Addiction & Overdose

Get to Know Jeff Hom

January 26, 2024

Based on preliminary data, the city of San Francisco lost 806 individuals to drug overdoses in 2023, largely driven by the proliferation of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin. Bloomberg Fellow Jeffrey Hom is working to save lives from opioid overdoses in San Francisco as director of the Population Behavioral Health section for the San Francisco Department of Public Health. 

“Like many of us in this area of public health, it’s personal,” Hom says. “I know people–friends and patients alike–who struggle with a substance use disorder and have experienced an overdose. But I’ve also seen how well people can do when given the resources they need to take care of their health.”

Hom decided to focus on scaling up the programs and policies that work for people who use drugs. In his roles at the Philadelphia and San Francisco health departments, Hom has worked to ensure that his patients and the community have access to the full continuum of care including mental health support, treatment and harm reduction services, follow-up care, and much more. 

“Preventing overdose deaths is the immediate, urgent work of this field of public health,” Hom says. “At the same time, we must attend to the long list of factors that contribute to poor outcomes, including punitive drug policies, racism, the lack of affordable housing, and chronic underinvestment in behavioral health.”

Interested in learning more about these outside influences, Hom decided to pursue his DrPH degree at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health through the Bloomberg Fellowship program. Now in the second year of his Fellowship, Hom reflects, “It is such a gift to be part of the Bloomberg Fellows community. Connecting with and learning from other Fellows who are doing work in critical areas of public health is for me an endless source of inspiration.”

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