Position Description

Seconded Senior Technical Advisor, Syringe Service Access, Pennsylvania Department of Health
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 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.

The Position

Vital Strategies is seeking qualified candidates for the position of Senior Technical Advisor – Syringe Service Access, seconded to the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP). Syringes are currently criminalized as drug paraphernalia in Pennsylvania, which severely limits the expansion of syringe service programs (SSPs) as a lifesaving public health intervention. The DOH has determined a critical need to establish a legal pathway for SSP throughout Pennsylvania, as a key intervention to reduce overdose deaths. The Senior Technical Advisor will assist the DOH with strategic planning and coordination of the agency’s activities related to syringe authorization and the implementation of legal SSPs.

Specific Duties

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

  • Monitor legislative efforts related to syringe authorization and drug paraphernalia; inform DOH leadership and staff of relevant legislative developments, including related media coverage and community engagement.
  • Support DOH Office of Legislative Affairs with various activities, including research, drafting reports, development of educational materials, responding to requests for information, and other duties as assigned
  • Assist DOH personnel in provision of expert technical input on legislative proposals affecting legal status of syringes and other drug paraphernalia
  • Support the DOH Office of External Affairs in the creation of a stakeholder engagement strategy to advance DOH goal of authorizing and promoting expansion of SSPs
  • Develop a public engagement strategy in support of syringe authorization, including opportunities to educate and shape public opinion, participating in public events, and communications across various forms of media
  • Establish a plan for the development and delivery of guidance and technical assistance to support the implementation of SSPs in Pennsylvania jurisdictions once legally authorized
  • In partnership with the DOH Office of External Affairs, mobilize and sustain a coalition of public health and medical professionals, community-based organizations, and people who use drugs and their advocates to promote the implementation of SSPs once legally authorized.

Qualities and Qualifications

  • 12+ years professional and/or work experience in public policy and/or health and human services, preferably in Pennsylvania
  • Terminal degree in law, medicine, political science, public health, public policy, social work, or related field.
  • Deep understanding of legislative and regulatory processes and levers of influence and change; familiarity/experience with the Pennsylvania General Assembly preferred
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills; experience with public relations/communications preferred
  • Demonstrated record of planning, coordinating, advocating, and achieving impactful change in state and local policies impacting persons who use substances
  • Strong interpersonal skills, with demonstrated ability to maintain partnerships with internal and external stakeholders
  • Extensive knowledge of substance use/overdose/opioids policy, including related criminal justice issues 
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