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Virtual Learning Community: The Impact of Harm Reduction Vending Machines in the Community

  • This event has passed.
Date January 30, 2024
Time 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm EST

Vending machines dispensing naloxone, drug checking strips, and other public health items to address co-occurring conditions (e.g. STDs, HIV, Hepatitis C) represent a potential non-stigmatizing, low-barrier approach to harm reduction that may increase access and engagement with underserved populations and reduce overdoses and related public health conditions. This presentation begins with an introduction to PreventEd, a St. Louis-based non-profit that aims to create real and sustainable change through education, intervention, and advocacy. PreventEd will lead attendees through their community engagement approach to distributing Naloxone in diverse neighborhoods in the Eastern Missouri region. In closing, we welcome the Penn State College of Medicine to highlight the challenges and lessons learned with implementing community health-orientated vending machines, community engagement tactics, and research objectives. 


Together the learning objectives include: 


  • Techniques in working with individuals and groups who represent different world views, experiences, and lived realities;
  • Community and organizational negotiables and non-negotiables; and
  • Creating long-term community partnerships. 


Presenter(s): Alicia Smith and Alice Zhang 


Alicia Smith: Director of Strategic Partnerships with PreventEd is a skilled public policy professional experienced in areas of relationship building in diverse communities, outreach and education, event planning, public and non-profit collaborations, and grant writing. Other responsibilities have included professional meeting facilitation and planning in the specialty areas of behavioral health and substance misuse.  


Ms. Smith holds a Masters of Public Administration from St. Louis University with recent appointments at St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund, American Red Cross and the Mayor’s Office – City of St. Louis. She is a passionate community volunteer and serves as an Election Judge with the City of St. Louis Election Board. She maintains memberships in the National Association of Health Services Executives, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, The Central West End Association and Non-Profit Marketers. 


Alice Zhang: Family medicine physician and assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Penn State College of Medicine. Her clinical experiences have motivated her to find creative and innovative ways to deliver treatment and harm reduction items/services to those who need it the most. She has a passion for addressing health disparities and public health needs, conducting community-engaged research, and reaching the underserved, and is currently working on a “smart” vending machine project to dispense harm reduction and other health items for free and to connect users to services and care.