Position Description

Program Officer - Statewide Harm Reduction Coordination
Location United States
Department SUBSTANCE USE
# of openings 1
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Vital Strategies, headquartered in New York City, is an international public health organization. Our programs strengthen public health systems and address the world’s leading causes of illness, injury and death. We currently work in 73 countries, supporting data-driven decision making in government, advancing evidence-based public health policies and mounting strategic communication campaigns. Vital Strategies’ priorities are driven by the greatest potential to improve and save lives. They include non-communicable disease prevention, cardiovascular health promotion, tobacco control, road safety, obesity prevention, epidemic prevention, overdose prevention, environmental health, vital statistics systems building and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis treatment research. Our programs are primarily concentrated in low- and middle-income countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific; the Overdose Prevention Program is our first initiative in the United States. Please visit our website at www.vitalstrategies.org to find out more about our work.

Vital Strategies is seeking qualified candidates for the position of Program Officer - Statewide Harm Reduction Coordination seconded to the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) Division of HIV, STD and TB Services (DHSTS) and the Office of the Director of Opioid Response and Policy. Syringe access and harm reduction programs have gradually developed in New Jersey since the passage of legislation which allowed municipalities to establish permanent Harm Reduction Centers (HRCs), formerly known as Syringe Access Programs. NJDOH is interested in expanding harm reduction services in the state, especially in those high need communities where there is negligible access to harm reduction services.

In response to this need, Vital Strategies will provide seconded staff to assist NJDOH leadership to conduct policy analysis around harm reduction practices in the US and the country to identify best practices and update programs, policies, and regulations  around how to implement these practices in New Jersey. Further, the Harm Reduction Coordinator will provide policy guidance and education, as needed, to municipal and state-level agencies and organizations who engage with clients who use or have a history of substance use. The Harm Reduction Coordinator will stay abreast of emerging issues and overdose trends and advice local leadership on appropriate and harm reduction informed responses.

This is a limited time grant which is set to end on September 21, 2021. Funding renewal is possible, but not guaranteed. 

Specific Duties

The Secondee shall conduct work as if the Secondee were a full-time employee of NJDOH and shall have the following duties.:

  • Provide support to the Assistant Commissioner of DHSTS and the NJDOH Director of Opioid Response and other NJDOH leadership, to conduct relevant policy and legal analysis;
  •  Research and keep NJDOH leadership apprised of current harm reduction best practices with the US and internationally.
  • Update policies, regulations, and legislative request.
  • Assist NJDOH leadership design and implement a communications messaging strategy around harm reduction and update NJDOH’s current harm reduction website;
  • Develop, implement and manage the production of written products such as reports and issue briefs to advance harm reduction in New Jersey;
  • Work with NJ DOH, Vital Strategies and other external partners to provide technical assistance on harm reduction programs and best practices, including designing large events, such as a statewide harm reduction workshop;
  • Support DOH leadership in providing technical assistance to those entities that wish to establish Harm Reduction Programs;
  • Use overdose data and emerging trends to synthesize targeted interventions for local governments;
  • Review, analyze and submit comments on county and municipal overdose prevention policy proposals, activities and initiatives;
  • Draft policy and legal memos and other technical documentation as needed;
  • Perform complex analyses of projects to monitor and evaluate project performance;
  • Assist with quantitative and qualitative analyses of projects as needed;
  • Facilitate with the grant writing and project proposals that will further amplify NJDOH’s harm reduction portfolio.

Qualities and Qualifications

  • Degree in public health, public policy, law and/or related discipline and a minimum of five years “hand-on” experience working in capacity-building, prevention-oriented public health programs, HIV/STI, community-level services, and diverse constituents or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Knowledge of harm reduction practice and theory, including syringe access, safer drug use, and education for HIV and Hepatitis C prevention.
  • Strong writing, research and verbal communication skills
  • Able to initiate and engage in creative approaches to advancing policy
  • Proven ability to analyze laws, regulations, and policy
  • Proven expertise and experience driving institutional change, coalition building, developing partnerships with government leaders and services providers and informing public policy.
  • Familiarity with quantitative and qualitative research methods is a plus.

How to Apply

Please submit a CV and cover letter, including salary expectations, through the Vital Strategies Career Center. The deadline for applications is August 6 , 2020 . Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

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