Drug User Health Learning Series for Syringe Service Programs (SSPs) in Massachusetts

This series supports BIDLS’ goals for the Centers for Disease Control Integrated Viral Hepatitis Surveillance and Prevention Funding for Health Departments funding opportunity:

  1. Increased access to and engagement in prevention services, including immunization for hepatitis A (HAV), hepatitis B (HBV), and HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
  2. Increased engagement in and completion of treatment for HCV infection and conditions associated with drug use.
  3. Increased linkage to SUD treatment.

Video recordings and slide decks for each session are available to view and download below.

The topics for each session were:

About this series
From November 2021 to January 2022, the IDTA@JSI project worked with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences (BIDLS) and the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services (BSAS) to host four virtual capacity-building sessions on expanding integrated services for drug user health located in Syringe Service Programs (SSPs).

Participants included providers from agencies receiving funding from BIDLS and BSAS to provide SSP services. Session activities included brief didactic presentations, agency panel interviews, and group discussions. All learning was centered within an intersectional health equity framework utilizing harm reduction and drug user health principles. The sessions intended to support holistic Hepatitis C and HIV prevention and care services for people who use drugs.

SSP Session 1:

Supporting Client Engagement with HCV Testing & Treatment

Monday, November 22, 1:00-2:30 pm

In this session, AIDS Project Worcester/UMass Medical Center and Green Street, Fenway discussed their approaches to assessing and cultivating client readiness for linkage to treatment, supporting client adherence to care and treatment, and providing support services. The models discussed included outposted clinicians, drop-in center, and street outreach.

This session focused on increasing participants’ ability to:

  • Distinguish necessary components of SSP-based HCV testing and linkage to care programs
  • Compare SSP-based models for HCV testing and linkage to care
  • Identify components of SSP-based HCV testing and linkage to care programs that can be adapted to their SSP programs

 Session 1 Slide deck

SSP Session 2:

Street Outreach, Mobile, and Telehealth Services: Innovations in Service Delivery

Monday, December 6, 1:00-2:30 pm

In this session, Berkshire Medical Center and AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod shared their experiences with telehealth, and mobile services, as well as collaboration with medical providers and implementing care across geographic settings.

This session aimed to increase participants’ ability to: 

  • Assess considerations for conducting street outreach, mobile, and telehealth services
  • Discuss contextual differences in providing SSP services across Massachusetts
  • Identify approaches to staff training for street outreach, mobile, and telehealth services

Session 2 Slide deck

SSP Session 3:

Supporting Client Engagement with SUD Treatment

Monday, December 20, 1:00-2:30 pm

In this session, Greater Lawrence Family Health Center and SSTAR described their approaches to engaging clients with medications for opioid use disorder, assessing and cultivating readiness for substance use disorder (SUD) care, and providing mobile services alongside their harm reduction services. They also discussed approaches to polysubstance use including stimulants and models for SUD referral mechanisms.

This session aimed to increase participants’ ability to:

  • Maximize current approaches to SUD treatment engagement through the utilization of harm reduction principles
  • Summarize SSP models for supporting access to medication for opioid use disorder
  • Explain approaches to supporting clients with polysubstance use including concurrent stimulant and opioid use

Session 3 Slide Deck

SSP Session 4:

Vaccinations at SSPs

Wednesday, January 12, 2:00-3:30 pm

In this session, Seven Hills Behavioral Health and Tapestry Health discussed opportunities available to SSPs to offer Hepatitis A and B vaccines as well as flu vaccines, clinical management of vaccines, payment challenges and potential solutions, as well as various settings to provide vaccines. They also explored collaboration with clinical agencies and mobile services.

This session aimed to increase participants’ ability to:

  • Explain strategies for increasing SSP client engagement with HAV, HBV, IMD, and influenza vaccination
  • Compare opportunities for community based vaccination partnerships at SSPs
  • Identify opportunities to facilitate vaccination access for SSP clients

Session 4 Slide Deck