Harm Reduction Specialist

Equal Opportunity Employer

The mission of the Health Federation of Philadelphia is to promote health equity for marginalized communities by advancing access to high-quality, integrated, and comprehensive health and human services.  Health equity is at the heart of all our work. We believe in and are firmly committed to equal employment opportunity for employees and applicants. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, age, religion, disability, sex or gender, gender identity and/or expression, sexual orientation, military or veteran status.  This commitment applies to all aspects of the Health Federation of Philadelphia’s employment practices, including recruiting, hiring, training, and promotion.


Many cities have been impacted by the overdose crisis, but Philadelphia has been hit especially hard. The City of Philadelphia Department of Public Health has responded by creating the Division of Substance Use Prevention and Harm Reduction (SUPHR), a team focused on improving the health and well-being of people who use drugs in Philadelphia.  SUPHR has 10 teams: Bereavement (Philly HEALs), Communications, Community Engagement, Environmental Services, Epidemiology, Harm Reduction, Medical, Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (Philly LIFTS), Operations, and Overdose Fatality Review (OD Stat). The team's mission is to prevent overdoses and other health issues by offering services and shaping policies to promote the dignity, autonomy, and health of people who use drugs. To name just a few things, SUPHR offers overdose prevention trainings, support to families with babies born with NAS, and same day pay program focused on creating job opportunities while cleaning communities. Since so many Philadelphians have been touched by the overdose crisis, SUPHR also provides counseling to children and adults who have lost someone in their life to an overdose. Behind the scenes, SUPHR works with other City agencies, hospitals, and community groups to ensure that everyone is working together to combat stigma and encourage harm reduction efforts. SUPHR recognizes that many communities have been dealing with substance use for a long time, and SUPHR is invested in giving communities the tools they need to keep people who use drugs, their loved ones, and the larger community healthy and safe.


The Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH)’s Substance Use program is hiring a Harm Reduction  Specialist who will provide essential support for all of the program’s harm reduction activities. The individual filling this position will continue harm reduction activities currently in place as well as proactively seek out new opportunities for outreach. Emphasis will be placed on community education and distribution of Naloxone and test strips 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 Specialist will report to the Harm Reduction Manager and work very closely with interdepartmental staff within PDPH-SUPHR, 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.


Under the supervision of the Harm Reduction Manager, the Harm Reduction Specialist will perform the following essential job functions:

  • Schedule and facilitate virtual and in-person community-based training and education sessions regarding test strips, overdose prevention, and naloxone use.
  • Seek out activities and venues for outreach activities.
  • Manage PDPH inventory of harm reduction supplies including fentanyl test strips, xylazine test strips, Naloxone, and other commonly distributed items.
  • Help to implement a community-based naloxone education and distribution program, identifying organizations in high-risk neighborhoods who are receptive and able to partner with the department.
  • Collaborate closely interdepartmentally and 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 materials/strategies.
  • Maintain records about the distribution of Naloxone from PDPH to these organizations, including but not limited to events hosted, number of people trained, and number of doses distributed.
  • Support other drug-related activities in PDPH through close work with staff involved in addressing the overdose crisis in Philadelphia, including primary prevention, harm reduction, and treatment initiatives.
  • Participate in local, state, and national conferences, conference calls, and workgroups addressing various substances and related public health topics.
  • Perform other activities related to substance use initiatives, as identified.
  • Participate in emergency preparedness drills, exercises, and trainings for the health department, as needed.
  • Regularly drive company vehicles to distribute Naloxone and other harm reduction supplies.
  • Conduct monthly data reports to the Harm Reduction Manager regarding trends in material distribution, identifying what supplies need to be replenished, as well as participant survey trends related to trainings and workshops.
  • Oversee PDPH’s Naloxone distribution tower, including regular maintenance requests, keeping the Naloxone stocked, and maintaining relationships with project partners.
  • Facilitate virtual bi-weekly workshops on how to administer Naloxone and use test strips.


  • Bachelor’s degree in health or social sciences OR associate's degree with 2+ years of relevant work experience.


  • Valid Pennsylvania drivers license required.
  • Computer proficiency, particularly in MS Word, MS Excel, MS Teams, MS Outlook, and online research databases.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Effective management skills.
  • Excellent organizational skills.
  • A strong ability to maintain extremely sensitive and confidential information.
  • Ability to collaborate with Executive Staff.
  • Ability to host virtual meetings.
  • Ability to maintain organization and meetings minutes for multiple committees.
  • Ability to work under pressure to meet deadlines.
  • Ability to take initiative, work independently, and use innovative techniques and ingenuity to prepare reports and presentations.
  • Ability to coordinate complex timelines and schedules.
  • Ability to analyze and think critically to apply reasonable judgment and critical thinking skills.
  • Ability to work as part of a team, to prioritize and handle multiple tasks, and to work independently in a high-pressure environment.
  • Curiosity about the functions, policies, and protocols of City departments and services. Experience in Local or State government is a plus, but not necessary.
  • Sensitivity to and experience working with ethnically, culturally, and sexually diverse individuals, communities, agencies and organizations.

Work Environment:

  • Standard office setting with extended periods at workstation and periodic use of office equipment.
  • Street outreach requires staff to work in extreme weather conditions occasionally.

Position Type:  Full-time position

Work Schedule:  Full-time position, typical hours are Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.  Flex office schedule options available with supervisor’s approval.

Travel:  Regular travel in company vehicles to distribute harm reduction supplies such as Naloxone. Local travel to community sites and community meetings.

Physical Demands:

  • Ability to transport materials.
  •  Routinely moves equipment or supplies weighing up to 30lbs.
  • Street level outreach and events require long periods of canvassing and standing/sitting.
  • Assisting in overdose reversal requires the ability to use maneuvers to roll over individuals of various weights into a “recovery position”.

Salary and Benefits:  $60,765 with a comprehensive benefits package that can include:

  • Medical with vision benefits
  • Dental insurance
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Life, AD&D and long-term care insurance
  • Short- and long-term disability insurance
  • 403(b) Retirement Plan, with a company contribution
  • Paid time off including vacation, sick, personal and holiday
  • Employee Assistance Program

Eligibility and participation is handled consistent with the plan documents and HFP policy. 


The Health Federation reserves the right to modify, interpret, or apply this job description in any way the Company desires. The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by an employee assigned to this position. This job description in no way implies that these are the only duties, including essential duties, responsibilities and/or skills to be performed by the employee occupying this position. This job description is not an employment contract, implied, or otherwise. The employment relationship remains “at will.” The aforementioned job requirements are subject to change to reasonably accommodate qualified disabled individuals.