Practicum Opportunity: Creating a Harm Reduction Peer Learning Network in Central Appalachia
Timeline: May–September 2020 (with potential to be extended beyond September)
Location: Remote with option to work from IPRC office in Carrboro (when campus reopens)
Application Deadline: April 15, 2020

Project Description:

In association with the North Carolina Division of Public Health’s Injury & Violence Prevention Branch, the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center is launching a multi-state opioid overdose prevention initiative. This initiative will connect harm reduction practitioners from Central Appalachia in order to build a network for peers to share their knowledge and expertise. The learning network will support harm reduction work in communities across Central Appalachia, including grassroots community groups and public health practitioners. To support practitioners, this project aims to 1) gather information about effective strategies for addressing current challenges presented by the opioid overdose epidemic, 2) present the findings back to key stakeholders, and 3) establish a regional peer learning network using the information gathered.

The Harm Reduction Peer Learning Network Initiative seeks a student to help with key informant interviews across seven Central Appalachian states (GA, KY, NC, OH, TN, VA, WV). We are interviewing harm reduction practitioners, as well as drug policy experts, in order to understand the key ingredients of effective programs and barriers to implementation in conservative contexts. We are seeking a student to support qualitative data collection, analysis, and report writing. The student will take lead on data collection activities related to drug policy. The student will also assist with data analysis and report generation for all key informant interviews, including those with health department staff and community-based harm reduction practitioners.


  1. Work with project staff to finalize data collection instrument for key informant interviews with policy leaders (currently in process)
  2. Pilot policy-focused data collection instrument through mock interviews
  3. Support policy-focused data collection activities
  4. Collaborate with project staff on all qualitative data analysis activities
  5. Lead development of the executive summary and practitioner-facing dissemination materials using findings from policy-focused key informants


  1. Codebook for policy-focused key informant interviews
  2. Executive summary of key findings from policy-focused interviews
  3. Practitioner-facing materials for disseminating key findings of all formative research activities back to the field

Desired skills and experience:

  1. Qualitative research training and/or experience
  2. Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  3. Experience working in the harm reduction field and/or with people who use drugs
  4. Ability to work well both independently and within team environments

Compensation and Hours:

Compensation is $22.50/hour. The ideal candidate will be available to work an average of 15-25 hours per week beginning in mid-May. The total number of hours for the practicum is flexible; at least 200 hours will be required.

How to apply:

Please provide a PDF version of a cover letter and resume to Leah Taraskiewicz ( with “Harm Reduction Practicum Application” in the subject line.