IDAA Organization

IDAA Bylaws (PDF)

IDAA History and Objectives

Founded — 1949

International Doctors in Alcoholics Anonymous had its origins in the garage of Dr. Clarence Pearson in upstate New York in 1949. Dr. Pearson, a recovering alcoholic and practicing physician, and his wife Polly invited other physicians and their families for an AA retreat at their summer home in Cape Vincent, New York, near the Canadian border.

Attendance at that summer meeting totaled 34. Doctors from the United States, three from Canada and the presence of a psychologist as well as physicians, made the meeting both international and interdisciplinary. Hence the organization International Doctors in AA (IDAA) was founded.

Since that time, annual meetings of IDAA have been held in July - August in various locations around the country. The format has changed to some degree from the early years, but the core remains the same - good fundamental AA meetings. Al-Anon, Children's Program, Teen Program and Ala-Twenties fellowship meetings have been added through the years. IDAA's commitment to family recovery means that meetings are truly a family affair for many.

Attending the annual IDAA meeting and interacting with many other recovering healthcare professionals helps greatly in dealing with professional issues involving recovery and living clean and sober. There are also scientific education presentations, carrying CE/CME credits, addressing the state of the art in the field of alcoholism, addiction and allied diseases.

International Doctors in AA is a fellowship of recovering healthcare professionals and their families whose primary purpose is to support one another in recovery from alcoholism and other drug addictions. We are self supporting through our own contributions and member dues are $250 annually. A reduced rate of $25 is available to qualifying students. The only requirement for membership is the desire to achieve and maintain recovery.

IDAA Executive Director (current)

Michelle Van Alst — Executive Director 2023 - Present

Since its inception in 1949 in Dr. Clarence Pearson's garage in upstate New York, the following outstanding and dedicated leaders have guided IDAA through the years:

  • Michelle Van Alst — 2023-Present
  • Robert J. Lindsey — 2021-2023
  • Mary E. R. MD — 2019-2021
  • Penelope Z. MD — 2019-2020
  • Michael M. MD & Ginger M. MS RN — 2015-2019
  • Dale S. MD — 2008-2015
  • Gordon H. MD — 2002-2008
  • C Richard McK. MD — 1987-2002
  • Luke K. Reed MD — 1960-1987
  • Clarence Pearson MD — 1949-1960

IDAA is eternally grateful for their many years of service to the organization.

Board of Directors (formerly Steering Committee)

The Board of Directors is the governing body for International Doctors in Alcoholics Anonymous (IDAA) as an organization.

  • Responsibilities include
    • Follow the IDAA Vision and Mission statements
    • Establish Membership
    • Financial Stability: financial oversight and fund raising
    • Annual Meeting Assistance/Support to the Local Arrangement Committees (LAC)
    • Scholarship Assistance to help members and their families in need to attend the annual meeting.
    • Adherence to the IDAA By-Laws
    • Set policy, provide governance and oversight of IDAA's operations
  • Membership — Board of Directors
    • Members include both voting and non-voting individuals. The voting members are the Chair of each Committee, three At-Large members (including an International Representative), and two Al-Anon members. The elected Board Chair is the chair of the Board of Directors. The Executive Director and Administrative Director serve as non-voting members.
  • Committees: The IDAA Board of Directors has established the following Standing Committees:
    • Administration
    • Communication
    • Conference
    • Finance
    • Membership
    • Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity
    • Scholarship
  • IDAA Officers
    • Board Chair
    • Treasurer
    • Secretary
  • IDAA Central Office Staff
    • Executive Director
    • Administrative Director

Vision Statement

IDAA envisions recovery for all health care professionals and their families impacted by addictive disorders.

Mission Statement

The mission of IDAA is to carry the message of recovery to health care professionals and their families.


The IDAA 2024 annual meeting will be held in Baltimore, Maryland July 10-14, 2024 at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront.

Information and Registration