Richard Elovich, Ph.D., MPH

280 11th Street, Brooklyn, New York 11215


International Consultant, Drug Treatment, Harm Reduction, HIV/AIDS Programs, and Special Populations. Research and Program Development.

Internationally recognized trainer, researcher, and consultant on program development and public policy.  Areas of expertise: harm reduction, substance use, HIV/STD prevention, youth at risk, men who have sex with men, vulnerable families, and drug treatment and clinical services for substance using populations.

Consultation projects have included:

  • Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) May-June, 2007
    Managed and co-authored successful Kazakhstan Global Fund proposal (Round 7) including design of multisectoral effort to develop partnership between government and international and local network of harm reduction NGOs and to scale up community based response to vulnerable populations.

  • UK Department for International Development (DFID). March, 2007
    Training and technical assistance to Central Asia Regional HIV/AIDS program (CARHAP): program management for needle exchange programs in ten “trust points” in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) March 2007
    Technical assistance, and training for the implementation of GFATM funded HIV prevention among men who have sex with men; and research and training for development of HIV prevention strategies for street involved youth, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

  • US Agency for International Development (USAID) April-Sept 2006
    Research and writing of manual for ‘best practices’ in drug treatment for USAID funded drug demand reduction project in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan (USAID)

  • UNDP March-April 2006
    Training and technical assistance on best practices of methadone maintenance treatment and for psychiatrists and nursing staff in Kathmandu, Nepal

  • Open Society Institute/International Harm Reduction Development (OSI/IHRD)
    March-June, 2006
    Recommendations and assistance in grants program and review of pilot advocacy proposals from NGOs and injection drug users in Jakarta, Bandung, Yojakarta, and Bali, Indonesia.

  • UNDP August 2005
    Training on the use of auricular acupuncture and strengths-based approaches to drug treatment, Republican Narcological Dispensary of Yerevan, Armenia

  • Open Society Institute/International Harm Reduction Development (OSI/IHRD) July, 2005
    Assessments of program and policy needs of injection drug users in Jakarta, Bandung, Yojakarta, and Bali, Indonesia.

  • UNDP March, 2005
    Research, training, and design of a program model for HIV prevention among men who have sex with men for AIDS Centers and epidemiologists; training and program development for the implementation of Global Fund HIV needle exchange programs for injection drug users, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

  • Population Services International (PSI) Feb-March, 2005
    Creation and piloting of counseling skills, overdose prevention and management, and harm reduction training for outreach workers in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan

  • World Health Organization (WHO) November, 2004
    Training developed on HIV/AIDS, Drug Use, Tuberculosis, and Mothers and Children for journalists in Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Other clients have included: Doctors of the World/Columbia School of Social Work; Texas Department of Health; Pennsylvania Department of Health; Utah Department of Health; Montana Department of Health; New York City Department of Health; New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute; New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS); New York City Board of Education; Bronx AIDS Services; Housing Works (Brooklyn, NY); Educational Alliance; Promesa Drug Treatment Program (Bronx, NY); Harm Reduction Training Institute; and Cicatelli Associates.


Senior Consultant, Drug Demand Reduction Program, Central Asia
Lead consultant for USAID-funded drug demand reduction program operated by Alliance for Open Society International (AOSI) in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.  Responsibilities included authorship of comprehensive needs assessment report, development of low threshold treatment readiness and rehabilitation programs, introduction of and training on acupuncture, creation of a unique identifier system for program monitoring and evaluation, and direction of professional training programs created for narcologists, doctors, psychologists, social workers, outreach workers, and government officials.


Assistant Professor, Hunter College, Urban Public Health Graduate Program
Full-time instructor teaching courses including: Urban Health Promotion; AIDS and Society; Addiction and Dependencies; Group Processes; and Controversial Issues in Health and Health Care: Reproductive Health and Human Sexuality.

Teaching Fellow, Columbia University
Joseph P. Mailman School of Public Health, “Introduction to Sociomedical Sciences” (Fall 2002); Department of Sociology, “Evaluation of Evidence” (Spring 2002).


