(Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of ETR as an agency.)
By ETR | January 17, 2017
ETR’s condom holders have consistently been one of our most popular products. They have colorful designs on the outside and instructions for condom use on the inside. We’ve just introduced a new one designed to hold an internal or “female” condom.
That’s a WOW indeed! When first introduced, this style of condom seemed strange. They were expensive and some users complained about noises that were anything but sexy (“squeak,” “squish” or a sort of “phttt”).
Today’s FC2 is an improved revamp of the original.
By John Henry Ledwith | January 11, 2017
Senior Sales Manager, ETR
We’ve had some seriously rainy weather in Northern California this past week. The storm outside was a good incentive for me to do a little clean-up and organizing inside.
As I opened file drawers and cabinet doors, I ploughed through several years’ worth of articles, notes, photos and papers. Some were still keepers. And others—ideas past their prime—went off to recycle.
By Jennifer Salerno, DNP | January 5, 2017
Founder, Possibilities for Change
How sexually active—and sexually risky—are today’s teens?
Scientific studies continue to support the notion that teens today actually have less sex than their parents did as teens. Yet nearly one in four teens will become pregnant by age 20, and half of the new STDs in the U.S. each year occur among people between the ages of 15 and 24. While these trends may seem contradictory and even a little bit confusing, one thing is for sure: our nation’s conversation about sex and sexual health is changing, and it’s a pivotal time for providers of all types to be a part of the discussion.
By Debra Christopher, MSM | January 3, 2017
Director, Professional Learning Systems, ETR
How will participants change their approach to their work, given what they’ve learned in their training? This group activity combines thoughtful reflection with an opportunity to state intentions. A handshake, virtual or real-life, seals the deal!
Title: I Resolve
Setting: Appropriate for in-person events and adaptable for live virtual events.
Time: 15 minutes
Purpose: To promote recall and to motivate participants to take action by making their intentions for change public.
Best Used: At the culmination of a professional learning event to reinforce action steps.
By ETR | December 22, 2016
It’s holiday time! We hope your plans include some space for rest and relaxation in whatever way you enjoy it best. Go on a grand adventure, read a good book or spend time with family and friends.
The ETR blog will be taking a break until the first week of January, 2017. We look forward to seeing you back on the beat soon. Our wish for you? Continuing strength in your vision, continuing commitment in your missions and an outstanding sense of wonder about all that is good in our lives and our work.
Celebrate well. You deserve it!
By Karin Coyle, PhD | December 19, 2016
Senior Research Associate, ETR
ETR is delighted to announce the release of our report on the 2016 Kirby Summit. If you work with adolescents to address sexual and reproductive health, I strongly encourage you to check it out.
Here’s why. We deliberately designed this invited Summit to challenge and disrupt what we thought we knew about adolescent health behaviors.
Our field currently has a broad selection of evidence-based programs geared towards preventing HIV, other STD and unplanned teen pregnancy. I believe these have contributed to declining rates of teen pregnancy and childbearing in the U.S. over the past two decades. But there is a lot we still don’t understand, and more we could do to make these programs better. That’s where the Kirby Summit comes in.
Peterson AJ, Coyle KK, Guinosso SA, Christopher DE, and Charles VE. Sex and the teen brain: Disrupting what we think we know. Scotts Valley, CA: ETR Associates, 2016.
By Laura Perkins, MLS | December 15, 2016
Product Editor, ETR
Thought about menstrual periods lately? Maybe, maybe not. But if you were a pre-menstrual kid, teetering on the edge of puberty, you'd probably be thinking about them a lot.
The start of menstruation is a major event during puberty. But the basics about periods aren't addressed with much clarity in the kinds of media kids typically use—television, movies, social media, music.
ETR is excited to announce the release of an updated and revised "Period Facts" pamphlet (available in English and Spanish).
By BA Laris, MPH | December 13, 2016
Research Associate, ETR | Personal pronouns: She, her, hers
As a researcher, I love data. I get excited about survey results that can help us shape ideas and norms in our community. I understand the power behind these numbers, that these numbers represent individuals and their life experience. Keeping things personal is also critically important to me as I review and integrate new research findings into my everyday life.
