The global advocacy organization Harm Reduction International (HRI) has appointed Naomi Burke-Shyne as its executive director starting this fall, a recent press release reports

Burke-Shyne will replace Rick Lines, PhD, who has served as executive director since 2010. She brings over a decade of experience to the job, having worked across the harm reduction, human rights and HIV arenas. Previously, she served as HRI’s deputy director since 2017.

Prior to HRI, Burke-Shyne worked for the Open Society Foundations’ Public Health Program, helping to challenge the negative impacts of drug policy and expanding access to justice for people who use drugs. A trained lawyer, she also worked for the HIV and Health Law Program of the International Development Law Organization for five years, supporting the legal rights of populations at risk for HIV.

HRI, a global nongovernmental organization that regularly works with the United Nations, was founded in 1996 to monitor the death penalty for drug offenses, harm reduction in prisons and funding for harm reduction initiatives in low- and middle-income nations around the world. Every two years, the organization publishes the only independent analysis of the state of harm reduction around the world.

Organization leaders say the diversity of Burke-Shyne’s background as a lawyer, grant-maker and advocate made her a top choice for the position. For her part, the leader says she is committed to continuing to promote evidence-based health policies and practices and approaches to harm reduction that are grounded in human rights around the world.