Founded in 2011, Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition (BHRC) is a community-based organization that mobilizes community members for the health, dignity, and safety of people targeted by the war on drugs and anti sex-worker policies; we advocate for harm reduction as a part of a broader movement for social justice. We implement public health services and advocate for policies to expand harm reduction in Baltimore and across the state of Maryland. We believe in the value and dignity of all people and that we have a duty to assist in each other’s safety. In 2020, BHRC shifted to an organizational structure reflective of our values of collaborative leadership and leaderfulness. For general information from BHRC, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a voicemail at (410) 205.5143
In lieu of one executive director, BHRC has three co-directors who serve as the executive leadership team: the director of education, director of services, and director of mobilization. BHRC’s executive leadership team collectively provides organizational oversight and shares in the administrative activities needed to run the organization along with the operations team. As BHRC’s semi-horizontal organizational structure requires a high-level of communication and cooperation, the executive team along with the community outreach and operations teams collaboratively share and rotate leadership on all projects. Contact any of the executive team members for inquiries regarding funding, services, events, partnerships, or speaking engagements.
Harriet Smith, director of education | email@example.com
Rajani Gudlavalleti, director of mobilization | firstname.lastname@example.org
Open position: director of services | application details at http://www.tinyurl.com/BHRCisHiring
Community Outreach Team
The community outreach team works closely with the directors of services, mobilization and education to co-lead BHRC activities and movement building across Baltimore City and the state of Maryland. They provide outreach, harm reduction education, community organizing, and administrative support to all BHRC efforts.
Ricky Morris, Sr. | email@example.com
Candy (Sam) Kerr | firstname.lastname@example.org
Owen O’Keefe | email@example.com
BHRC’s operations team is responsible for the day-to-day functions of BHRC’s office space and primarily, will be working directly with BHRC’s fiscal sponsor, Fusion Partnerships, Inc to maintain and strengthen the organization’s infrastructure. This team also conducts and oversees accurate data entry related to service provision, volunteer hours, and program evaluation. Contact any of the operations team members for inquiries regarding office drop-by hours, deliveries, invoices, or payments.
Aline Thompson, Operations Administrator | firstname.lastname@example.org
Open position: operations manager | application details at http://www.tinyurl.com/BHRCisHiring
Harm Reduction Regional Ambassadors
Since 2019, BHRC has supported a rotating team of part-time Harm Reduction Regional Ambassadors from across the state of Maryland. This team engages with community-based organizations, health departments and other advocates in their region, and supports the coordination of the Maryland Harm Reduction Action Network (MHRAN). If you live or work outside Baltimore City and are interested to connect with harm reduction community mobilization efforts, please contact us and we can connect you to your regional ambassador.
Peet Bogusko, North-Eastern Maryland
Erin Woodie, Eastern Shore
Gretchen Graves, Western Maryland
Scott Cecil, Southern Maryland
Katy Edwards, Capital/Metro Region
Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition staff and advisory board members have a commitment to a justice analysis (racial equity, in particular) as well as a commitment to harm reduction. BHRC is committed to being guided by a group of people with a broad range of experiences–more than half of whom have experience being targeted by the war on drugs and anti-sex worker policies.
List of Current Members:
Gassoh, Gerardo, Laura, Meredith, Roland
About the BHRC Advisory Board:
The BHRC Advisory Board gathers every other month to advise on the current effectiveness of BHRC’s work, set priorities for upcoming opportunities, and advise on the expansion of harm reduction community mobilization in Baltimore and around the state.
Advisory Board members are eligible for stipends to compensate them for their time and travel. Priority for receiving stipends will be for people directly impacted by war on drugs and/or anti-sex worker policies. The racial makeup of the Advisory Board is intentional and aims to reflect the racial makeup of Baltimore City.
BHRC review applications twice a year–once in early January and once in early July. Prospective applicants are encouraged to reach out with questions and review the interest form at http://www.tinyurl.com/2019BHRC-AB-App. Interest forms can also be submitted over the phone or in person by contacting email@example.com or calling/texting 410-205-5143 to set up a time.
We value the expertise of people from historically marginalized communities, and encourage people of color, women, trans and non-binary people, and/or SGL, queer, lesbian, gay, bisexual people to apply.
Founded in 2011, then called Baltimore Student Harm Reduction Coalition, was primarily comprised of graduate and undergraduate students in health fields. Our founders were not given harm reduction training in school and wanted to bring this perspective to current and future health professionals, forming a community of providers committed to practicing harm reduction in Baltimore. As the organization grew to include more practicing service providers and residents directly impacted by criminalization, we removed “student” from our name.
Today, BHRC represents and partners a varied group of people, including those specifically targeted by anti-drug user and anti-sex worker policies, their loved ones, healthcare and service providers, advocates and organizers, public health workers, researchers, and other community members.
Some notable accomplishments over the years:
2011: After attending a harm reduction conference, a number of students began organizing with their peers and community advisors to form a harm reduction education group in Baltimore.
2012: We established an advisory board of local advocates and national harm reduction leaders, and continued to train hundreds of Baltimore residents in harm reduction concepts and skills.
2013-2014: We hired the first staff member and continued engaging dozens of volunteer-members. Supported multiple street-based outreach and service programs with volunteer time and supplies.
2014: We became the state’s first non-governmental group to provide opioid overdose education and naloxone distribution to potential responders/overdose witnesses. We have since guided other organizations to launch similar programs.
2013-16: We started working on policy advocacy, including Good Samaritan protections for people responding to overdose, Syringe Service Program expansion, and expanded naloxone access to community members. We have continued to go back each year to refine and rework these laws to increase access to services and reduce barriers to needed life-saving measures.
2017-18: With the arrival of new leadership, we expanded from one staff member to three full time staff members and two part time staff members, in addition to a dedicated team of volunteers and collaborators. We also took on coordination of the BRIDGES Coalition to support advocacy for overdose prevention sites. We also initiated the founding of the Maryland Harm Reduction ActionNetwork (MHRAN)–a statewide group that discusses local concerns in order to spread harm reduction across jurisdiction.
2019-present: We expanded our staff further by adding two new part-time staff members and paid internships. Became one of the two community-based syringe service providers authorized by the Maryland Department of Health. We are continuing to organize and advocate for more services grounded in harm reduction, authorization of overdose prevention sites, drug possession decriminalization, and for measures to reduce the criminalization of sex workers and others who have increased law enforcement interactions.
JOIN US! We are always looking for new collaborators, volunteers, and for justice projects to support. Reach out! Come to a monthly educational meeting! Follow us on social media and ask us to follow you!