(Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of ETR as an agency.)
By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | December 3, 2015
Senior Editor, ETR
LGBTQ youth face a number of elevated risks in the general and sexual health arenas—including some we might not expect, such as increased risk of pregnancy. They are also more likely to get STDs, be sexually victimized and participate in survival sex.
A promising strategy for reducing these risks is building greater equity, responsiveness and inclusiveness in our sex education programs. We need to explicitly state that LGBTQ youth are at risk for these consequences, and we need to do it in a manner that respects and engages all students.
I was thrilled to hear about and read the just-released A Call to Action: LGBTQ Youth Need Inclusive Sex Education. What a fabulous resource!
By Laura Perkins, MLS | December 4, 2015
Project Editor, ETR
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) for HIV means taking a combination pill to prevention transmission of the virus. The pill, brand name Truvada, has proved to be successful at protecting at-risk individuals. Trials evaluating PrEP among gay and bisexual men, heterosexual men and women, and injection drug users indicate that the risk of getting HIV decreased by up to 92% for participants who took the medicine consistently.
This is phenomenal!
By Tanya Henderson, PhD | December 1, 2015
Project Director, Community Impact Solutions, ETR
When I first heard this quote, it really hit home with me. I was always a planner, a bit of an overachiever, but things really didn’t come together for me until I began doing work in the HIV/AIDS arena. Today, on World AIDS Day, I reflect not only on what I see as my calling, but also why I do this work.
In the early days of this new millennium, HIV/AIDS was one of the top five health disparities affecting African Americans and underrepresented minorities in the U.S. This was also true in my hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. I don’t think I’d fully understood to that point that a disease like HIV could run rampant, so disproportionately affecting some communities.
HIV was sexually transmitted and surrounded by great stigma and misinformation. It was sometimes passed between people who loved one another deeply. All of this tugged at my heart strings.
During this time, I first heard of the death of someone I knew.
By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | November 24, 2015
Senior Editor, ETR
Thanksgiving is traditionally a time we think of gratitude. This year, as we consider all that has happened and compare our circumstances to others on the world stage, we at ETR are indeed grateful—for personal health, for homes, for opportunities to be with our families.
We continue, through collaboration, inspiration and hard work to change the world in our small and peaceful ways. The opportunity to do so is something I am incredibly grateful for.
So yes, 2015 has been a difficult year in many respects. But it has also been a wonderful year for ETR, one filled with excellence, shared vision, partnership and collaboration. Here are some of the people and organizations we especially want to thank.
By Laura Norvig, MLIS | November 23, 2015
Digital Media Strategist, ETR
I’ll admit, I like to read about meditation more than actually do it. I’m a huge fan of Thich Nhat Hanh and Pema Chodron, two authors who make a great case for how quieting the mind and being in the moment increase our ability to be patient, compassionate and more effective human beings.
By Shannon Campe | November 19, 2015
Research Associate, ETR
Are you a K–12 teacher? Or a school or district administrator? A teacher’s union rep? A classroom aide? An active member of your PTA? Do you have any say about what teachers do in their classrooms? If so, I’m hoping you’ll take a few minutes to read about the next big role you (or your teachers) can take to make a difference.
I’m an educational researcher and a teacher. I recruit and work with teachers for classroom-based and after-school programs that are part of research projects. If you are a teacher, I have something I really want you to do, at least once—collaborate in school-based research when the opportunity arises.
I know, yet another thing to do on top of everything else. Why should you take it on?
By Andrea Gerber, MSEd, & Kari Kesler, MA | November 16, 2015
Public Health, Seattle & King County
The topic of sexual violence on college campuses has received much attention in the media recently. Many colleges are clamoring to implement or improve education programs in an attempt to reduce the number of rapes perpetrated on their campus.
These high-profile cases have left many people wondering if education about sexual violence prevention shouldn’t start younger, perhaps much younger. What role can sexual health education in middle and high schools play in this effort?
By Betül Czerkawski, PhD | November 13, 2015
Associate Professor of Educational Technology, University of Arizona
In recent years there has been a strong emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education for a number of reasons. Strong STEM education allows us to:
STEM education has two key foci that provide support to all of these outcomes. The first is training new generations in STEM professions. How do we make sure our children and youth are ready to step up and lead in these fields?
The second is implementing strategies that develop computational thinking (CT) skills in all students—even those who are not planning to select STEM-related professions themselves.
By Vignetta Charles, PhD | November 10, 2015
Chief Science Officer, ETR
I’m not only a scientist! People also play me on TV!
Well, actually, that’s Mr. Spock, Chief Science Officer from Star Trek and the starship Enterprise. I’m Vignetta Charles, the new Chief Science Officer at ETR. Which, by the way, has its headquarters on Enterprise Way. Coincidence? I think not.
