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Executive Director, LACHP

Company: Heluna Health
Location: Los Angeles
Posted on: January 28, 2023

Job Description:

If hired for this position, you will be required to provide proof that you are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to your start date, or have a valid religious or medical reason qualifying you for an exemption (that may or may not require accommodation).


Program Overview and History
Los Angeles Community Health Project (CHPLA) is a program of Heluna Health. CHPLA's mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of people affected by substance use in Los Angeles, to increase access to health care, to empower people to protect themselves, and educate each other to reduce harm in our communities. CHPLA combines direct services, advocacy, outreach, education, and research collaborations to fulfill this mission. Community Health Project Los Angeles was founded in 1992 and has since grown to incorporate a range of programs and services delivered to underserved populations and areas of Los Angeles County. CHPLA is a quickly growing and impactful agency that is seeking a person highly qualified in public health and harm reduction interventions that can lead the organization with commitment, knowledge, and dedication.

Los Angeles Community Health Project (CHPLA) was originally named Clean Needles Now (CNN) and had its beginning as a committee within the militant AIDS activist organization, ACT UP Los Angeles. Initially coming out of ACT UP Los Angeles' People of Color Caucus, CNN launched its first street-based exchange on June 28, 1992, the day that LAPD Chief Daryl Gates left office, disgraced for his handling of the beating of Rodney King and the subsequent rebellion that raged across the city of Los Angeles in April of that same year.

In addition to support from the People of Color Caucus in ACT UP, CNN attracted numerous artists from within ACT UP. Performance artists, visual artists, musicians, and club promoters served as the lifeblood of CNN. Artist-activists, many of whom had experience as drug users, ensured that the needle exchange would value creative and innovative responses to the harm facing drug users.

Coming out of the AIDS activist movement, CNN rejected the then-prevalent divide between organizing public health services and direct militant political action. The crises facing drug users, in particular people living on the streets, meant that organizing harm reduction inherently involved direct action. CNN activists saw drug-related harm as driven by the AIDS crisis, but most dramatically resulting from the devastating war on drug users and continual state violence against poor people. Harm reduction was inherently a fight for justice.

Like many syringe exchange programs across the United States, CNN volunteers in the early years continually risked arrest. On September 7, 1994, Mayor Richard Riordan declared a state of emergency allowing needle exchange to proceed in Los Angeles without LAPD harassment. Within a year, CNN established the Harm Reduction Center. The storefront in Hollywood offered harm reduction services and a social center with art programs, support groups, and a non-sober drop-in space. Like the organization's name and its outreach vehicle decorated with decals boldly declaring "clean needles save lives," the Harm Reduction Center grew out of a strategic vision that harm reduction, like drug use, needed to be normalized and understood as a fact of life. Fighting stigma begins by naming the reality of our lives. The Harm Reduction Center was eventually forced to close its doors in the early '00s due to the pressures of gentrification. Nevertheless, CNN continued to thrive, expanding outreach and being the first organization in Los Angeles to distribute Naloxone before legislators made street distribution legal.

In 2013, CNN changed its name to Los Angeles Community Health Project. The name change did not alter the organization's core values. Retaining the spirit of the early harm reduction movement, CHPLA acknowledged the fact that drug users themselves and not public health professionals were the original authors of harm reduction. It was drug users and poor, often black and brown communities, who created support systems and safer drug use practices that empower drug users to defend themselves and their communities. This understanding guided the organization's ongoing commitment to peer-led outreach and building an organization that valued staff and volunteers with lived experience.

Coming out of the struggles of queer liberation, women's health and communities of color defending themselves through self-organized health services, CHPLA (like CNN before it) adheres to the basic principles of harm reduction, embracing our community members where they're at. A community-centered approach recognizes that recovery looks different for different people. CHPLA believes in the importance of bodily autonomy, including the right to use drugs. CHPLA also retains as a core value that public health and the necessity of harm reduction take priority over what policy or the law allows.

The history of CHPLA underscores the value of drug user communities to constantly innovate new interventions to the crises that impact our members' lives. The organization learns from and in relationship with our community members and their own analysis of our world, proving to us time and again that social change follows from people taking action, and defending our health even if that means challenging the very laws, institutions, and power structures that cause harm in our lives.

