Dr. James “Jim” Ford
Masters of Counseling/Family Therapy, 2002
An alumni, professor and assistant department chair, Jim is no stranger to multiple careers and responsibilities. He is a decorated Vietnam veteran, has had a 30-year career commanding merchant marine ships and is today a couselor, therapist and research associate at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University’s Family and Community Research Laboratory.
At University of Phoenix, Jim was a student, professor and assistant department chair—at the same time. As he completed his master’s degree in marriage and family counseling, he assisted the department chair in coordinating graduate and undergraduate business programs while working as a substance abuse counselor.
“Many merchant marines I sailed with had substance abuse, behavioral and other personal challenges,” says Jim. Helping his crew deal with these tough issues steered him toward substance abuse counseling, marriage and family therapy.
Today, Jim serves those who have served our country. He was recently honored by the Graduate Faculty Committee at Virginia Tech for his research, “Doing the Right Thing—Relational Ethics in Institutional Caregiving for Veterans.” He is motivated to improve the ethics and effectiveness of prevention and intervention efforts for active duty military personnel, veterans and their families who face difficult life transitions and health care choices.