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Introduction to Harm Reduction

Introduction to Harm Reduction

Harm Reduction is a term that means many things to many people, but fundamentally, it is a way of reducing an individual’s risks and promoting behaviors that supports them in moving towards health and well-being. It also provides a framework to foster connection and trust, and to facilitate engagement in appropriate services. This six session bundle will provide an overview of the “Five Pillars” of Harm Reduction, answer common questions about harm reduction approaches, and demonstrate a role play in which harm reduction approaches are used and compared to non-harm reduction approaches.  


Meet the Instructors 

Ayala LivnyAyala Livny has worked in homeless services since 1995, working with men, families, children, and young adults to improve health outcomes and navigate systems. She most recently spent 11 years as the Program Manager at Youth On Fire, a drop-in center for youth and young adults ages 14-24 who are experiencing homelessness, based in Cambridge, MA. Her focus has been creating safe and welcoming spaces that incorporate harm reduction, HIV prevention, trauma-informed services, and positive youth development practices. Ayala also has an extensive background in organizational culture, substance use and addiction services, policy advocacy, positive youth development, performance measurement, facilitative leadership, community collaboration, and working with non-clinical staff to provide trauma-informed services. She participates in the Massachusetts Special Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth, and is on the Advisory Board for the Y2Y Initiative to create a new student-run overnight shelter for young adults experiencing homelessness. 


Lonnie_NoName.pngLonnie McAdoo is an Associate and Trainer for The Center for Social Innovation. He began training while in high school, serving as the Coordinator for the Boston Student Service Center. In 2000, Lonnie helped design and implement a Harm Reduction-based HIV prevention program, which utilized Motivational Interviewing, called Peer Action.  Peer Action worked with Intravenous Drug Users (IDU), Men who have Sex with Men (MSM), High Risk Sex Partners (also called High Risk Heterosexuals) and High Risk Youth, who were mostly homeless, using hard drugs (many addicted), had diagnosed mental illness (often not in care) and formally or informally doing sex work.  He later became the Associate Director of Community Programs, overseeing the AIDS Action Committee’s (AAC) Harm Reduction services and staffing the program’s out-posting at the Cambridge Needle Exchange. Prior to joining C4, he served as the Director of Child and Youth Violence Prevention for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Lonnie has also been a core trainer for the Community Health Education Centers in Boston and Lowell for the past 18 years.


Marc DonesMarc Dones is a graduate of New York University’s Gallatin School, with a concentration in psychiatric anthropology. Marc combines his solid academic powers with his engaging presentation style to deliver Praxis trainings. Prior to joining C4, Marc worked as a policy analyst, program assistant, and program manager in the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, where he focused on youth violence prevention and reduction, as well as systemic responses to youth homelessness. At the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, he served as Director of Project Management for Child and Adolescent Services. Serving on the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth, Marc co-chaired the Administration Committee.