Director, HIV Prevention, Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC)
Responsible for the reorganization, development, implementation and management of all HIV prevention services and campaigns at the world's oldest and largest AIDS NGO. Reestablished GMHC as a national leader in HIV prevention, instituting state-of-the-art individual, group, and community level interventions, and successfully secured state and federal funding.  Oversaw 23 staff, volunteer corps of 800, a budget of $1.2 million. Was responsible for programs and publications for: Youth and Young Adult Initiative; Substance Use Counseling and Education; Latino MSM Initiative; Black MSM Initiative; Women’s Program; and Beyond 2000, a successful effort to recruit and mobilize over 2000 MSM to become involved and volunteer in HIV prevention.

As a nationally recognized expert in harm reduction, substance abuse and HIV prevention, made numerous media appearances, conference presentations and authored articles, curricula, and education materials for the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute, for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the New York City Department of Health, the New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, as well as government and community organizations across the nation.


Director, Substance Use Counseling and Education, GMHC                 
Identified need for, secured funding for, implemented and managed substance use education and clinical services.  Program elements included educational materials and campaigns, workshops, individual assessments, short-term individual and group counseling, an acupuncture clinic, and peer education training and support. Recruited, trained and supervised fifteen staff, volunteers and consultants. Develop counseling curricula, and substance use polices agency-wide. Assisted in the development of program evaluations and co-authored a program manual for use in other community organizations. Developed curricula and supervised staff trainings at organizations throughout New York City on harm reduction and substance use counseling skills.


Appointed Member, New York City Mayor’s HIV Health and Human Services Planning Council
Chair, Alcohol and Other Drug Services Work Group
Member, Executive Committee
Chaired the NYC Alcohol and other Drug (AOD) Services work group to determine service priorities for New York City's use of federal AIDS funding under the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Emergency Act of 1990. Advocated for and dispersed more than $35 million in funds for city substance abuse programs. Facilitated discussion among City and State agency representatives, service providers, advocates and consumers to complete service needs assessment, and to develop new program models and RFPs. As an Executive Committee member,  met regularly  with other members of the Executive Committee, and with City and State agencies to review work group priorities and determine funding priorities to prepare the application. Throughout the year, reviewed funding priorities, planned implementation of services, monitored and assessed efficiency of program administration, and participated  in strategic planning. Represented the Planning Council in AOD service-related meetings with City, State and Federal officials.   


Teacher, ARRIVE/Exponents, Inc.  AIDS Education and Training Program
Developed curriculum on harm reduction and taught it to over five hundred recovering addicts, peer educators and substance abuse counselors annually.


Coordinator, Substance Use Policy/ Program Development, GMHC      
Advocated, in coalition with other community-based AIDS and substance abuse-related service providers, to create and expand support from the public sector for integrated HIV/substance use services.

Conducted a service needs assessment and developed a model of comprehensive client-centered continuum of  substance use/HIV services from harm reduction through treatment to aftercare and relapse prevention support.  In collaboration with other providers, identified the systemic and structural barriers to achieving the model continuum.  

Developed public policy and advocacy strategies to overcome barriers identified with development and implementation of new levels and models of substance use and HIV care. Identified, joined, created, and helped consolidate coalitions of HIV and substance abuse service providers to respond to specific issues, challenges and opportunities.

Organized substance abuse service organizations and community networks of former addicts, substance abusers, and people in recovery to participate in various advocacy activities.

At GMHC, assisted with the design and development of policies and programs for  clients with substance use problems, piloted substance use related service initiatives and harm reduction strategies. Drafted policy adopted by Board of Directors on  serving clients using alcohol and other drugs.

Authored public policy statement and background paper on the role of needle exchange and decriminalization as part of comprehensive approach to HIV prevention and early intervention.

Worked with the City and the State Health Departments, and community and political leaders to gain exemptions to State law prohibiting possession of syringes and to develop a network of privately funded community based needle exchange programs. Developed consensus statements, gave testimony, organized community meetings and coalitions to increase awareness of the service needs of drug users in and out of recovery.


Co-Founder, ACT UP/NY Needle Exchange Program
Co-founded a needle exchange program operated entirely by volunteers to reach thousands of injection drug users weekly in the Morris Heights\Highbridge section of the Bronx, East Harlem, Manhattan's Lower East Side, and the Bushwick and Williamsburg sections of Brooklyn. Created model of service delivery including:  syringes,  bleach kits, condoms, bilingual instructions for cleaning works, and information about safer sex practices.

