental theories.

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Recovery high schools: Students and responsive academic and therapeutic services

Peabody Journal of Education

D Paul Moberg, Andrew J Finch, Stephanie M Lindsley

2014 This article reviews findings from the authors’ studies of recovery high schools (RHS), including a 1995 program evaluation of a school in New Mexico (Moberg & Thaler, 1995), a 2006–09 descriptive study of 17 recovery high schools (Moberg & Finch, 2008), and presents early findings from a current study of the effectiveness of recovery high schools. Descriptive and qualitative findings are presented.

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Continuing care in high schools: A descriptive study of recovery high school programs

Journal of child & adolescent substance abuse

Andrew J Finch, D Paul Moberg, Amanda Lawton Krupp

2014 Data from 17 recovery high schools suggest programs are dynamic and vary in enrollment, fiscal stability, governance, staffing, and organizational structure. Schools struggle with enrollment, funding, lack of primary treatment accessibility, academic rigor, and institutional support. Still, for adolescents having received treatment for substance abuse, recovery schools appear to successfully function as continuing care providers, reinforcing and sustaining therapeutic benefits gained from treatment.

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Recovery high schools: Opportunities for support and personal growth for students in recovery

The Prevention Researcher

Andrew Finch, Holly Wegman

2012 Every day, teenagers who have made a decision to stop abusing drugs and alcohol are required by law to return to their assigned high schools. While many teenagers are able to withstand peer pressure and the daily presence of drugs or alcohol in their midst, studies have shown that most succumb to relapse within three months, and about half return to full-blown use within a year.

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