Position Description

States Director, Overdose Prevention Program
Location United States
Department Other Programs PH
# 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, environmental health, vital statistics systems building and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis treatment research. Our programs are concentrated in low- and middle-income countries and cities in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific. Please visit our website at www.vitalstrategies.org to find out more about our work.

Vital Strategies is seeking to add expertise in drug strategy, with specific focus on overdose prevention. This work is based in the United States. The salary range for this position is $154K-$165K, salary flexible and commensurate with experience. Vital Strategies offers highly competitive compensation and comprehensive benefits. Vital welcomes and supports a diverse, inclusive work environment. As such, our commitment is to promote equal employment opportunities (EEO) for all applicants seeking employment.

Job Purpose:

Vital Strategies is seeking qualified candidates for the position of States Director for the Overdose Prevention Program (OPP). Vital Strategies is funding projects and providing technical assistance tailored to the overdose epidemic on the ground in specific U.S. states. We are assisting local partners in reforming policy, innovating programs, and mobilizing communities at the neighborhood, municipal, county and state levels. Our work is expanding to include additional states, and we are hiring staff to manage that expansion.

The States Director will manage and support the program states team for overdose prevention work in 7 states, including project planning and implementation activities for key interventions. The States Director will be a key member of the leadership team of the OPP and a senior manager and leader in the organization as a whole. The position is based in New York City. Some domestic travel will be required for onsite engagement.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Manage and support staff for overdose prevention work in 7 focus states, including:

  • State and local government relationships, including agency-embedded staff and project collaboration and coordination
  • Technical assistance projects to scale and sustain key interventions in states
  • Strategy, planning, collaboration, and coordination for policy and program innovation, improvement, and sustainability
  • Outreach, engagement, collaboration, and coordination with BIPOC-led and grass-roots community mobilization groups for overdose prevention work

Specific Duties :

  • Oversee and manage relationships in focus states for all key interventions:

    • Drive and direct program and policy projects work with the parties listed above
    • Lead intervention-specific coordination, collaboration, and support across jurisdictions and states
  • Design and develop project work strategy in all focus states, including the monitoring and improvement of divisional and team goals
    • Budget monitoring in focus states
    • Agency-embedded staff position development, hiring, and oversight
    • Facilitate and direct coordination and collaboration with other programs and divisions at Vital Strategies
  • Lead and manage state teams
    • Supervise and support state Senior Technical Advisors and staff to build state-focused relationships and develop, implement, monitor, and support projects in a timely and quality fashion
    • Mentor junior staff concerning any aspect of their work at Vital Strategies, career advancement, and professional development. Seek – and distribute fairly – opportunities for team members to acquire and display skills and experience.
    • Promote a team culture of transparent and inclusive decision-making
    • Foster respectful collaboration and open communication and dialogue among team members across the OPP, and with internal and external colleagues
  • Guide and lead program development, implementation, and expansion of states-focused work and toolkit projects
    • Apply an intersectional racial justice framework in all program processes and project work
    • Represent the program in meetings, coalitions, and other groups, as needed
    • Serve as part of the three-person program leadership team
  • Direct state program collaboration and coordination with:
    • Technical Director and program staff
    • Other programs and departments at Vital Strategies
    • Partners in the Bloomberg Philanthropies overdose initiative
    • State and local government partners
    • Non-governmental and community-based organization partners
    • Contracted consultants
  • Supervise and support the development of 5 Senior Technical Advisors focused on 7 states
  • Serve as part of the program leadership team
  • Coalition-building and network support for public health approach to drug use


Education and Degree - 

  • PhD or Master’s or professional graduate degree, preferred 

Skills and Abilities - 

  • Excellent organization and time management skills

  • Excellent oral, written, and interpersonal communication skills

  • Demonstrated ability to work under pressure and deliver against tight deadlines

  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively as well as autonomously

  • Demonstrated sound judgment

  • Demonstrated record of planning, coordinating, advocating, and achieving meaningful change in state and local policies for people who use drugs

  • Extensive knowledge of drug use/overdose/harm reduction/opioids policy

  • Deep understanding of legislative and regulatory processes and levers of influence and change

  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills

  • Intermediate to advanced knowledge in Microsoft Office, including use of pivot tables, V-lookups, and formulas

  • Ability to provide leadership and coordination to an inter-agency collaboration representing diverse perspectives

  • Ability to navigate various interests and a operate in a dynamic and complex political environment

  • Strong management skills, including: staff supervision and performance management; team-building and team management; inclusive decision-making; communication


Required - 

  • 15+ years of related work experience

  • Experience in managing all levels of staff

  • 10+ years of full-cycle project/program management experience

Preferred - 

  • Governmental agency work experience

  • Policy advocay experience

  • Demonstrated record of planning, coordinating advocating and achieving meaningful change in state and local policies for public health approach to drug use

Working Conditions and Physical Requirements:

Individual may be required to occasionally move between partener offices in the New York City area. In addition, up to 30% of time in domestic travel may be required to attend meetings.

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