Program Manager, Racial Equity in Overdose Prevention Initiatives, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Vital Strategies, headquartered in New York City, is an international public health organization. Our programs strengthen public health systems and address the world’s leading causes of illness, injury, and death. We currently work in 73 countries, supporting data-driven decision-making in government, advancing evidence-based public health policies, and mounting strategic communication campaigns. Vital Strategies’ priorities are driven by the greatest potential to improve and save lives. They include non-communicable disease prevention, cardiovascular health promotion, tobacco control, road safety, obesity prevention, epidemic prevention, environmental health, vital statistics systems building, and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis treatment research. Our programs are concentrated in low- and middle-income countries and cities in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Pacific. Please visit our website at to find out more about our work.

We believe our programs are strengthened when they are developed and supported by individuals with diverse life experiences, whose understanding of social and cultural issues can help make our work and workforce more inclusive. We encourage people of all racial, economic, social, cultural, sexual orientation, and gender expressions to apply. As such, our commitment is to promote equal employment opportunities (EEO) for all applicants seeking employment. People of color, women, LGBTQI+ people, people with disabilities, people who use drugs or are in recovery, and formerly incarcerated people are encouraged to apply.

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Read about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Vital Strategies:

Vital Strategies is seeking qualified candidates for the position of Program Manager – Racial Equity in Overdose Prevention Initiatives, seconded to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) located in Lansing, Michigan.

MDHHS plays a critical leadership role in the state’s effort to address the drug overdose epidemic. Vital Strategies will provide seconded staff to MDHHS to lead racial equity efforts in Michigan’s overdose prevention initiatives. This position will lead coordination of the racial equity pillar of Michigan’s drug overdose strategy and of Michigan’s Opioid Task Force and its Racial Equity Workgroup. This position will support the activities of the MDHHS Opioids Policy team, including preparing agendas, presentations, and materials, project managing initiatives of the task force, collecting and presenting data, and coordinating activities between agencies.

The candidate much have eligibility to work in the U.S. at time of hire.


The Secondee shall conduct work as if the Secondee were a full-time employee of MDHHS and shall have the following duties:

  • Lead and project manage racial equity efforts of the Michigan Opioid Task Force and its Racial Equity Workgroup. Activities include collaborating with the Opioid Task Force racial equity consultant in the development of a strategy to reduce racial disparities in overdoses, and leading implementation of the racial equity strategy with Task Force and MDHHS leadership
  • Oversee the day-to-day execution of activities in support of MDHHS strategic initiatives related to reducing racial disparities in overdoses, including the racial equity pillar of the Michigan drug overdose strategy.
  • Develop and implement initiative workplans, setting milestones and outcome targets, and conducting regular reporting on progress towards workplan goals related to reducing racial disparities in overdoses
  • Communicate and build relationships with diverse groups of internal and external stakeholders to effectuate goals of MDHHS strategic initiatives to reduce racial disparities, identifying additional opportunities for action, and ensuring alignment of efforts across the state
  • Coordinate and partner with the MDHHS Office of Minority Health and other internal stakeholders to identity and develop opportunities for aligning racial equity initiatives
  • Lead MDHHS in staffing the Opioids Task Force, including organizing meetings, creating agendas, taking minutes, drafting documents on behalf of the Task Force, soliciting input on materials from Task Force members, organizing community outreach and listening sessions, and preparing presentations to and by the Task Force
  • Lead research on best practices from other states, academia, and the private sector for addressing racial disparities in drug overdose at the direction of MDHHS Policy
  • Collect information about current state policies and practices and through analysis identify strengths, barriers, and gaps regarding efforts to reduce racial disparities in overdoses
  • Lead cross-pollination discussions with other Vital Strategies seconded staff to share relevant project updates, seed collaboration opportunities, and strengthen the network of overdose prevention staff statewide
  • Lead responding to legislator, media, and other information requests related to addressing racial disparities in drug overdose and the efforts of the Opioids Task Force
  • Develop and draft written reports, public relations materials, preparing and delivering presentations, and analyzing data related to overdose initiatives and reducing racial disparities in drug overdose
  • Lead analyzing disparate outcomes and developing solutions for the MDHHS policy team-related to the overdose prevention initiatives and the Opioids Task force
  • Other duties as assigned

Education and Degree

  • Graduate or undergraduate degree in public health, public policy, social work, psychology or other relevant field, preferred.
  • Approximately 8 years of relevant program work experience in lieu of degree is acceptable

Skills and Abilities

  • Project management expertise, with the ability to exercise independent judgment and maintain appropriate deadlines
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills, with demonstrated ability to maintain collaborative relationships with internal and external partners
  • Demonstrated ability to analyze data and basic understanding of evaluation and its role
  • Ability to work well with diverse groups of individuals and organizations
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Self-starter with ability to work independently
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Office Suite



  • 5 years professional experience preferably in public health. If Masters, 3 years’ experience.
  • Experience planning and implementing initiatives with an intersectional racial justice framework


  • Familiarity with drug use, harm reduction, and intersections with racial justice and health equity, preferred
Salary & Benefits: 

The salary range for this position is $65,000-$75,000

How To Apply: 
Hiring Organization: 
Vital Strategies
Program Manager, Racial Equity in Overdose Prevention Initiatives