John Kelly

Dr. Kelly is the Elizabeth R. Spallin Professor of Psychiatry in Addiction Medicine at Harvard Medical School – the first endowed professor in addiction medicine at Harvard. He is also the Founder and Director of the Recovery Research Institute at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the Associate Director of the Center for Addiction Medicine (CAM) at MGH, and the Program Director of the Addiction Recovery Management Service (ARMS). Dr. Kelly is a former President of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Society of Addiction Psychology, and is a Fellow of the APA and a Diplomate of the American Board of Professional Psychology. He has served as a consultant to U.S. federal agencies and non-federal institutions, as well as foreign governments and the United Nations. Dr. Kelly has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles, reviews, chapters, and books in the field of addiction medicine, and was an author on the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health. His clinical and research work has focused on addiction treatment and the recovery process, mechanisms of behavior change, and reducing stigma and discrimination among individuals suffering from addiction.


Society Lecture 2021: Addiction Recovery: From Culture to Science


During the past 50 years a great deal has been learned about the etiology, epidemiology, typology, and phenomenology of addiction that has uncovered its complex causes, natural history, and highly variable presentation and clinical course. These novel findings have given rise to a number of clinical paradigm shifts and increased awareness of the many pathways through and out of addiction and into remission and long-term recovery. Also, while the concept of addiction “recovery” has been culturally commonplace during this period, reflecting a general process of salubrious change as individuals achieve more stable remission, in more recent years researchers have begun systematically to delineate formal operational definitions of the recovery construct in order to investigate and unravel its mobilizers and active ingredients. This Society Lecture will review briefly the new knowledge gained during the past 50 years and describe how this has led to a new movement of addiction recovery science that promises to better inform the nature and scope of the type of clinical and public health infrastructure needed to address it.