Sarah Kerr – Chair & Founding Board Member
Sarah Kerr is the Northern Region Administrator with Open Door Community Health Centers, responsible for operational oversight of six health centers. Sarah has worked in community clinics for the past 13 years in a variety of roles and settings. Her experience includes health care services administration, harm reduction program development, quality improvement program oversight, staff supervision and development and HIV patient services. Sarah has also worked as a health care consultant developing learning content for the California Primary Care Association and as a practice coach helping health care providers in both the private and public sectors to make improvements in clinical quality and operations. Her commitment to harm reduction principles is rooted in her work experiences running both Planned Parenthood clinics and a large Needle Exchange Program.
Sarah believes that harm reduction is an absolutely vital component in any successful public health endeavor. She also sees harm reduction as a social justice issue, “by respecting people for who they are and honoring their life choices we come a step closer to achieving equity within our society.”
Berkeley Kijsriopas – Board Member
Berkeley Kijsriopas obtained her bachelors degree in Psychology from Humboldt State University in 2016 and will be graduating with her Master’s degree in Academic Research in Social Psychology in 2018. In her graduate studies, Berkeley focuses on organizational leadership, group identification and social categorization. In 2014 she was selected to gather protest data at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio and currently is a research assistant in the Social Identity Research laboratory. For her Master’s thesis, Berkeley is currently conducting a comprehensive leadership evaluation in partnership with a police union of 300 members and 23 departments across the state of California. Berkeley has a passion for applied research within communities and uses her experience to educate students at College of the Redwoods as a Psychology Associate Faculty member.
Since she was young, Berkeley has had a dedication for standing up for marginalized communities. While residing in the Midwest, she was highly involved with residential camps for people with disabilities, recovery centers, women and crisis shelters, emergency response teams and the Salvation Army. Using these experiences, Berkeley looks forward to having an even larger impact by improving and saving the lives of individuals in the Eureka and surrounding areas through the use of Harm Reduction techniques.
Berkeley looks forward to collaborating with local community members on the science-backed techniques of Safe Injection Facilities and Syringe Exchange. She firmly believes that every life is worth saving and respecting. It is her privilege to be actively involved in improving and advocating for the lives of stigmatized community members with Humboldt Area Center for Harm Reduction.
Janae Teal – Secretary & Board Member
Janae Teal is a Program Coordinator for Humboldt County’s Elder and Vulnerable Adult Services Team working to improve the health and safety of older and vulnerable adults in her county. Janae holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from Humboldt State University, and is a social justice activist in her community. She has years of research experience, ranging from program evaluation and data management to grant writing and research design. Janae brings this experience to the HACHR Board, where she hopes to enact change in the world of Harm Reduction, Safe Consumption, and the Decriminalization of Drug Use through best practice research, innovative grant writing, and data tracking and distribution.
Janae has a very personal connection to drug use, drug overdose, and harm reduction practices. She goes out of her way to advocate for those who are disproportionately marginalized and dehumanized, and will continue to fight for the rights and safety of those who are in need of HACHR services. Harm Reduction Does Save Lives!
Rachel Waldman – Treasurer & Board Member
Rachel Waldman is an alumni of Humboldt State University where she graduated with both her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Social Work. During her time at HSU she volunteered with The Ink People, North Coast Veteran’s Resource Center, Open Door’s Mobile Health Services, Arcata House Partnership and the Humboldt Area Center for Harm Reduction (HACHR). She quickly developed a passion for harm reduction and working with folks who are living without the privileges that we often take for granted.
Rachel’s masters project consisted of intensive research on the topic of injection drug use, harm reduction methodologies, and syringe exchange programs. With this project, Rachel had the pleasure of interviewing harm reduction advocates and learning about the active syringe exchange programs in our community.
Today, Rachel works as a case manager for Open Door Community Health Clinics where she works one on one with individuals to overcome personal and systemic barriers. She believes in treating all individuals with respect and equality, while striving to make our community better through advocacy, policy, and social and environmental justice.
Meredith Williams – Vice Chair & Board Member
Meredith Williams, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Humboldt State University, teaching in the Sociology (undergraduate and graduate) and Criminology and Justice Studies (undergraduate) programs. She is also the coordinator of the Master’s degree program in Public Sociology. Dr. Williams studies gender, sexuality and crime, and has published several articles and book chapters on these topics using qualitative and quantitative research methods. She teaches various courses in criminology and justice studies, criminological theory, research methods and design, and community action research.
As an activist and a scholar, Dr. Williams is a strong supporter of harm reduction as an evidence-based practice that saves lives and makes communities safer. She has met with harm reduction groups in the United States and Europe, and has toured safe consumption sites in the Netherlands. She also sees harm reduction as a social justice issue, and fights to reduce the stigma around drug use, sex work and homelessness.