Jennifer Nelson (Jen) is the Director, Risk Reduction Education Program and Virtual Expansion. Jen joined the Strategic Initiatives & Process Improvement team with Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation (HBFF) following her time as a Counselor 4 on the Men’s Day Treatment Unit with the Foundation. Jen is also a graduate of HBFF Graduate School of Addiction Studies. Prior to joining the HBFF team, Jennifer was employed with Alcohol and Drug Services of Gallatin County as their Prevention Specialist in Bozeman, Montana. During her time in Montana, Jennifer developed a family program called “Talking with Kids” which evolved into a partnership with the Gallatin County school district, Haven (which provides safe intervention/housing for survivors of intimate partner violence), Greater Gallatin United Way, Montana Adult and Youth corrections departments, Montana State University, Reach Inc., Human Resources Development Center (HRDC), and many additional local and state government agencies. This partnership continues today, however, once Jennifer left ADSGC, the school district continued the educational classes for families with the continuance of aforementioned partners with several additions. While Jen was with ADSGC, she also facilitated all of the Minor in Possession classes for both minors and their parent/guardians and was a certified Prime for Life (PFL) instructor and facilitated their PFL classes.
Jen’s passion for helping those in recovery developed early on through her own experiences with addiction and working with at risk youth as part of “a last chance initiative” for students about to be expelled from school and partnering the students with a professional. At that time Jennifer was working as an environmental engineer for 13+ years following her graduation from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Through this initial connection with youth in the environmental field prompted an internal mission to work with those struggling with addiction and to improve expansion of resources to those in rural communities and beyond.
As Director, Risk Reduction Education Program Jen will oversee the Risk Reduction Program and virtual expansion operations, maintain fidelity of the clinical model, ensure proper clinical licensure in all relevant states of virtual services. Jen brings passion and experience to the already thriving Strategic Initiatives & Process Improvement team and continue to build the expansion of HBFF’s virtual services.
In addition, Jen enjoys watching Indiana University Men Basketball games, gardening, hiking with her husband Nick Nelson and dogs (Lilly and Badger), fishing with her parents, visiting with her 89-year-old grandmother, remodeling her and her husband’s 1900 farmhouse, attending UND hockey games with in-laws, and bird watching.