ETR was established in 1981 as a training organization for teachers implementing sexuality education in California. Since then, our work in the area of HIV/AIDS and sexual and reproductive health has expanded to include research, program development and evaluation, organizational and individual capacity building, and dissemination on a national scale.
ETR's Sexual and Reproductive Health Charter—an internal, multidisciplinary team—adopted five focal areas that aim to promote the sexual health and well-being of communities and youth and to reduce disparities in HIV/AIDS, unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection (STI). ETR’s position statements describe our agency values and beliefs in the area of sexual and reproductive health, organized around these five focal areas that align with our Health Equity Framework.
ETR believes that everyone deserves to live in a community that is economically, socially and physically healthy, where individuals and families have access to quality, affordable sexual and reproductive health care and education across the lifespan.
Community and School Context is concerned with how place—where a person lives, works and/or goes to school—influences sexual and reproductive health. We know that educational and employment opportunities, access to health and social services, and local policies shape the choices people make about their health and relationships. For example:
ETR believes that creating positive and safe relationships is essential to improving health outcomes. Sexual and reproductive health programs should address consent and communication within partnerships, and cultivate child/youth connectedness with parents and other trusted adults.
Relationships & Connectedness focuses on how relationships with partners, peers and parents—healthy or unhealthy—impact sexual and reproductive outcomes. Sexual behavior most often occurs within the context of a relationship and is influenced by connectedness to families and peers. For example:
ETR believes that education, treatment and prevention strategies should be inclusive of all communities, including “invisible” populations, such as LGBT, homeless and system-involved youth. Health education and services should be designed and implemented with the acknowledgment of the social and structural factors that create inequities in our workplaces, health and school systems.
Education, Treatment & Prevention concerns the direct role of health education and services in modifying knowledge, attitudes, skills and behaviors related to preventing unintended and teen pregnancy, STIs and HIV/AIDS. Communities, families and individuals, including young people, are healthier when they have accurate information about their sexual health and rights, and have access to reliable and inclusive services. For example:
ETR believes that using developmental neuroscience literature provides an opportunity to strengthen sexual and reproductive health programs and practices, leading to greater impact and reduced disparities. ETR frames its study of neuroscience and sexual health in the context of how environmental factors—such as trauma—influence decision making and behaviors.
Developmental Neuroscience relates to how brain development and functioning influence decision making and behavior, specifically in adolescents. Due to the complexity in sexual decision making for adolescents and young people, the sexual and reproductive health field can learn from this emerging area of research. For example:
ETR believes that empowering people to use programs in their community is critical for increasing the scale, sustainability and impact of programs. As the only organization in the sexual health field who develops, trains on, evaluates and disseminates interventions to scale, we aim to bridge the gap between research environments and the context of practice.
Implementation Science concerns not just what outcomes are achieved by an intervention but how interventions achieved that change. Numerous program evaluations have reported changes in sexual risk behaviors, unintended pregnancy, STIs, and HIV/AIDS. Implementation research allows us to identify the components, messages and factors that are most effective in modifying attitudes, skills and behaviors that lead to positive health outcomes. Through implementation science, we can also examine the influence of other factors in program implementation, such as facilitator characteristics, training and support, implementation schedules, and organizational readiness.
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