We were excited for the much-anticipated release of The National Center for Transgender Equality’s new 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey Report. This ambitious effort examines the experiences of almost 28,000 transgender people across the United States and its territories. It provides valuable data about the lives of transgender people and systematically validates the challenges they face every day.
It is also a deeply troubling report. The report acknowledges that “the findings reveal disturbing patterns of mistreatment and discrimination and startling disparities.…” A transgender acquaintance of mine found himself unable to finish reading the report because the statistics were so triggering.
By Vignetta Charles, PhD | December 8, 2016
Chief Science Officer, ETR
I love gratitude. I try to get a little of it into my life every day. Here’s why.
First, gratitude grounds me in something positive and constructive. It’s so easy to get mired in the details of our daily lives. Like a breath of fresh air, a break for gratitude can get me back into the moment.
Second, it helps me extend and expand my feelings, bringing them to the people and relationships around me. This is different from the thank you’s we might say for objects we’re given, or even things people do for us. Those are sort of transactional exchanges—you gave me this, I offer you thanks. For me, gratitude is more about the essence of a person: I am grateful for who you are, and the positive outcomes you bring to my life.
Third, gratitude is a pause. I have to stop for a moment to be grateful in these ways. That moment gives me clarity and presence.
By Louise Ann Lyon, PhD | December 1, 2016
Senior Research Associate, ETR
Why isn’t the tech field more diverse? And what can we do to change that?
One of the challenges is the so-called “pipeline” issue. We don’t have enough women and underrepresented minority students pursuing, and then completing, computer science degrees. That means we don’t have enough trained and skilled professionals to do all of the work that needs doing.
ETR has partnered with Google on a just-released study that can help us understand some of the supports and barriers that face women and underrepresented minorities seeking computer science education through a community college pathway. We focused on the experiences as described by students themselves who are pursuing computer science degrees.
Lyon LA, Denner J (2016). Student Perspectives of Community College Pathways to Computer Science Bachelor’s Degrees. Mountain View, CA: Google Inc.
By Jill Denner, PhD | November 28, 2016
Senior Research Scientist, ETR
Vocational education is making a comeback! Nationally, we are seeing new attention being brought to career-technical education (CTE). Revitalized efforts are seeking to provide students the mix of technical training and academics that will prepare them for real-world, 21st century careers. We expect this trend to continue. In fact, the House of Representatives recently passed legislation to provide support for expanded CTE efforts.
Computer science skills—including the ability to code—play a role in a number of the established CTE pathways. This would be true, for example, in business and finance, education, health science, information technology, and manufacturing and engineering.
ETR is nationally known for our interdisciplinary research, evaluation and program strategies aiming to increase equity and inclusion in the information technology (IT) world. Our recent research sheds light on some of the challenges—and potential solutions—to boosting the pipeline to technology careers for underrepresented populations (for example, females, Latinos, African-Americans). We believe this work is an essential component of our nation’s efforts to build an emerging workforce that is competent and prepared.
By Beverly Iniguez-Conrique | November 21, 2016
Research Assistant, ETR
I was three and a half years old on my first day of school. On that crisp September morning, my mother woke up early to dress me and walk me over to the local elementary school.
This was a special moment for my mom. She never had the chance to attend college or immerse herself in her education. Because of this, she instilled in me from my earliest years the idea that with education, our condition of life could improve.
During my adolescence I thought optimistically about the impact my peers and I could have on the world. When I entered college, I studied psychology and became involved with undergraduate research. I quickly realized that education didn’t just have the potential to improve the lives of those who consume it. I saw that scientific investigation and inquiry could also improve the condition of all individuals in a society.
By John Henry Ledwith | November 17, 2016
Senior Sales Manager, ETR
I love school health advocates! Earlier this month I got to spend time with a whole bunch of them at the School Health Education and Services Section (SHES) of the APHA annual meetings. As usual, joining up with that crowd was an illuminating and inspiring process.
Here we all are, in one room. We’re from all over the country. We’re talking about the best ways to promote school health and health education. Making connections to strengthen our community. Talking about the best ways to train the school health educators of tomorrow.
Right there in the room, we probably had more wisdom about school policy, school boards, and health education than you could find anywhere else in the world.
Which is why I was surprised when almost no one could answer the following question.