With the Latino Caucus of ACT UP and local activists, helped develop a needle exchange program in "La Perla" ghetto in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

As a pro se defendant -- one of eight AIDS activists arrested -- in a major court challenge to the State law criminalizing needle possession, argued successfully for acquittal in Manhattan Criminal Court, June 1991. 


Member, ACT UP/NY Treatment and Data Committee
Participated in meetings with government officials to speed drug approval process for people living with AIDS. Facilitated community meetings with representatives of the National Institutes of Health, including its AIDS director.  Participated in demonstrations at the Food and Drug Administration in 1988, at the New York Stock Exchange in 1989, at New York University Medical Center, in Albany and at City Hall. Represented ACT UP at conferences sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Advisory Committee for the Prevention of HIV Infection, at the Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration (ADAMHA) (May 1990), and at a CDC conference on Prevention of HIV Among High-Risk Youth sponsored by the Advisory Committee on the Prevention of HIV (October 1990).

Research Projects

HIV/AIDS Needs Assessment, Kazakhstan (May-June, 2007)
Conducted for Kazakhstan Global Fund proposal (GFATM round 7).

Formative research on Men who have Sex with Men in Uzbekistan (2005-2007)
Interviews with men who have sex with men, findings and recommendations for conducting social epidemiology, improving policy environment related to criminalization of homosexuality to facilitate epidemiology and program design and implementation to provide HIV prevention and voluntary counseling and testing among a highly stigmatized and criminalized population.

Narcology Observed: Drug Treatment and Civil Society in Uzbekistan (2004-2006)
Examined the practice of narcology, a sub discipline of psychiatry created in the Soviet Union to address alcohol and drug problems and still practiced in many of the former Soviet Republics now facing twin epidemics of HIV and injected opiate use. Currently writing up analysis of data from official documents, field notes, photo ethnography, ethnographic interviews, and oral histories.

Assessment of Drug Treatment Services, Promising Practices, and Recommendations of Treatment Improvement in Central Asia (2006)
With a team of local drug experts conducted site visits, interviews, and focus groups. Authored "Manual for Treatment Improvement" to close the gap between best practices and current level of services for drug users.

Consolidated Needs Assessment Report on Drug Demand Reduction in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and parts of the Fergana Valley including Kyrgyzstan (2003)
Sociological assessment for universal, selected, and indicated levels of demand prevention programs and activities for five year project submitted by Soros Foundation to United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Influence of Criminal Laws on HIV Sexual Risk Behavior among Injection Drug Users and Men who have Sex with Men in New York City (Summer 2002)
Project Director for University of Connecticut Health Center’s three-city, CDC-sponsored survey.

Drug-Using Behaviors among Men who have Sex with Men in Boston and New York City (2001-2002)
Research associate for Harvard School of Social Medicine in NIDA-funded research project on patterns of "club drug" use and HIV risk behavior among homosexually active men.

Sexual Health and HIV Risk Behaviors among Gay and Bisexual men in New York City (1998-1999)
As Co-Principal Investigator for Gay Men’s Health Crisis and New York City Department of Health, directed CDC-funded, community-based survey of sexual practices among 7,000 gay and bisexual men in New York City, the largest conducted since the start of AIDS.


Doctorate in Medical Sociology (Ph.D.) (2008)
Division of Sociomedical Sciences, Joseph P. Mailman School of Public Health and Sociology Department, Columbia University

Master of Sociology (M Phil) (2004)
Department of Sociology, Columbia University

Master of Public Health (MPH) (2002)
Division of Sociomedical Sciences, Joseph P. Mailman School of Public Health,
Columbia University

B.S., Empire State College, State University of New York (SUNY) (1997)

Fellowships and Awards

Ph.D. Dissertation Fellow, National Development and Research Institutes (NDRI) (2005-2007)

Revson Fellow, Columbia University (1999-2000)
Recipient of a fellowship given to civil leaders who have made a significant contribution to the public life of the City of New York.

