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Daliah Heller

Director of Drug Use Initiatives


  • Drug policy
  • Social policy-homelesness, health, criminal justice
  • Harm reduction theory and practice
  • Systems analysis

Daliah Heller is the Director of the Overdose Prevention Program at Vital Strategies and develops and oversees the organization’s activities in the area of substance use, working to reduce the burden of this epidemic and overdose death 

Daliah is a notable expert on public policy, research and practice at the intersection of public health and criminal justice, with particular expertise on drugs, drug use epidemiology, overdose planning and response strategies, and harm reduction services. She brings over 20 years’ experience in leadership and advisory positions in both the government and non-profit sectors. Her achievements include establishing the Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Use Prevention, Care, and Treatment, at the New York City Health Department and growing CitiWide Harm Reduction (now known as BOOM!Health), a nationally-recognized, Bronx-based harm reduction organizationdesigning, implementing, and showcasing innovative models of healthcare, housing, and social solidarity for homeless and formerly incarcerated people involved with drug use. She brings this expertise to Vital Strategies’ new Drug Use Initiative, working with partners to develop and implement proven, high-impact interventions that will save lives. 

 Daliah also currently serves as Adjunct Professor at CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. 

 Prior to joining Vital Strategies, Daliah served as Clinical Professor, Graduate School of Public Health and Policy at the City University of New York. She had previously served in the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene as Director of Harm Reduction at the Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control and as Assistant Commissioner with the Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Use Prevention, Care, and Treatment. Daliah earned her PhD in Social Welfare from CUNY Graduate Center, her Master of Public Health in Population and Family Health from Columbia University, and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Philosophy from McGill University.