Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Cassandra White

Second Advisor

Jennie E. Burnet

Third Advisor

Steven Black


This thesis explores the public health practice of a needle exchange program from the perspective of outreach workers in a Southern U.S. city. I explore how outreach workers understand the harm reduction ideology that underlies needle exchange practices as well as intrinsic and extrinsic motivations for participating in the work. I also consider how the needle exchange impacts outreach workers’ lives and its social importance as a therapeutic community. I argue that the needle exchange represents an important social space that functions as a therapeutic community for outreach workers where the harm reduction ideology is applied to both clients and outreach workers alike.

Available for download on Tuesday, April 23, 2019