Position Summary
The focus of the Executive Director is to provide leadership for the continued development and implementation of CHPLA's mission, values, policies, strategic direction, partnerships, and annual goals and objectives. The Executive Director will be expected to effectively gain a timely and deep understanding of the agency's history, culture, progression, current status, populations served, services offered, collaborating partnerships, governmental support and restrictions, fiscal agent relationship, funding sources, contractual requirements, data collection and storage and all other applicable areas relevant to directing the agency in its entirety. To learn more about our organization, please visit our website at http://chpla.org/.

This is a full-time benefitted position. Employment is provided by Heluna Health.


Organization Direction, Development, and Assessment
--- Oversee, plan, develop, organize and direct all of the organization's operations
--- Ensure all programmatic services have been designed in a way that supports health in communities served while practicing CHPLA'S historical values
--- Collaborate with the Board of Directors, Heluna Health, directors of programs and collaborative partnerships to identify, create and implement strategic plans to actualize agency objectives
--- Identify opportunities within and for the organization to protect agency interests, stability, growth, and goals
--- Identify vulnerable areas within the organization and develop and implement a corrective plan to address these areas
--- Participate in the planning and development of new projects, project expansion, and programs
--- Work closely and regularly with program directors to assist and support in program planning, development, and implementation
--- Consult with directors of programs to identify and correct challenged areas of service delivery to ensure the agency is providing the highest quality and most effective health interventions to the community
--- Participate in the completion of written funding requests and grant writing
--- Develop and cultivate strong relationships with key stakeholders, including fellow nonprofits, financial funders, local government agencies, and board members
--- Develop the organizational culture and promote collaboration and achievement throughout the organization
--- Evaluate the quality of programs to ensure the delivery of compassionate and competent care
--- Dedicate 20% of the work week to field services to ensure a culture of competent and effective programming

Financial Responsibilities
--- Effectively manage the organization's finances to ensure budgets across programs are in line with spending expectations and schedules
--- Make periodic operational adjustments in order to achieve budgetary objectives and timelines
--- Identify potential sources of funding that support existing areas of focus and a strategic organizational growth plan
--- Organize and oversee fundraising campaigns and community involvement activities and events

Legal and Contractual Compliance
--- Monitor program contracts against data and deliverables to ensure contractual compliance and effective, maximized and responsible programming
--- Monitor reporting requirements to ensure the timely generation and submission of required reports for each program
--- Ensure programmatic compliance with all local laws, regulations, and legal requirements governing services provided
--- Monitor agency operations to ensure employees and service practices comply with legal requirements

Staff and Workplace Environment Involvement
--- Identify, recruit and train talented employees who can deliver qualified and compassionate care to at-risk communities
--- Evaluate employee performance and identify strategies for improvement and growth as needed
--- Ensure staff has a knowledge base of risk factors and behaviors that contribute to negative health outcomes and evidence-based interventions that support health improvement and that this information be effectively verbalized to the community
--- Provide informative, supportive, and empowering leaders for a diverse and committed team
--- Promote high-performing work practices and invest in all staff's continued professional development

Advocacy Efforts and Coalition Building
--- Collaborate with community-based organizations and support local efforts to advance related harm reduction proposals and activities
--- Strengthen CHPLA's role and participation in advocating for sound local policy change and increased funding dedicated to harm reduction work and services
--- Through advocacy efforts, represent the mission and philosophy of CHPLA to the greater public health, governmental authorities, and harm reduction community
--- Communicate effectively, with cultural competence and influence among diverse audiences, groups, and stakeholders
--- Engage diplomatic and productive interactions with CHPLA employees, Heluna Health, funders, and community partners
--- Identify underserved areas within LA County and build professional relationships in those areas as a means of expanding geographic coverage and services offered by CHPLA

Organization Policies and Workplace Safety

--- Understand agency and program policies and procedures, as well as compliance with applicable regulations (i.e., OSHA, HIPAA)
--- Maintain a safe and inclusive working environment that promotes health in the workplace and encourages a dedicated and thriving employee team
--- Participate as needed in staffing and participant issues that require a formal intervention

This role is a multifaceted position that will present unexpected challenges, tasks, responsibilities, and duties. The Executive Director is expected to meet the demands of the position as they naturally occur.


