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Announcing the Winners of the Jude Byrne Emerging Female Leaders Award

18 May, 2022

INPUD and the International Network on Health and Hepatitis in Substance Users (INHSU) are excited to announce the recipients of the Jude Byrne Emerging Female Leader Award, a nine-month mentorship program that will foster expertise and  resilience in the next generation of women who use drugs leading our global movement. The award was announced in October last year to honour the memory of legendary drug user activist and former INPUD Chair Jude Byrne, a pioneering advocate for the human rights of people who use drugs, an INHSU board member, a mother, and so much more. 

The Jude Byrne Award includes a nine-month mentorship program that will be delivered by INPUD, tailored to the awardees, and co-created in partnership with them. There will be $10,000 USD per awardee allocated to supporting participation in the program. Alongside the mentor program, awardees will also receive a full scholarship to attend the INHSU 2022 conference which will take place from 19-21 October 2022 in Glasgow, Scotland.

The Jude Byrne Award is a joint initiative between INHSU and INPUD, with the plan to make it an annual award to honour Jude’s memory. There were over 25 nominations for the award from 15 different countries around the globe, with two recipients being chosen after an extensive judging process with community representatives.

Thank you to everyone who applied, and congratulations to our two recipients!

Danielle Russell

Location: Phoenix, Arizona, United States of America
Bio: A doctoral student at Arizona State University, Danielle is expected to graduate in Spring 2023. Her work is oriented towards community-based participatory action research and she is committed to health equity for people who use illicit drugs and mutual aid.

What are you most excited about for the mentor program: My hopes for the mentorship program are to have support navigating the set-up and implementation of analytical drug testing services that are collectively owned by people who use drugs here in my community.

There is rapid mobile laboratory testing available for everything from laundry mats to car washes (to maintain environmental compliance), so there is no reason people who use illicit drugs shouldn’t have access to potentially life-saving information that this kind of drug testing resource can provide.

If we can have these analytical testing services available for a car wash, we should certainly have them available to protect people’s lives and bodies from harm. Additionally, I’m looking forward to, and am grateful for, the opportunity to learn from others with more experience outside of my community.

What topics do you hope to cover in your mentor program: Drug contamination and the lack of transparency into drug quality/concentration/characterization is increasingly an issue here. Ultimately, I want us to have mobile, rapid turnaround drug testing services with all levels of analysis and data owned by people who use drugs.

Yatie Jonet

Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Bio: Yatie has harm reduction field expertise and is currently affiliated with the Persatuan Insaf Murni Malaysia as an Engagement Officer, a role she secured after taking steps to become an independent community advocate. More importantly, Yatie is a reliable and resourceful friend, a loud and vocal community advocate, a community mobilisor and human rights defender. She is a person who uses substances and has also experienced imprisonment and detention centres.

What are you most excited about for the mentor program: I’m excited to take this opportunity to build my capacity and become self-equipped with the knowledge which will help me achieve my goals in the drug policy reform advocacy movement. I’m also excited to gain knowledge from field experts who can guide me to become a better community advocate.

What topics do you hope to cover in your mentor program: I’m very interested in community-led research and would like to initiate a new research project from the community, for the community in supporting local, regional and international drug policy reform movements. I’m also hoping to build my personal capacity as a communicator, by learning to be extra vocal and to fearlessly advocate through social media platforms.