Harm Reduction Hawaii
Contact: Executive Director, Tracy Ryan harmreductionhawaii@gmail.com
Tracy Ryan, Dir. Harm Reduction Hawaii, 1658 Liholiho St #205 Honolulu, HI  96822  (808) 534-1846
 
• in the intrinsic value and dignity of all human beings;
•  all people have the right to be treated in a culturally competent and respectful manner;
•   in the competency of individuals engaging in harmful behaviors to protect and help themselves, their loved ones, and their communities;
•   many harmful behaviors are interrelated and that a holistic approach is necessary in working with individuals;
•    in accessible, flexible, non-judgmental drug and mental health treatment options;
• in seeking ways to enhance individual and community health and well being through positive and non-punitive approaches;
•  affected individuals and communities must be involved together in the creation of interventions and programs that address their issues; and
•   in research-based, public health approaches to reducing individual and community harm.
Harm Reduction Hawaii Mission
Harm Reduction Hawaii is committed to enhancing public health in Hawaii through the promotion of methods and strategies based on the philosophy of harm reduction.
Harm Reduction Hawaii Believes:
Harm Reduction Hawaii: A History
 
Harm Reduction Hawaii has actively participated in cooperation with other organizations and individuals to improve the services provided to the more marginalized by our society.  Since its inception, Harm Reduction Hawaii has successfully conducted two major conferences with over 250 people attending, over 12 trainings varying from one to 4 days reaching over 500 people, and 34 community forums.  Our speakers’ bureau has provided training through in-services to a large variety of community-based agencies, colleges, and governmental entities.  
 
Harm Reduction Hawaii evolved from the planning committees for the 1994 and 1995 Hawaii Harm Reduction Conferences.  Throughout the 1994 and 1995 conference planning, many individuals representing a wide range of organizations came together. Through this effort the need for an ongoing organization was perceived and Harm Reduction Hawaii was formed.  
 
HRH is a coalition of individuals and agencies working toward the implementation of effective and respectful services to improve the health and well being of drug users and other marginalized people in Hawaii.  HRH incorporated in October of 1999 and received its 501(3)(c) status in May of 2000. HRH is a community-based organization with representation from social services agencies throughout Hawaii and governed by a Board of Directors. The Board of Directors meets to plan activities, provide direction and support to the Executive Director, work on local and national advocacy efforts, and to review information and materials.  
 
HRH works to educate health and human service providers and the general community about the philosophy, models and set of strategies embodied in Harm Reduction.  This innovative public health approach seeks to minimize the harms associated with legal and illegal substances through individual, group and community interventions.  The harm reduction model addresses a wide range of alcohol and other drug-related harms, including HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, illness, death, dysfunction, violence and community disintegration.
Executive Director, Tracy Ryan  
Tracy Ryan offers competence from over a decade of experience in organizing community events for both non-profit and political causes. Tracy was co-founder of Hawaii Transgendered Outreach a social and support group for transgendered persons in 1991, and co-founder of Hawaii Opposes Prostitution an unorganized group opposing the legislative proposal to increase the penalty for soliciting form thirty days to six months in jail in 1995.
 
A candidate for State Senate in 1996 and Governor in 2002, her 31% showing in the 1996 State Senate race was the best showing of any Libertarian state legislative candidate in the United States that year and also marked the first time an openly transgendered person sought public office in this State.  As Vice Chair during the 1998 campaign she worked to ensure that all fourteen Libertarian candidates publicly opposed the anti-same sex marriage amendment on the ballot that year.  
 
Tracy Ryan has also been active with numerous GLBT organizations, currently serving on the board of Kulia Na Mamo, and other community service such as five years served on the Makiki Neighborhood Board, and as president of her condo association. She holds a BA degree from the University of Hawaii with majors in psychology and anthropology and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
 
Co-directors
 
The Reverend Pam Vessels is a twice ordained minister, once under the auspices of the Southern Baptist Convention later on as a member of the Disciples of Christ Church in Makiki. She is best known for her long time service to the women, men, and transgendered persons working in the sex industry as Waikiki and Chinatown prostitutes. She began the Waikiki Health Centers’ street outreach program in 1989 with an emphasis on condom distribution and health. For ten years she was out night by night getting to know and to provide support to the many people living on the margins of today’s society. For five years she also ran Hale Ho’omaka (the home for the rebirth of women) as its Executive Director. This was the only residential facility available for those persons wishing to transition out of the sex trades into mainstream lifestyles.  The Reverend Vessels is widely regarded as the foremost authority on street prostitution in Waikiki and the various aspects of pimp/prostitute culture and abuse. She has worked side by side with Tracy Ryan with HOPE, APLE, and other initiatives to educate people about the real issues of prostitution as opposed to the irrational fear mongering that has become commonplace from other sources. Her long time experience doing hands on harm reduction work is an invaluable tool in developing educational events for HRH. Reverend Vessels served the population of Kalaupapa as minister of the Siloma Protestant Church for over two years. She holds an MS in nursing and a masters of divinity from a west coast university.
 
