Keith Brown is the Director of Health and Harm Reduction at the Katal Center for Health, Equity and Justice. He joined Katal in May 2016 as Project Director of the Albany Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) initiative in Albany, NY. As the Director of Health and Harm Reduction, he serves as an expert in Medicaid, health, case management, and harm reduction, assisting municipalities through the country in developing strategies addressing public health and public safety.
Keith has over 15 years’ experience working to improve the lives of people living with HIV, people who use drugs, and people at-risk, first in Western New York and now in the Capital Region. An expert in opioid use, addiction, and overdose prevention, Keith has advised lawmakers, law enforcement, community groups and healthcare providers in effective methods to address the overdose crisis.
Prior to joining Katal, Keith worked for 13 years at the Albany-based Catholic Charities Care Coordination Services, serving 8 of those years as executive director. During Keith’s tenure at Catholic Charities, the multi-faceted agency provided direct services to individuals impacted by HIV and other chronic illnesses, and prevention services for communities and individuals at-risk for HIV, Hepatitis C, and other conditions. In 2010, Keith developed and implemented the first Syringe Exchange Program in New York’s Capital Region to respond to the needs of people who use drugs in the community. That program, Project Safe Point, has grown since to include other services such as opiate overdose prevention, harm reduction counseling and referral, and HIV/Hepatitis C screening. On the leading edge of Medicaid redesign, Keith has been intricately involved in New York State’s Health Homes and Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment Program (DSRIP), serving previously as a project co-chair and member of several executive committees. Under Keith’s leadership, Catholic Charities played a pivotal role in the development of Albany’s LEAD program, including the effort to secure funding for the program through DRSIP funds, through an innovative partnership with Albany Medical Center.
In 2012, Keith worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and New York State Department of Health to develop a research study on Hepatitis C risk behaviors among injection drug users. In 2015, Keith and a small group of partners were invited to participate in a White House sponsored convening of stakeholders and professionals to discuss Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Programs as a means to reform the criminal justice system.
Keith remains committed to fighting for access to treatment and services for individuals living with HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and other chronic illnesses, people who use drugs, people engaged in sex work, and other marginalized populations. Keith’s expertise and technical assistance in chronic disease management and harm reduction has been sought by various groups and organizations wishing to implement or develop similar services. He has presented workshops at the National Harm Reduction Conference, the International Law Enforcement and Public Health Conference, the International Harm Reduction Conference and he is a frequently sought after guest speaker and panelist.
Keith holds a Master’s in Public Health from SUNY Albany and a BA in Community Mental Health from SUNY Buffalo. He is a member of the Alpha Gamma Chapter of the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health. At the local level, Keith is a member of Albany County’s Opioid Task Force and sits on the board of the Albany County Coalition on Homelessness.