The Harm Reduction Action Center serves more than 1,100 clients affected by injection drug-use every year. HRAC (formerly known as the Harm Reduction Project/Drop-In Center) is a recognized expert in providing HIV & Hepatitis C prevention programming, using harm-reduction principles to reduce the negative consequences of drug use impacting individuals, families and the larger community. Harm reduction enables us to meet drug users "where they're at," addressing the conditions of use along with the use itself. The Harm Reduction Action Center develops personal relationships with clients, guided by compassion, mutual respect, and evidence-based solutions, empowering clients to reduce the harmful effects of marginalized lifestyles.
Lisa Raville is the Executive Director of the Harm Reduction Action Center. Beginning her career in nursing home administration but soon moving into the world of non-profits, Lisa had the ability to participate as an AmeriCorps Volunteer at an HIV/AIDS agency in California at their syringe exchange. This experience changed her life and led to her embrace harm reduction principles. After 2010 syringe access legislation passed, HRAC worked for 21 months to finally become a certified County of Denver syringe access program.
Past work experiences, besides the syringe exchange, that brought Lisa to her dream job include overnight homeless shelter coordinator, training workshops for ex-offenders, development work at a domestic violence agency, and a former campaign manager for a California County Supervisor. Passions include, in her spare time, community advocacy, political organizing, reproductive rights, prisoner rights activism, social justice, syringe exchange, homeless rights, ex-offender literacy, and voter registration coordination specifically targeting former felons and the homeless.
Lisa was a 2011 Fellow of the Colorado Progressive Leadership Program. Lisa is the Secretary on the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition Board of Directors. Also, Lisa is the Secretary of the Colorado Organizations Responding to AIDS. Recently, Lisa was invited to join the Denver HIV Resources Planning Council. Originally from Chicago, Lisa holds a Bachelors Degree in Communications & Women’s Studies from DePaul University.
Born and raised in Northern Mew Mexico Ruth experienced poverty and its results early in life.
After graduating from a correspondence style home schooling program for high school at only 16 she left home to be a nanny. This two year experience was wonderful and a great start in self sufficiency, it is also how she ended up in Denver. After leaving that job, while obviously still fairly young she experimented with injection drug use which is how she began getting exposed to and volunteering in the Harm Reduction Field.
Late in 2003 after having been involved for several years she was offered a small a part time outreach position at what was then the Intermountain Harm Reduction Project. Taking full advantage of that opportunity she worked hard and stayed on, eventually to come on as the full time Health Educator and day shelter manager for the center.
Currently Ruth is the Director of our Syringe Access Program and still the number one provider of health education especially around Viral Hepatitis. She also collaborates with The Empowerment Program as a case manager for the only known financial Methadone Support Program in Denver.
Although her accomplishments are many she was most proud when awarded by Gov. Hickenlooper on December 2nd of 2011 the Inaugural Josephine Roche Award, for her outstanding efforts in human service and advocacy.
Married with two spoiled cat children she spends most of her free time with her mom and husband gardening, reading and fostering orphaned kittens for adoption.
Originally from Vancouver Island, BC, Canada, Alissa began her career in 2005 as an outreach worker and program coordinator for the street-involved and street-entrenched youth. This experience paved the road for Alissa, sparking her interest working behind the front lines as an ally for social justice, advocacy and policy change. Alissa went back to school and completed her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Women Studies from the University of Victoria, and her Masters of Public Health in Health Promotion in Addictions Studies from the University of Toronto. During her education she worked heavily in harm reduction research and policy analysis with the Center for Addictions Research in BC. During her Master’s program she conducted an in depth policy analysis on the first Safe Injection Facility in North America, Insite. Alissa’s expertise is not only in Participatory Action and Community-Based Research methods, but also evaluation and empirical research with both quantitative and qualitative methods, which she brings to the evaluation of programming at HRAC. Outside of “nerding out” over data, Alissa’s spare time is spent volunteering with a local dog rescue and youth development program, PlatteForum, of which she is both a Board Member and Youth Mentor. She also enjoys using her fine-art diploma and painting in her spare time, enjoying good food, snowboarding, and hiking with her two giant dogs.
Jennifer Abbott, MA, LPC, CAC III
Psychotherapy, Supervision, Consulting
Marla Corwin, CAC III
Mountain Plains AIDS Education and Training Center
Terri Hurst, MSW
Division of Behavioral Health
Stephen Koester, Ph.D.
Professor/Researcher of Anthropology
University of Colorado at Denver
Retired, HIV Planning administrator for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Consultant (Formerly with Denver’s Road Home)
Colorado Homeless Initiatives with Gov. Hickenloopers Office
Information Technology, Arapahoe House Treatment Centers
Photographer, Co-founder of Luceo Images
Brian Vicente, JD
Executive Director, Sensible Colorado
Tarik D. Walker, MD, MPH
JFK Partners/Dept. of Pediatric ID
University of Colorado School of Medicine - Anschutz Medical Campus
Interested in serving on the HRAC board? Please contact Lisa Raville for more information.
This Board was created to provide consultation to HRAC’s upcoming syringe access program.
EMT – Denver Health
Officer Layla DeSteffany
Denver Police Department – Homeless Division
Beer Real Estate Group
Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition
Active Injection Drug User/Community Activist
Crisis Intervention Team, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
Men's Health Initiative, Denver Public Health
Homeless Outreach Worker, St. Francis Center
Officer Stephanie Meadows
Denver Police, Department