Kimberly Gallant is a State of Hawai’i licensed clinical social worker. She holds a masters degree in social work from the University of Hawai’i. She is currently an instructor and mental health counselor with student services at Honolulu Community College. She has an extensive background in service providing that well predates the completion of her academic training. This service includes fifteen years of counseling and mental health service providing to children, adolescents and families.  Her background includes highly relevant experience as an outreach worker and STD/HIV educator with the Reverend Vessels through the Waikiki Health Center’s program aimed at sex workers. During the time of her involvement she advanced from a student intern position to the directorship of the program. Her background also includes a period of work with the San Francisco Larkin Street Project. Kimberly brings an academic background and helpful connections to the our university system as well as a wealth of street smarts and a firm understanding of the utilities inherent in harm reduction approaches to problem solving. She has also been involved in work with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, substance abuse and GBLT issues. She organizes and promotes events on her campus to help students deal with these various issues every year.
 
Nancy Kern is originally from Vancouver, Canada and has lived in Hawaii for more than 30 years.  She earned a Masters of Public Health degree from University of Hawaii in 1989 and has worked for the Hawaii Department of Health since that time, as a staff person for the Governor’s Committee on AIDS, and in her current position as HIV Prevention Coordinator in the STD/AIDS Prevention Branch.  She is the Department of Health Co-chair for the Hawaii HIV Community Planning Group and has had the opportunity to collaborate with many community-based organizations and individuals over the years to assist in implementing HIV prevention interventions based on harm reduction principles. She was pleased to work on the organizing committee for the 2009 Harm Reduction Conference.    She is the Department of Health Co-chair for the Hawaii HIV Community Planning Group.  In 2009 local harm reductionist awarded her the first Ka’onohiokala Award which is given to one whose work is an example of intense light and illumination, dedication, constant and consistent, passionate and exemplary in terms of warmth and compassion; one whose work has shown light upon unclear paths of life.
 
promoting the health and dignity of those impacted by drug use
 
strives to improve the power of life for “mahuwahine” and other transgender people living in the Hawaiian Islands
 
Hawai‘i's leading organization dedicated to safe, responsible, and effective drug policies
 
Arresting Prostitutes is Legal Exploitation
 
Harm Reduction Hawaii Links:
Contact:
Executive Director, Tracy Ryan harmreductionhawaii@gmail.com
Tracy Ryan,
Dir. Harm Reduction Hawaii
 1658 Liholiho St #205
Honolulu, HI  96822
(808) 534-1846
Co-sponsors of our November 2009 Harm Reduction Conference included the following agencies
 
The AIDS Education Project, AIDS Community Care Team,
CHAMP Clinic
The CHOW Project,
Community Alliance on Prisons
Domestic Violence Action Center,
 Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii
Gregory House Programs
State of Hawai’i Department of Health- STD/AIDS Prevention Branch,
Hawai’i Youth Services Network
Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawai’i
Hepatitis Support Network of Hawai’i
Honolulu Community College
Kulia Na Mamo
The Life Foundation
 Malama Pono
Maui AIDS Foundation
National Association of Social Workers- Hawaii Chapter,
The PATH Clinic, The Waikiki Health Center- Care-A-Van Program
The Waikiki Health Center-Youth Outreach Program
West Oahu Hope for a Cure Foundation
University of Hawaii at Manoa:Office of Public Health Studies and School of Social Work
 
Co-directors cont’d.
 
Heather Lusk has over 15 years of experience in the fields of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), HIV, viral hepatitis, sexual/drug user health and harm reduction.  She is a healthcare advocate who believes access to comprehensive healthcare should be a right and not a privilege and works to fight health disparities and advocate for those disproportionately affected by communicable diseases.  For the past 5 years she has been the Hepatitis C Coordinator for the Hawaii Department of Health where she coordinates a statewide adult viral hepatitis prevention program, which includes testing, immunizations, education, training and capacity-building activities.  Ms. Lusk is on the Board of Directors of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai`i and the Hawai`i Immunization Coalition as well as several advisory boards including the Salvation Army Addiction Treatment Services Advisory Council and the Hepatitis Support Network of Hawai`i’s advisory board.  Her community work is dedicated to increasing the health and well-being of Hawai`i while reducing the harms associated with such behaviors as sexual activity and drug use.  She has extensive experience in program planning, implementation and evaluation and in health and harm reduction-based education and training.  She holds a BA in psychology and a BS in criminal justice.