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2022 Tasch-Kopolow Scholarship: Kaileigh Backes

PreventEd is honored to present the 2022 Tasch-Kopolow Scholarship to Kaileigh Backes in appreciation of her commitment to achieving excellence in a professional career serving the substance use field.

In 2021, Kaileigh graduated from Saint Louis University with a B.S. in psychology. As an undergraduate, Kaileigh was on the executive team of Active Minds, an organization that aims to increase awareness and reduce stigma surrounding mental health on college campuses. She also worked as a research assistant within the Department of Family and Community Medicine on a project that investigated the relationship between opioid use and adverse mental health outcomes in chronic pain patients. She spent the summer after graduation working as a behavioral health associate in an eating disorders treatment center.

Kaileigh is in the first year of her program at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. Her studies are concentrated on clinical mental health and substance use disorders treatment with a specialization in research. Kaileigh works as a research assistant within the Institute of Public Health investigating healthcare provider stigma towards people with HIV and opioid use disorder. She is currently completing her practicum at Gateway Foundation Corrections where she works with justice-involved clients who have substance use disorders.

Upon graduation, Kaileigh plans to continue working with people who use substances while pursuing her clinical licensure. Long-term, she hopes to continue contributing to the field through advocacy and research.