--- High school diploma required; bachelor's degree preferred
--- People with lived experience are encouraged to apply
--- At least five (5) years working with harm reduction, public health, or social service programs in action or direct services
--- Ten years of work experience in program management including staff supervision and financial management
--- Experience managing community-based organizations or nonprofits that address issues of public health or social justice
--- Experience tracking local, state, and federal government policies as they gain and lose traction and adapting to policy change
--- Experience supervising multiple staff and leadership roles effectively with an inclusive and equitable style
--- Experience developing large scale, service driven programs
--- Experience with grant identification and writing
--- Experience creating reports required by funders
--- Experience managing program or organization finances and limited financial resources effectively


--- A valid California driver's license, proof of vehicle insurance, and reliable transportation when needed to carry out job-related essential functions.
--- Successful background check clearance

---Must be at least 21 years of age and will be required to enroll in the DMV Pull Notice program

Other Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities

--- Proficient knowledge of Microsoft Office applications (i.e. Word, Excel, Outlook)
--- A deep knowledge and understanding of contributing personal and social issues that contribute to health risk behaviors, homelessness, and drug use
--- A deep understanding of the effects of trauma history on the life course, physical and mental health, and behaviors
--- Understanding of harm reduction approaches at the individual, community, agency, and legislative levels
--- Willing to work in the field or on the floor on a range of tasks including managing inventory, preparing for field activities, for training purposes or ensuring a smooth and steady operational workflow
--- The ability to work effectively with teams, share information, and work collaboratively to solve problems, make decisions, and develop programs
--- Strong ability to maintain confidential information
--- Demonstrate sensitivity and speak on issues with the utmost professionalism and appropriate language when addressing the needs of underserved and at-risk community members across diverse communities
--- Excellent speaking, writing, spelling, grammar, and proofreading skills in English
--- Excellent mathematical and accounting skills
--- Ability to engage in clear, concise, appropriate communication with a range of individuals from governmental authorities to program participants
--- Comfortable addressing and presenting information to large groups and representing agency plans, goals, needs and challenges
--- Can work independently and in a team, effectively, diplomatically, and harmoniously
--- Commitment to the overall mission, success, and goals of CHPLA
--- Comfortable providing quality and compassionate care to people who use drugs, people who inject drugs, people who engage in sex work, people without stable housing, low or no income, LGBTQ+, previously incarcerated, with criminal records and mental health challenges.
--- Thorough understanding of and experience with data collection, identifying data trends, data maintenance, and creating reports that effectively illustrate data from numerical to real-world value
--- If you know another language, please include this in the application and at what proficiency level (basic, conversational, very good but not bilingual, 1st language)
--- If you have experience writing curricula, please include this in the application.
--- Creative and visionary thinking, imagination, and innovation in problem-solving and program planning are strong assets to this position


Stand Frequently
Walk Frequently
Sit Frequently
Handling / Fingering Occasionally
Reach Outward Occasionally
Reach Above Shoulder Occasionally
Climb, Crawl, Kneel, Bend Occasionally
Lift / Carry Occasionally - Up to 50 lbs
Push/Pull Occasionally - Up to 50 lbs
See Constantly
Taste/ Smell Not Applicable

Not Applicable Not required for essential functions
Occasionally (0 - 2 hrs/day)
Frequently (2 - 5 hrs/day)
Constantly (5+ hrs/day)


The majority of time will be spent in a general office setting. Will be necessary to travel throughout the county of LA for training, staff supervision, and fieldwork participation. Fieldwork is conducted outdoors under various outdoor conditions and environments. May be asked to travel occasionally to present on this program.


Interested candidates must submit a relevant resume and a cover letter along with a completed application.

Heluna Health is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer that encourages people of color, women, veterans, and the disabled to apply.

Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities

The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor's legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)

Keywords: Heluna Health, Los Angeles , Executive Director, LACHP, Executive , Los Angeles, California

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