I embrace the challenge to live up to the esteemed reputation of my job title. Indeed, we all can tap into our inner scientists. And, taking to heart the advice of my Vulcan mentor—“Insufficient facts always invite danger”—I’d like to suggest we all make the effort to be scientists in our work, no matter what our role.
By Jill Denner, PhD | November 5, 2015
Senior Research Scientist, ETR
Note: ETR’s Jill Denner recently contributed a post to the American Evaluation Association’s blog AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators. This was part of their STEM Education and Training Topical Interest Group Week. With AEA’s permission, we are reposting Dr. Denner’s article. You can find the original here. If you’ll be attending AEA’s “Evaluation 2015” conference in Chicago next week, be sure to look for ETR’s team of researchers. Attending members include Pam Drake, Lisa Unti, BA Laris, Liz McDade-Montez and Jill Glassman.
Computer Science Education in K-12 is a relatively new space. It is a young discipline that is trying to distinguish itself from other Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. And rightfully so. The “T” is different in many ways: There is less diversity in “T” classes and programs. Most programs do not have clear goals or a logic model to describe how their activities will lead to identified goals. There are many different learning outcomes, but few validated measures, established theories or clear stakeholders who can drive key decisions about evaluation design, sampling, and measurement.
By Debra Christopher, MSM | November 3, 2015
Director, Professional Learning Systems, ETR
This is an extremely grand processing activity used by my mentor and friend, Pat Wolfe, when she conducts her Training of Trainers on The Brain and Learning. It gets all the minds in the game and culminates in ideas and actions that nourish the group!
By Michael Everett, MHS | October 29, 2015
Project Coordinator, ETR
What responsibility do HIV/AIDS organizations have concerning the wellness of staff who are also Black men who have sex with men?
I have pondered this question often throughout my 15-year career in HIV services.
By ETR | October 27, 2015
ETR is proud to be offering two new resources on weight and fitness. If you’re offering support to clients or patients on these topics, we hope you’ll take a look.
Each is designed to be a compendium of the most vital information patients need, conveniently assembled in a single, trustworthy resource. The writing is clear and simple without being simplistic. The content has been written and reviewed by health education specialists and topic experts.
By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | October 22, 2015
Senior Editor, ETR
Here’s a shout out to SOPHE—the Society for Public Health Education. They’re the hosts of National Health Education Week, which we are thoroughly enjoying. (Check the hashtag #NHEW2015 on Twitter for some fine content.)
They started the week by asking us to reflect on our health education heroes. This theme has started some great conversations here at ETR. I asked a few of my colleagues who their heroes are and why. Here’s what they said.
By Annika Shore, MPH | October 20, 2015
Professional Development Consultant, ETR
I love trainings. I love facilitating them. I love participating in them. And this past September, I found out I really love training in New Orleans!
That’s where ETR trainers and other leaders in the field of adolescent sexual health gathered last month for a rigorous four days of learning together. The goals? For these leaders to become trainers on two evidence-based programs (EBP), Reducing the Risk (RTR) and Draw the Line/Respect the Line (DTL).
Those of us who use evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs feel strongly that young people deserve meaningful sexual health education. Effective sexual health education helps youth build knowledge, skills and attitudes.
At ETR, we think evidence-based practices work for adult learners as well!
By Michael Everett, MHS | October 15, 2015
Project Coordinator, ETR
Confinement has its costs. There are costs to being confined physically, emotionally, sexually, mentally or spatially for any period of time. You can often tell when people have grown up in isolation, or with little social interaction. They seem unprepared for social exchanges.
I have seen a version of this with members of the LGBT community. We grow up and discover that what we feel on the inside is seen as wrong in the larger world around us. We learn that who we are “goes against” religious and historical principles.
This can really do a number on you.
By Deirdre Hickey Sturm, BCBA, CCC-SLP | October 13, 2015
Program Director, Including Special Kids & Clinical Director, Special Kids Crusade
Imagine, for a moment, that you’re back in middle or high school. Your class is about to explore a topic that really interests you. You can hardly wait for your teacher to get started.
And now imagine that you aren’t able to mention to anyone that this is a favorite topic. You cannot pick up your pencil to show that you’re ready to take notes and learn. You aren’t quite able to bring your eyes up to meet your teacher’s gaze. Instead, you look at a spot on the floor, ears wide open and eager. Suddenly your hands are flapping in excitement.
And then, one of these scenarios unfolds.
By John Henry Ledwith | October 8, 2015
Senior Sales Manager, ETR
I was in a room full of coaches the other day. I loved it. These men and women are so dedicated to their art and craft. They’re athletes. They’re achievers. They’re deeply committed to their students.
