Online ECHO Clinic | July 7, 2020
Presentation Title: Harm Reduction Peers: Centering Programs in Lived Experience
This presentation is the first of two discussions on peer-centered harm reduction practices. In this session, moderator Jude Leahy, provides a content discussion on harm reduction peers and has a panel discussion with several peers who are working in the field.
Blue Valentine CHW, Harm Reduction Peer Specialist, currently works as part of a cross-program team of communicable disease, health navigation, and harm reduction staff at Benton County Health Department, as part of the End HIV Oregon Project. Her work includes street and camp outreach, rapid testing, syringe services, client advocacy, naloxone distribution, and HIV and STI education. She coordinates a regional harm reduction group for the Linn, Benton, Lincoln, and Siletz region that has a focus on overdose prevention and naloxone access. Blue began working in Harm Reduction in Los Angeles in 1992. She has extensive experience providing HIV/HCV/STI prevention and testing and syringe services to diverse communities, including people who use drugs, people experiencing homelessness, sex workers, LGBTQ+ individuals, and people living with HIV.
Francisca “Sissy” Rilatos, CHW, Certified Recovery Mentor, currently works as a Harm Reduction Outreach Specialist for the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians located in Siletz, Oregon. The Confederated Tribes of Siletz is the only tribe in Oregon that currently has a harm reduction program. Sissy is a Siletz tribal member and has lived in Siletz her entire life. She has an extensive background with addiction. She has 20 years of lived experience which gives her the unique ability to reach clients. Services she currently provides include syringe access, naloxone distribution, HIV/Hep C rapid testing, and peer support. Sissy is in recovery and is very passionate about providing services to people living with substance use disorders. Sissy believes harm reduction is multi-faceted, that all clients make progress and abstinence is not the only way to measure success.
Sabrina Garcia, Certified Peer Recovery Specialist, works with the Transformation Wellness Center in Klamath County, Oregon. She has been doing peer support work with Peer Recovery Initiated in Medical Establishments and Linkage to Care (PRIME+) since November 2019. Sabrina is passionate about and finds fulfillment in her work as a peer supporting others. While only recently certified, Sabrina has offered peer services to her community in a volunteer capacity for years.
Joanna Cooper, Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist, is currently working with the HIV Alliance Needle Exchange/ OR-HOPE project. She has been a peer support specialist for the past 3 years, working with people using drugs in rural parts of Southwest Oregon. Joanna decided to become a peer support specialist so that she could be there for people without support systems in place and to advocate on behalf of the people who use drugs who experience stigma and discrimination on a daily basis in rural Douglas County. Joanna loves to get to know people, understand what they want to happen, and then be a voice if the person finds themselves in a situation where they are voiceless. She is also the mother of two wonderful girls 16 and 9 years old, and together they have three furry animals.