Policy Director, Integrated Harm Reduction

District of Columbia, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Apr 27, 2021
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

Policy Director, Integrated Harm Reduction

R Street Institute

Washington, DC

The R Street Institute—a free-market think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C., and with regional offices across the country—seeks a skilled Policy Director to develop and oversee a major new program on integrated harm reduction. If you want to join an energetic organization, help define a new field of public policy and do something extraordinary while helping us conceptualize an expansion of our work on harm reduction, this may be just the opportunity for you. This position will report to the Associate Vice President, Research Programs. We actively seek out diversity and are particularly eager to consider candidates who bring a diverse background (in all its forms) and relevant lived-experience to this role.

Our current portfolio emphasizes efforts to reduce the harm in tobacco and opioid use and in sexual behavior. We believe that “abstinence only” approaches do not work on a population-wide level and that safer (although not safe) alternatives are a desirable part of a public health strategy overall. Examples of efforts we support in these terms include needle access programs, pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV infection and the availability of non-combustible tobacco products for adult smokers. Our ideal candidate will lead a bold effort to get advocates and scholars in all of these areas to work together to promote harm reduction as an effective strategy to improve population-wide health. 

Your typical day at R Street might include speaking with an ally about an upcoming FDA comment period on a promising new treatment method for opioid addiction, facilitating a connection between tobacco control and safer sex groups, reviewing a subgrant proposal from an ally working on opioids or preparing a presentation for participation in a global conference on HIV/AIDS. 

Other Aspects of your role: 

 In addition to the above you will be expected to: 

  • Write widely and knowledgeably on at least one harm-reduction area in depth, as well as broadly about others 
  • Present before a variety of audiences; attend and speak at convenings in the United States and globally where appropriate 
  • Oversee and coordinate the work of R Street staff and contractors working on harm reduction topics
  • Produce formal regulatory comments and policy writing (long- and short-form) on regulatory and legislative efforts involving harm reduction 
  • Offer testimony before legislative bodies and regulatory panels
  • “Translate” findings in scientific literature for a lay audience   
  • Work with state and federal policymaking staff to advance R Street’s research messages and organize events 
  • Help build coalitions around harm reduction topics  
  • Assure the ongoing fiscal solvency of our program by creating proposals for new ventures and maintaining relations with existing supporters with support from R Street’s Business Development department. 

Skills and Qualifications 

  • Recognized expertise and experience in at least one area of harm reduction: opioids, tobacco or sexual behavior
  • Understanding of and enthusiasm for all forms of harm reduction 
  • A strong willingness to work with a wide range of groups including those who may have views or do things with which you may disagree 
  • Top-notch public speaking skills
  • Excellent writing ability, ideally demonstrated by a record of publication in mainstream and public policy outlets. Academic publications are desirable but, for this job, less important than popular ones
  • Broad understanding of technical topics related to harm reduction and an ability to synthesize work across a wide array of fields 
  • Although a relevant doctoral degree is preferred, it’s not a requirement and relevant experience (broadly constructed); by which we mean that things like relevant applied academic work done while in school and/or personal experiences should be mentioned in a cover letter if not evident from your resume. Lived experience with harmful behaviors we study is not a requirement but will be looked on favorably if mentioned and contextualized.  
  • Alignment with our mission of supporting free markets and limited, effective government
  • A sense of humor and a desire to grow with a dynamic organization


R Street offers a flexible working arrangement. Candidates may either work remotely from their home or from our D.C. office. Currently, our D.C. offices are closed and we are working remotely. This job will require frequent travel: When it is safe to do so, this person will attend in-person meetings, conferences and multiple events (on Capitol Hill, throughout the United States and internationally).  

Compensation, Benefits and Perks

R Street strives to provide a compensation package superior to those at other think tanks and nonprofits. In addition to a competitive salary, we provide the following benefits and perks:

  • Unlimited paid time off policy, including all Federal holidays, the day after Thanksgiving, and two weeks holiday closure in December
  • Alternating Fridays off
  • A health insurance option entirely paid by the employer (even for families)
  • Dental and Vision insurance
  • 401(k) contributions with up to a 4 percent match
  • HSA employer contribution match
  • Quarterly wellness reimbursement
  • Mobile equipment reimbursement
  • Internet subsidy
  • Monthly mobile plan reimbursement
  • Annual educational and professional development reimbursement
  • An option between a child care assistance, pet care assistance, or student loan repayment assistance reimbursement

R Street does not discriminate on the basis of age, sex, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, era of military service, gender identity, relationship structure or anything else that's illegal, immoral or stupid to use as a basis for hiring.

We currently plan to accept applications for this job until filled. We will contact qualified individuals for video interviews on a rolling basis. Due to COVID-19, we will hold interviews virtually, via Zoom, until our DC office reopens. To apply, please upload a cover letter and resume in Microsoft Word or PDF format.