The Jon Michael Harrington Humanitarian Award (1999)
African-American and Latino Youth and Young Adults in the “Ball Community” New York City

Select Publications

Elovich, R., Drucker, E., (2008)  “On Drug Treatment and Social Control: Russian narcology’s great leap backwards” in Harm Reduction Journal

Wolfe, D., Elovich, R., Boltaev, A.,  Pulatov, D. (In Press 2007)  “HIV in Central Asia: Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan” in C. Beyrer (Ed.), Public Health Aspects of HIV/AIDS in Developing Countries: Epidemiology, Prevention and Care. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Friedman, de Jong, Rossi, Touzé, Rockwell, Des Jarlais, Elovich (2007) “Harm reduction theory: users culture, micro-social indigenous harm reduction, and the self-
organization and outside-organizing of users' groups,” International Journal of  Drug Policy Vol  18 107-117

Elovich, R. (February, 2006) “Narcology Observed: The State, Civil Society and an injection drug driven HIV epidemic in Uzbekistan. Eastern Sociological Society Conference.

Elovich, R. (January, 2006) “Starting Drug Treatment ‘Where People Are At’: Acupuncture and Treatment Readiness” in NADA India Foundation News

Elovich, R. (2005) “Keeping It Real: Harm Reduction and Street Involved Youth” in Street Kids International Special Issue

Elovich, R. (Spring-Summer, 2004) “Central Asia: Ailing Public Health Systems Limit Effective Harm Reduction Efforts” in Special Issue on HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis, Open Society, Soros Foundation Network News,

Elovich, R. (Spring, 2004) “Self Empowerment: From Collective Understanding to Action”, International Harm Reduction Development News, 5(1)

Elovich, R. (March, 2005) “Low Threshold Treatment Readiness Programs in Central Asia: Drug Treatment that Grows Out of Harm Reduction” Abstract 939, Oral Presentation in “Barriers and Access to Treatment,” International Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm, Belfast, Ireland

Elovich, R. (November, 2002) “A Spectrum of Use: A Continuum of Risk”  Abstract 45804, Oral Presentation in “Club Drugs: Trends and Harm Reduction,” American Public Health Association Meeting, Philadelphia, PA

 Elovich, R. and Wolfe, D. (September, 2002) “Substance Users” In: Manual for Primary Care Providers: Effectively Caring for Active Substance Users. New York Academy of Medicine:  New York, NY 

Elovich, R. (June, 2002) “Let’s Talk About Sex” Sexuality Curriculum for Health Providers, Bronx AIDS Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Elovich, R. (April 2002) “Where Were You When HIV Prevention Died?”  Syndicated Op Ed (gay and lesbian newspapers in Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle). 
Elovich, R. and Wolfe, D. (Spring, 2002) “Who Owns Ecstasy?  Studying MDMA is Shaping Up to be The Latest battle in the Drug War” Village Voice, NYC

Elovich, R. (December, 2000) “Clean, Sober and Medicated? HIV Meds Can Pose A Tough Challenge For People in Recovery” POZ, New York, NY.

Elovich, R. (1999) “Harm Reduction Counseling Skills for Social Workers and Addiction Professionals,” Training curriculum for the New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS).

Elovich, R. (June, 1999) “Beyond Condoms: How to Create a Gay Men’s Culture of Sexual Health.” POZ, New York, NY.

Elovich, R. (1996) "Staying Negative: It's Not Automatic-- Gay Men and HIV -- a Harm Reduction Strategy."   AIDS and Public Policy Journal Vol 11(2): 66-77. Yale University, New Haven, CT.

Elovich, R. (1996) “Primary prevention for HIV-negative gay men who use drugs and alcohol and engage in high risk sexual behaviors”, Abstract and Poster, 11th International AIDS Conference, Vancouver, Canada

Elovich, R. and Oliveira, A. (Summer, 1995) "Steps Toward Change: Working with Ambivalence and Building Motivation for Change," LAP Notes, Issue no. 3, Lesbian AIDS Project at Gay Men's Health Crisis, New York, NY

Elovich, R. (May 16, 1995) "Harm's Way," Viewpoint column, The Advocate, Los Angeles, CA.

