Harm Reduction Specialist, The Philadelphia Department of Public Health

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Posted Date: 
Friday, August 9, 2019 - 9:30am
Expiration Date: 
Wednesday, October 9, 2019 - 9:30am
Job Summary: 

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health appreciates diversity among its staff and does not discriminate based on race, age, religion, ability, marital status, sexual orientation, sex, or gender identity.

Position Title: Harm Reduction Specialist

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Annual Salary: $43,260

Employment Status: Full-time position with benefits. This is a grant-funded position; thus, continuation of the position depends on continued availability of funds.

Job Description:

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH)’s Substance Use Program is hiring two (2) Harm Reduction Specialists who will provide essential support for all of the Program’s harm reduction activities. The individuals filling these positions will continue harm reduction initiatives currently in place as well as proactively seek out new opportunities for outreach. Emphasis will be placed on community education and distribution of naloxone, a life-saving medication that reverses opioid-related overdoses, as well as activities relating to safe syringe disposal, drug-related litter clean-up, and coordinating community outreach activities during overdose surges. The Harm Reduction Specialists will report to the Harm Reduction Coordinator and work very closely with staff within PDPH’s Substance Use Program, the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, the Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services, the Police Department, the Medical Examiner’s Office and health care providers associated with all major Philadelphia area hospital emergency departments.

Essential Duties:

Under the supervision of the Health Department’s Harm Reduction Coordinator, the Harm Reduction Specialists will perform the following essential job functions:

  • Coordinate regular outreach in highly affected neighborhoods.
  • Seek out opportunities and venues for outreach activities.
  • Schedule and conduct community-based training and education sessions regarding overdose prevention and naloxone use.
  • Manage PDPH naloxone inventory.
  • Help to plan and implement a community-based naloxone education and distribution program, identifying community organizations in high risk neighborhoods who are receptive and able to partner with the Department.
  • Coordinate activities relating to safe syringe disposal and drug-related litter clean-up.
  • Oversee outreach activities during and following surges in overdose.
  • Collaborate closely with community organizations to develop culturally-appropriate materials and strategies to raise awareness about the dangers of opioids, availability of naloxone, and other harm reduction strategies.
  • Maintain records about the distribution of naloxone from PDPH to these community organizations, including but not limited to number of events hosted, number of people trained and number of doses distributed.
  • Develop processes and procedures that will facilitate client access to drug treatment, such as warm hand-offs and expedited enrollment in medication assisted treatment programs.
  • Support other drug-related activities in PDPH through close work with staff involved in addressing the drug crisis in Philadelphia, including primary prevention, harm reduction and treatment initiatives.
  • Participate in local, state and national conferences, conference calls and workgroups addressing opioids and related public health topics.
  • Perform other activities related to opioid and substance use initiatives, as identified.
  • Participate in Emergency Preparedness drills, exercises, and trainings for the Health Department, as needed.


Bachelor’s degree in health or social sciences OR an associate’s degree with two+ years of relevant work experience.

Additional required qualifications:

  • Knowledge of/and or personal experience with substances and substance use
  • Experience and/or knowledge of the principles, practices, and techniques of outreach, education, and community-based networking
  • Sensitivity to and experience working with ethnically, economically, culturally and sexually diverse individuals, communities, agencies and organizations


  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Ability to analyze and think critically to apply reasonable judgment and problem-solving skills.
  • Excellent organizational skills.
  • Ability to work as part of a team, to prioritize and handle multiple tasks, and to work independently in a high-pressure environment.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective relationships with persons contacted in the course of work.
  • Bilingual English/Spanish highly preferred.