By Vignetta Charles, PhD | November 15, 2016
Chief Science Officer, ETR
ETR is thrilled to see a new article, just released today. It is published by our close colleague, Dr. John Santelli, and his team at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. The Santelli team’s comprehensive work demonstrates that when we narrow income inequality and increase opportunities for education, we positively affect youth health and wellbeing. The study explicitly links increases in investment in education to declines in teen childbearing.
Santelli JS, Song X, Garbers S, Sharma V, Viner RM (2016). Global trends in adolescent fertility, 1990-2012, in relation to national wealth, income inequalities, and educational expenditures. Journal of Adolescent Health. In press. Published online (15 November 2016).
By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | November 10, 2016
Senior Editor, ETR
STD rates are up. The CDC noted in a recent press release that reported STDs are at an “unprecedented high” in the U.S.
This sort of news is undeniably discouraging for those of us working the sexual and reproductive health arena. After all, we’ve been feeling rather upbeat and hopeful about the impressive drop in unplanned teen pregnancies—rates are down more than half over the past 20 years. A combination of factors seems responsible for that change, including pregnancy prevention programs. It’s great to feel like we’ve done something right that has played a role in these positive outcomes.
So what’s gone wrong when it comes to STDs?
By ETR | November 4, 2016
Two heads are better than one! It’s an old but familiar adage. We have an updated version we’d like to suggest: two contraceptives are better than one.
ETR researchers have just published an article in The Journal of Primary Prevention that examines the frequency of dual contraceptive use among youth in alternative schools. Information about this population is particularly important because they are more likely than other youth to engage in risky sexual behaviors. To date, there has been no research examining dual use contraception in this group.
Coyle, K.C., Peterson, A.J., Franks, H.M., Anderson, P.M., Glassman, J.R. (2016). Dual contraceptive method use among youth in alternative schools. The Journal of Primary Prevention 37(5). Published online October 31, 2016.
By Lanz Lowen, MS, MA and Blake Spears, MBA | November 2, 2016
Senior Consultant, The Mandana Group and Independent Healthcare Consultant
What are the relationships of young gay men like today? It can be surprisingly difficult to answer this question with confidence. Little research is being done on gay male couples—how they build and sustain their relationships, what they think about monogamy and marriage, what they believe about the attitudes of their peers.
We did a self-funded study in 2010 called Beyond Monogamy. We wanted to know more about the experiences of long-term non-monogamous male couples. Because we were examining long-term relationships, we had, by definition, an older cohort participate in the study. But we’d been hearing that younger gay men had some different perspectives. This year, we completed our Choices study, which focused on gay men ages 18-40 and explored attitudes and practices about monogamy and marriage.
We discovered a lot of interesting things. Younger gay men do value monogamy more than their older counterparts. They also believe in marriage. Some are applying a practice we call “being monogamish”—not exactly monogamous, but not wide open. Virtually all of our respondents believe that communicating with partners about their sexual lives is a vital part of having a successful relationship.
Our study also affirmed the wonderful and creative diversity found in male couples. I think this is useful information for anyone working with gay men, and for young gay men themselves. These men have found many ways to build strong, healthy and loving relationships—strategies we believe would be useful for all populations.
ETR | October 27, 2016
Summed up in a word? Awesome.
The annual meetings of the American Public Health Association are one of the nation’s premiere professional events. This year, more than 12,000 attendees will be showing up in Denver October 29-November 2. They’ll present research, work on policy recommendations, learn new skills and network with colleagues from across the nation and around the world.
ETR’s team will be in the thick of it, offering presentations, hosting our booth in the Exhibit Hall (Booth 1314), and connecting with partners old and new. Look around for us, and here’s what you might see.
By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | October 25, 2016
Senior Editor, ETR
The tragedy of opioid addiction is not new. When I was a teen, my sisters and I lost two friends to heroin overdoses.
And I still remember the time one of my closest friends told me about the night she tried some drugs with her boyfriend, a heroin addict, and almost died. When she stopped breathing, he didn’t want to call for help because he was afraid he’d be arrested.
No, opioids and heroin are not new. But today’s epidemic is different, and it’s become much worse.
By Cody Sigel, MPH, CHES and Tracy Wright, MAED | October 20, 2016
Professional Development Consultant and Project Director, ETR
Originally published here on Beth Kanter's blog.
