Online ECHO Clinic | March 2, 2021
Presentation Title: Community Advisory Groups-Centering programs in the lived experience of people using substances | Community Resources for Wound Botulism
In this series of presentations, Jude Leahy, MPH, and Blue Valentine, CHW, Harm Reduction Specialist, share key insights for building community support, mitigating stakeholder opposition, advise on program design and implementation and developing support networks to give life to harm reduction programs. Then, Jude and Blue share critical information on what it truly means to have meaningful involvement of people who use drugs within health and harm reduction programs. Finally, a case discussion is shared on co-developing community information around wound botulism.
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.
Judith Leahy, MPH has been OHA’s Adult Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator since 2009. In this position, she organizes the state’s public health response to viral hepatitis. As the Viral Hepatitis Coordinator, Judith engages state and local stakeholders, including decision-makers to prevent new hepatitis A, B and C infections, improve health outcomes for people with hepatitis, eliminate community and population health disparities, and decrease future medical costs. Judith co-leads of the Oregon Viral Hepatitis Collective, a group of community members and stakeholders using the Collective Impact Model to eliminate viral hepatitis. Before joining OHA, Judith worked with two California community-based organizations, Centerforce and Project Inform. Centerforce is a San Francisco Bay Are non-profit that provides a broad range of programs and services to people who are incarcerated and family members in jail and prisons during and following release. Project Inform was a national non-profit organization that provided information to people living with HIV and HCV, and advocated for effective HIV and HCV treatment, quality affordable health care and medical strategies to prevent new infections. Judith started learning about harm reduction through volunteer work at HIV and syringe exchange programs in the 1990’s. She believes that we have the power to combat the false narratives around harmful substance use in our communities through the ways we show up. We can change the narrative around harmful substance use to one that centers in love, resilience, and hope. When we hold and act with unconditional positive regard, we and the people we engage, can get footholds on the path to healing. “In the shelter of one another the people live.” (Irish proverb)