Position Description

Program Officer – Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT) Access in Prisons
Location United States
# 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.orgto find out more about our work.Vital Strategies is seeking to add expertise in drug strategy, with specific focus on overdose prevention. This work will begin initially in the United States.

Vital Strategies offers 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 Program Officer – Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT) Access in Prisons, seconded to the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) located in Lansing, Michigan.

The MDOC serves over 38,000 incarcerated individuals, many of whom have struggled with opioid use disorder (OUD). Evidence has shown that many among this population can benefit from medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD), but the ability to administer these medications requires complex regulatory and practitioner navigation as well as education to individuals with OUD and the staff that support them. It is also critical that incarcerated individuals connect to treatment and supportive services upon release from incarceration to reduce their risk of death and injury from overdose.

The MDOC has developed a strategic plan that aims to implement a full offering of MOUD, as well as any needed behavioral health counseling supports. This includes a partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to tackle policy barriers to accessing proper care upon entry and release for the individuals served. Vital Strategies will provide seconded staff to MDOC to assist with various functions related to implementing MOUD within MDOC facilities and improving linkages to community services, working in collaboration with MDHHS. This will include research on policies and practices, coordinating meetings, developing data, helping support educational and training initiatives, and bridging between state and contracted and other stakeholders.


Specific Duties

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

  • Facilitate implementation of plan to establish MOUD availability in three pilot MDOC facilities and develop a roadmap for statewide MDOC expansion
  • Research evidence base and best practices from other states, academia, and the private sector for MOUD in correctional facilities and linkages to community in partnership with MDHHS
  • Conduct site visits and familiarize themselves with the operations of pilot sites and coordinate meetings for rollout and implementation of MOUD
  • Collect and analyze information about implementation, including strategic planning, major challenges, and lessons learned.
  • Work with MDOC medical, custody and administrative leadership to draft protocols, budgets, and any pharmacy regulatory compliance documents as needed, in coordination with MDHHS
  • Assist MDOC in trouble-shooting and responding to implementation challenges, documenting lessons learned from pilot program, and incorporating learning from pilot into the formulation of broader expansion strategies
  • Some site visit travel to Michigan-based clinics will be required for this role


Qualities and Qualifications

  • 3+ years professional and/or work experience in public policy and/or health and human services, preferably with knowledge of policies and programs in Michigan
  • Graduate degree in nursing, public health, public policy, social work, or related health field.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills, with demonstrated ability to maintain partnerships with internal and external stakeholders
  • Familiarity with substance use/overdose/opioids policy, including related criminal justice issues, preferred
  • Meets clearance criteria to work within MDOC facilities. A criminal history check must be processed through LEIN (Law Enforcement Information Network) before hiring a new Departmental employee, a contractor, and contractor’s employees. 
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