But this was a training addressing sexuality education. Frankly, not all of these teachers wanted to be there. They’d rather be running with their PE courses, helping students develop physical skills, build teamwork and boost confidence.
Fact: People have different levels of comfort teaching sensitive issues. Fact: Classes on sexual and reproductive health bring up a lot of sensitive issues.
By Tamara Kuhn, MA | October 5, 2015
Research Scientist & Director of Technology, dfusion
I’ve had an interest in innovation since childhood. I was thrilled by the technological wonder of my Easy-Bake Oven. I marveled over the magic of freeze-dried ice cream you could take on camping trips.
Later, I felt genuine affection for my first Polaroid camera and my Commodore 64 in all its boxy computer glory. As an adult, I was pretty dazzled by the first iPhone, a magical device offering constant Internet access and the ability to locate the nearest Starbucks with the flick of a finger.
These days the call to “innovate” is being sounded in a variety of settings, from kindergarten classrooms to the halls of higher education, from community outreach clinics to major hospitals, and from small start-up businesses to global corporations.
This is obviously powerful stuff. Innovation is being touted as the solution for nonprofit organization sustainability and the cure for many of the world’s social problems.
By Allison Siebern, PhD, CBSM | October 1, 2015
Sleep Health Integrative Program, Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Fayetteville, NC
When I tell people that I’m a sleep psychologist, their first response is usually to tell me how they sleep. Sleeping is a universal process that everyone can relate to in one way or another. Because it is something we all do, there is little stigma or hesitation in discussing it openly.
One population that is greatly affected by sleep disruption is veterans. It is estimated that veterans are four times more likely to be affected by sleep issues than the general population. This is why I joined the Veterans Administration (VA) as a frontline provider. I love the field of sleep medicine and want to help veterans improve their sleep.
By Jacob Martinez, MIST | September 30, 2015
Founder and Executive Director, Digital NEST
Here’s something that always strikes me about kids and teens. They all have dreams, hopes and wishes for the future. They also have some incredibly creative ideas about making this world better.
That’s true whether we’re talking about kids in our rural, low-income community in Watsonville, California, or the kids up in Silicon Valley, less than 45 minutes away, where some of the most privileged families live.
But there is one really important difference between these sets of young people. That difference is opportunity.
ETR and my organization, Digital NEST, have just been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation that’s going to allow us to learn more about how to create opportunity for underrepresented youth. We are thrilled about the ways this grant is going to advance our work and our mission.
By Stephanie Guinosso, MPH | September 28, 2015
Program Manager, ETR
Here’s an activity I like to use to energize the room early in a learning event. It’s useful for getting to know your participants and for allowing them to get to know one another. It can also be used as a brain “warm-up.” It primes participants to discuss questions about the material that will be covered.
By ETR | September 24, 2015
We’ve just learned that ETR’s Alex Williams has been selected to receive the 2015 Dr. Mark Colomb Leadership Award from the Southern Regional Ball/House and Pageant Communities (B/HAP). We spoke with Alex about what receiving this award means to him, and why this type of work is so important. He told us:
This award recognizes a dual effort. First, it speaks to excellence in addressing HIV issues among the highest risk groups in communities of color.
Second, it specifically recognizes HIV efforts within the House and Ballroom community. This is a thriving subculture of the LGBT community which has been little known or recognized by people outside the culture. Historically, it’s also been marginalized and neglected by most HIV prevention programs.
By Jacqueline Peters | September 17, 2015
Administrative Specialist & Trainer, ETR
The last time I was in DC was in the mid-nineties. Four presidents and two generations later, I found myself heading to the nation’s capital for the United States Conference on AIDS (USCA). I would be representing ETR’s Community Impact Solutions Program (CISP) in our booth and around the conference.
I am new to the world of AIDS service and prevention, and this was my first foray into a national conference focused entirely on HIV/AIDS. I was excited. I was nervous. I was curious.
I was ready for USCA 2015.
By Alicia Rozum, MSW, PPSC | September 15, 2015
Project Director, Mental Health, California School-Based Health Alliance
Student mental health is a big concern among educators. Over 20% of youth have a diagnosed mental health disorder. Many classroom behavioral issues, such as acting out, poor self-regulation and attention issues, are related to mental health concerns.
With the advent of California’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), California schools and communities are bringing increased focus to issues such as student engagement and school climate. Mental health services in schools are a cost-effective way to increase attendance and reduce suspensions and expulsions (see, for example, here and here). And while our agency’s practice is within California, these principles are working in schools throughout the nation.
At the California School-Based Health Alliance, we are big believers in school mental health services. Good programs can literally be life-savers. A couple of years ago, I had a chance to work with a high school student named Nick. His story offers a powerful proof of that statement.