The first time you facilitate a training, you start developing your own personal list of tips for great facilitation. You try out some things that work, and they go on your list (“I can’t wait to try that again!”). Chances are you also try out some things that don’t work, and they go somewhere else.
Some go into the trash (“I am never again going to ask people to take off their shoes as a way to break into small groups!”). And some go onto a wait-and-see list (“How come that worked so well when I watched Deb do it, and it was such a flop when I tried it?”).
By Jill Denner, PhD | October 17, 2016
Senior Research Scientist, ETR
Computer science for all? If you’ve been reading the headlines, you have seen the explosion of articles. Proponents argue we must offer computer science (CS) education to all students, in a combination of school and afterschool programs. This movement has been gaining momentum over the last ten years, fueled to a great extent by the National Science Foundation. It culminated in President Obama’s announcement in early 2016 of his CS4All initiative.
At first glance, making CS available to all sounds like a great idea. But there have been concerns about what this looks like in practice.
Questions I hear include: Will efforts to increase computer science in schools take away resources for other valuable programs like art, music and math? Do we really want all children to become computer scientists? Does CS for All just mean more resources are given to the schools and communities that already have teachers who know how to teach CS, and parents who work in CS? And with so many new programs and tools out there, how can we be sure that what our students are being taught is of the highest quality?
By ETR | October 13, 2016
We hear regularly from customers about our health education materials. Sometimes they share praise and compliments for a product they’ve found helpful. Sometimes they ask for a new title or resource they need. And sometimes they offer constructive feedback about something that doesn’t quite work in their situation.
We’ve also gotten some really vitriolic criticism from vapers, who tend to dislike our public health messages about e-cigarettes. In fact, when we posted a video a while back about our new vaping title, we actually had to turn off public comments because of all the offensive outbursts, expletives and threats.
That’s one of the reasons our Product Editor, Laura Perkins, was particularly touched by a critical but respectful email she received recently from a college student in New York.
By Jim Pickett | October 11, 2016
Director of Prevention Advocacy and Gay Men's Health, AIDS Foundation of Chicago
PrEP has altered the landscape in HIV prevention in extraordinary and profound ways. It’s changing the lives of vulnerable individuals. It’s also bringing about big changes for the HIV workforce—health care providers, prevention specialists, outreach workers, social workers, educators and more. In fact, I believe we’ve entered the most dynamic period in our fight against HIV since 1996, when the advent of highly active antiretroviral therapy revolutionized treatment and saved countless lives.
The AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) collaborates with a range of providers throughout our city and state. And they prove the point. People who could benefit from PrEP are excited about a new option for HIV prevention beyond latex. Providers are newly inspired by the possibilities. And—if you’ll allow me an indulgent moment of pride—a working group of local organizations (including AFC) has put together a beautiful, sex-positive social marketing campaign about PrEP that is truly unique.
By Jennifer Salerno, DNP | October 6, 2016
Founder, Possibilities for Change
Whether you’re a parent or an individual who works with youth, you are placed in an influential role to help keep teens safe and healthy. But that’s no easy task!
Risky behaviors account for the majority of teen injury and premature death. In the face of these challenges, educators, providers and parents need concrete strategies to support teens in smart decision making.
The research of my team at Possibilities for Change, along with my work at the School Based Health Center Program and the Adolescent Health Initiative at the University of Michigan, have introduced evidence-based practices and principles that support better communication with teens. In our work, we leverage motivational interviewing techniques to encourage teens to think through their motivations, plan ahead for risky situations and feel empowered to make positive choices. Our ultimate goal is that they make safe and healthy decisions for themselves.
By Eloy Ortiz, MURP | October 4, 2016
Research Associate, ETR
Our nation has a vital interest in building a better pipeline to careers in STEM. However, females, Blacks and Latinos are substantially underrepresented in tech professions. ETR has had a longstanding commitment to exploring ways to boost the presence of women and underrepresented minorities in the tech world. A number of our research projects explore strategies to support a more diverse presence in the field.
Our Math Pathways project seeks to provide some pieces in the puzzle of identifying the factors that will help Latino students succeed in math. We know it’s important to build and sustain math confidence early in children’s education. Most students who decide to focus on STEM studies make that choice during high school, and increasingly, STEM competence is seen as a necessary emphasis for all students, from pre-K through grade 12.