Training and Technical Assistance Reimagined: Leveraging Lived Experiences in the Fight Against Opioid Overdoses


Monday, February 26, 2024
9:45 AM - 10:45 AM
Session Type: Workshop

This workshop will discuss the training and technical assistance approach to the federally funded grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Use Program (COSSUP) overseen by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD). In the workshop, we will discuss the findings of the Allegheny, Chester, Dauphin, Franklin, and York counties' needs assessment and the strategies developed to advance racial equity and implement evidence-informed public health harm reduction approaches to reduce overdose fatalities among probation and reentry populations. We will also discuss how JSP’s technical assistance approach to the opioid epidemic differs from past approaches by recognizing individuals with lived experience as the experts on this issue and centering them in the work. The community was centered throughout the project, and local subject matter experts were hired to provide expertise and assist the JSP team in gathering and capturing the voices of the community members who are often left out of decision-making processes.


Lauren N. Henderson
Associate, Justice System Partners

Lauren Henderson is an Associate for Justice System Partners. Before joining JSP, she worked as a clinical social worker and research assistant in various settings supporting legal system-involved populations and collaborating with legal system stakeholders. Lauren worked as a Research Assistant with the Florida State University Institute for Justice Research and Development while also earning her Master of Social Work. There, she delivered research interviews and conducted qualitative analysis on multiple research projects examining reentry supports. As a clinical social worker, Lauren worked with adults and youths involved in the legal system. She was responsible for conducting assessments and providing substance use treatment and batterer intervention programming. She also provided mitigation services, which included conducting interviews with incarcerated individuals with substance use disorder and trauma history. In this role, she worked collaboratively with attorneys to facilitate the release of those she worked with from incarceration to treatment. This work further ignited her passion for transforming systems to center the voices and support the healing of people impacted by the legal system. Lauren holds a Bachelor of Social Work and a Master of Social Work, both from Florida State University. Her ultimate goal is to help uplift and amplify the voices of those impacted by the system, and she believes the solutions lie in our communities.

Teisha Sanders
Director of Equity & Cultural Advancement Projects, Wellbeing & Equity Innovations

TEISHA SANDERS is the Director of Equity and Cultural Advancement projects at Wellbeing and Equity Innovations (WEI). She began her career working within criminal court systems, conducting pretrial risk assessments in local jail settings and providing case management services to individuals involved in the criminal justice system. She was fueled by this work to further build upon and advance evidence-driven solutions that more effectively contribute to the success of justice-involved communities. Teisha is skilled in leading research development, design, and data collection efforts, and has extensive experience leading and managing complex, multistate, multisite evidence-informed projects and collaborating with community partners and stakeholders. She draws on her background in social work in operationalizing the value and importance of human relationships as she supports and empowers various stakeholders through project implementation toward desired outcomes. She has also collaborated across systems with local mental health authorities, behavioral health systems, and specialty courts to help identify the least restrictive environment for system-impacted individuals.

Dr. Tameka Vaught Williams
Senior Associate, Justice System Partners

Dr. Tameka Vaught Williams is a Senior Associate at Justice System Partners. She has over 16 years of work experience in the criminal and juvenile legal systems, project management, and higher education. In her current position, she provides training and technical assistance to criminal justice organizations undergoing system change. Her duties also include managing multi-million dollar projects and a diverse team, ensuring project timelines and deliverables are met. After years of direct service work in public safety, Tameka joined North Carolina Central University as a Clinical Assistant Professor, where she taught criminal justice courses and directed student support. As an educator, she helped develop the next generation of criminal justice leaders and prepared them for post-graduate employment. In this role, she brought a unique "real world" perspective to higher education, drawing from her experience as a leader and practitioner. She is skilled in curriculum development, student coaching, and delivering instruction both online and face-to-face. She is also the co-founder of J.E.W.E.L.S., a non-profit aimed at developing the next generation of women leaders in criminal and social justice fields. Tameka is a two-time alumna of North Carolina Central University (NCCU). She was awarded dual bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Criminal Justice and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice. She received her Ph.D. in Leadership Studies from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Tameka’s written work and research interests focus on student professional development, correctional managers’ leadership development, barbershops and beauty salons as community anchors, the criminalization of minority youth, and the barriers to leadership for Black women in the workplace. Her life’s work focuses on making systemic and structural changes in the criminal legal system through leadership, advocacy, research, and teaching.