2012: ​Harm Reduction in the House: It Takes a Village

Keynote Address

Bechara Choucair, MD, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Public Health

Day One:Training

Introduction to Harm Reduction:  
Scott R. Petersen, LCSW, CACIII, Director of Mental Health and Substance Treatment Services, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
Tailored to attendees who are new to the concept of harm reduction housing


The Importance of Outreach & Engagement
Staff involved in outreach services talk about the importance of utilizing a harm reduction approach to engage those they work withModerator: James Kowalsky, Outreach Worker, Heartland Alliance Health

  • Erica C. Ernst, MSW, LSW, EMT-P, Supervisor, Thresholds Mobile Assessment Unit CTA Team
  • Norman Livingston Kerr, MSW, UCAN CITY program
  • Rev. Jen Rude, Youth Outreach Coordinator, The Night Ministry
  • Patrick Stonehouse, MA, Manager, HIV Prevention Services, Heartland Human Care Services

Harm Reduction Approaches to Employment & Vocational Services
Vocational staff discuss the application of harm reduction to the work they do in employment services
Moderator: Melissa Young,  Associate Director of the National Transitional Jobs Network, Heartland Alliance

  • Rev. Liala Beukema, Co-director, Lakeview Employment Group
  • Sarah Colaric, LCSW, Employment Program Manager at Chicago House & Social Services Agency
  • Virginia Fraser, MA, CRC, LCPC, Associate Director, Thresholds
  • Teneshia Morgan, Employment Coordinator, Goldie’s Place
  • Nancy Phillips, MS, Director of Green Initiatives in the Employment and Economic Advancement Division at Heartland Human Care Services

Harm Reduction in Integrated Primary Care & Behavioral Health Services
Agency staff who provide primary and behavioral health care talk about how they incorporate harm reduction approaches

Moderator: Julie Nelson, Associate Director of Outreach, Benefits, and Entitlements, Heartland Alliance Health

  • D. Michael Coy, LCSW, Substance Abuse Therapist, Howard Brown Health Center
  • Karen Elliot, BA, CADC, MISA, Clinical Supervisor, New Age Services Corporation
  • Stacy Erenberg, co-founder and practitioner at Sage Community Health Collective
  • Sarah Fletcher, LCSW, CADC, ACT Team Leader, Trilogy Inc.
  • Stephanie Luther, MD, Senior Medical Officer, Heartland Alliance Health
  • Jane Niermann, LCSW, CADC, therapist, Community Counseling Centers of Chicago

A Spiritual Approach to Harm Reduction
Representatives of faith-based organizations speak about their understanding and utilization of harm reduction in a spiritual context
Moderator: Rev. Ed Bird, MSW, MDiv, Assistant Rector, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church

  • Walter Boyd, Director, Ex-offender Opportunity Program
  • Rabbi Menachem Cohen, MFA, Youth Outreach Rabbi, The Night Ministry
  • Sill Davis, Emmaus Ministries
  • Reverend Doris J. Green, B.C., CADC, CCHP, Director of Correctional Health & Community Affairs, AIDS Foundation of Chicago

Practicing Harm Reduction in a Non-Harm Reduction World
Staff who work with internal or external entities that do not embrace harm reduction discuss how they manage these relationships and serve as harm reduction ambassadors

Moderator: Carie Bires, MSW, Systems Integration Manager, Heartland Alliance Health

  • Andre Chatman, MA, LCPC, Program Coordinator and Lead Clinical Professional Counselor, US Behavioral Services Center
  • Kathy Daniher, MA, LCPC, Director, Homeless Outreach Services, Beacon Therapeutic
  • Russell J. Montgomery, MA, CADC, Mercy Lakefront Housing
  • Susan Zeigler, LCSW, HIV Prevention Project Manager, Chicago House

Consumer Reflections on Harm Reduction Services
Consumers of harm reduction services give their perspectives

Moderator: Sherise Alexander, Director of Operations, Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness

  • Tiffany T., Chicago House
  • Gloria E., Renaissance Social Services
  • Anthony N., Heartland Alliance Health
  • Frank N., Heartland Alliance Health

Day Two: Training

Intensive Training in Harm Reduction Practice
Patt Denning, Ph.D.  & Jeannie Little, LCSW (Authors of Over the Influence and Practicing Harm Reduction Psychotherapy)

Advanced Practice in Harm Reduction Psychotherapy:
This workshop will focus on helping clinicians develop the understanding and skills necessary to work with individuals who engage in substance use and other risky behaviors.  The presenters will use both didactic and experiential approaches to explore the challenges and skills involved in meeting the needs of people who are homeless.

Track 1: Harm Reduction Housing
This training will focus on the process, challenges, and advantages of creating housing programs that embrace harm reduction—that is, housing that does not require abstinence as the ticket for admission.  This training will explore pragmatic applications of harm reduction within a supportive housing setting and is aimed at people who work with consumers who engage in high-risk behavior and who are not ready for (or reject) abstinence-based treatment programs.  Because the focus will be on tools and techniques for applying harm reduction, attendees should already be familiar with the basic principles of harm reduction.

Track 2: Harm Reduction Clinical Supervision and Management
This training will focus on meeting the challenges of supervising staff and helping them shape their approach to clinical work and case management to fit the expectations of the harm reduction philosophy.