Elovich, R. and Cowing, M. (1995) "Recovery Readiness: Strategies That Bring Treatment to Addicts Where They Are." Gay Men's Health Crisis, New York, NY

Elovich, R., Johnson, R., and Serrano, Yolanda (1992) "Needle Exchange: The Creation of A Community-Based Program In New York City," Abstract and Poster, Eighth International AIDS Conference, Amsterdam, Holland

Elovich, R. (1992) "Needle Exchange: Who Are The Fags?  Who Are The Junkies?  Where Are The Services?"    NYQ March 8, 1992, New York, NY. "Needle Exchange: Who Are The Fags?  Who Are The Junkies?  Where Are The Services?"   The Body Positive: A Magazine About HIV/AIDS April 1992, Body Positive, New York, NY. "Quienes son los homosexuales y lesbianas? Quienes son los usuarios de drogas?  Donde estan los servicios?" SIDAhora, Edition #11 Summer 1992, New York, NY.

Elovich, R. and Sorge, R. (1991) "Toward a Community-Based Needle Exchange for New York City." AIDS and Public Policy Journal. Winter 1991. Vol.6, No.4. Yale University, New Haven, CT

Elovich, R. (1990) "The Effectiveness of Education and Bleach Distribution Programs In Preventing the Spread of HIV among IV Drug Users." ACT UP Reports Fall/Winter 1990. New York, NY.

Certifications, Proffessional Affiliations, and Memberships on Board of Directors and Advisory Groups

Member, Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center, Board of Directors (New York, NY)

Member, Editorial Board of Harm Reduction Journal, Peer reviewed, on-line publication, (2005-present)

Certified International Trainer in Auricular Acupuncture, Lincoln Hospital, New York, NY: Training sites 2004-2006 have included Prison in Bali, Indonesia, Narcological Dispensary in Yeravan, Romania, Training for narcologists in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Track Chair, First National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Health Summit, Boulder, Colorado (August, 2002).

Certified Academy of Addiction Studies faculty member, New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. 1994- Present.

Certified Acupuncture Detox Specialist, Lincoln Hospital  New York, NY. 1993- Present.               

Vice President Board of Directors Electric Dreams Foundation.  2000- Present.

Co-Chair, Tenth Annual Gay and Lesbian Addiction Studies Conference, New York, NY 1995

Co-Chair, Consultation Committee, "Handbook on HIV Prevention Among Drug Users: A Guide for Community HIV Prevention Planning,"  U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  Atlanta, GA. 1994-5

Member, Education Advisory Committee to the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR), Inc.  1992-95

Member of Substance Use Advisory Committee to the New York Academy of Medicine. 1993-95.

Member, Osborne Association Community Advisory Board (New York, NY). 1996 –1999.

Member, Mental Health and Social Services Advisory Committee, Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center  (New York, NY). 1995 – 1999.

Member, Women's Center Community Advisory Board of Beth Israel Medical Center  (New York, NY).

Member, Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies Board of Directors, City University of New York. 1992-94

Member, Exponents/ARRIVE, AIDS Education and Training Program, Inc. Board of Directors (New York, NY)

Member, Stand Up/ Emmaus House Harlem Advisory Board (New York, NY). 1991-93     

Member, Association for Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment (ADAPT) Advisory Board (New York, NY). 1991-94           

Member, Perinatal Substance Abuse Work Group of Medical Health Research Association (New York, NY). 1991-92           

Member, Substance Abuse Advisory Committee, Department of Health Task Force on Tuberculosis (New York, NY). 1991-92          

Member, AIDS Treatment Registry Board of Directors (New York, NY). 1990-92


Guest Lectures and Presentations

Harm Reduction Summer Institute, Open Society Institute, Krakow, Poland (2007), Drug Policy Alliance Conference, Long Beach CA (2005), International Harm Reduction Conference, Belfast, Ireland (2005), Robert Wood Johnson Public Health Scholars Seminar on Addiction, Columbia University (2004), Muskie Fellows Scholarship Program, Uzbekistan (2003), Socio-Medical Sciences Seminar, Joseph P. Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University (2003), American Public Health Association Conference, Philadelphia, PA (2002), Health Psychology class at Joseph P. Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University (1997-1999). ADAPT Community Forum on Needle Exchange at Lincoln Hospital (1991). HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, Columbia University; Grand Rounds (1999)  Availability and HIV (1991); New York City Mayor’s Press Conference on Syringe Availability and HIV (1991), Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (1991) among others.

Media appearances include: The Charlie Rose Show, The O’Reilly Factor, Front Line.

Educational materials and videos produced are available upon request.

Personal references available upon request.


Copyright © 2007 Richard Elovich
All Rights Reserved


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