About Us

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 conferences of IDAA have been held in July or August in various locations around the country. The format is good for fundamental AA meetings. Al-Anon, Children's Program, Teen Program and IDAA-Twenties fellowship meetings as well as scientific education presentations, carrying CE/CME credits, addressing the latest evidence in the field of alcoholism and addiction.

In addition to the Annual Conference, IDAA hosts a meeting list that includes both virtual and in-person meetings specifically for healthcare providers and their loved ones. This carries the message of hope and healing throughout the year.


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IDAA Executive Director (current)

Michelle Van Alst — Executive Director 2023 - Present (Executive@IDAA.org)

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:

  • Robert J. Lindsey, 2021-2023
  • Mary E. R., MD, 2019-2021
  • Penelope Z. MD, 2019-2020
  • Michael M. MD and 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. 


  • Executive Director: Michelle Van Alst
  • Board Chair: Adam S.
  • Treasurer: Beth H.
  • Secretary: Mark G.

     Committees: The IDAA Board of Directors has established the following Committees:

  • Administration - John B.
  • Communication - Erin K.
  • Conference - Aaron R.
  • Finance - Beth H.
  • Membership - Steve K.
  • Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity - AJ J.
  • Scholarship - Anthony C.
  • Fundraising - Ryan O.

    Additional Board Members:

  • IDAA Family Recovery Representative - Andrew W.
  • IDAA Family Recovery Representative - Leigh H.
  • International Member at Large - Dave C.
  • Member at Large - Claire R.
  • Member at Large - Julie B.

Voting Members of the Board include the Chair of each committee, 3 at-large members (including an international representative), and 2 IDAA Family Recovery representatives.

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