Sheila Vakharia earned her doctorate at Florida International University’s School of Social Work. She received her Master’s in Social Work from Binghamton University and a Post-Master’s Certificate in the Addictions from New York University. She was most recently employed as a social worker at a grassroots HIV/AIDS and homelessness advocacy organization in Manhattan, where she provided harm reduction-based substance use counseling, facilitated harm reduction support groups, and conducted quality assurance activities. She was also a SIFI certified field instructor for B.S.W. students from New York University at that time. Prior to that, she worked at an OASAS-licensed rural outpatient substance use treatment facility where she conducted diagnostic assessments, made level-of-care treatment determinations, and facilitated aftercare groups for individuals with co-occurring disorders.
Jeannie Little has been at the forefront of developing harm reduction therapy for people with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders since 1990. Beginning with her work at the Department of Veterans Affairs, she developed the harm reduction therapy group model and has trained therapists nationally and abroad. She teaches and consults with staff in outpatient clinics, drop-in centers, and supportive housing programs. She directs a national group of researchers and harm reduction therapists that is working to bring harm reduction therapy into the mainstream of substance abuse treatment. She has authored many papers and, with Dr. Denning, she co-authored Practicing Harm Reduction Psychotherapy and Over the Influence, a self-help book for consumers.