What's Happening

Check out what our people and partners are researching, thinking, reading, writing, watching and doing!

(Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of ETR as an agency.)

Gender Differences in Math Ability: What’s the Science Say?
April 25, 2017
Gender Differences in Math Ability: What’s the Science Say?

By Katrina Hunter | April 25, 2017
Research Assistant, ETR

I was in a college calculus course. We were learning how to use quadrants and angles to solve functions.

People can either solve the function visually, or by calculating out their answer. As we were going through different problems, I was using the visual method to solve the function. My instructor commented that it was good that I could solve the equation that way, and that it was rare for women to be able to visualize the solutions. 

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Tags: Research, Education research, STEM equity, STEM education, STEM, Gender, math education
How Teaching Helped Me Be a Better Researcher
March 30, 2017
How Teaching Helped Me Be a Better Researcher

By Emily Green, MA | March 30 2017
Research Assistant, ETR

There is something about being a teacher that you carry with you, even if you transition to something else. I didn’t expect to become a K-12 science teacher, but I loved doing it. Now, I find myself being a teacher in everything I do. It gets into your blood. It changes the way you think. And I cannot thank my students enough for changing me in this way.

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Tags: Research, Science, Science education, Special needs students, math education
New Media, Old Themes: Sexualization in Children’s TV Shows
March 28, 2017
New Media, Old Themes: Sexualization in Children’s TV Shows

By Elizabeth McDade-Montez, PhD | March 28, 2017
Senior Research Associate, ETR

TV is not what it used to be. Over the past decade, we have seen a range of new methods of content delivery (Netflix, AmazonVideo, Hulu), new ways of watching (bingeing on favorites, catching short segments on YouTube, checking out cute kittens suggested by friends on Facebook), and new ways of calculating ratings.

Unfortunately, although television platforms have clearly modernized over time, television themes and stereotypes around gender and sexuality have not. 

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Tags: Research, Media, Television, Young children
Affirmative Consent: Changing Norms
March 16, 2017
Affirmative Consent: Changing Norms

By Gina Lepore, MEd | March 16, 2017
Research Associate, ETR

 “Everything is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.”

This saying is usually credited to Oscar Wilde, probably erroneously, but I love it anyway! It brings home an essential truth. When we talk about norms related to sex and sexual consent, we are often actually talking about norms related to power.

Note: Gina Lepore is lead author on ETR’s recently released supplement, Teaching Affirmative Consent: Practical Guidelines to Increase Student UnderstandingThis post is adapted from background material for educators that will be included in the new supplement.

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Tags: Affirmative consent, Sexual and reproductive health, Sexual assault prevention, Adolescent health, Sexual violence prevention
Being ETR's New CEO: To Boldly Go...
February 23, 2017
Being ETR's New CEO: To Boldly Go

By Vignetta Charles, PhD | February 23, 2017
CEO, ETR

I’m thrilled to be ETR’s new CEO. This is a job I’ve wanted for 19 years!

In 1998, I was Program Director of a teen pregnancy prevention program in Oakland, CA. I went to a training on Reducing the Risk (RTR), one of the best-known evidence-based programs in the field. It also happens to be a program ETR developed, evaluated and distributes.

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Tags: ETR, Mission, Science
Ambassadors of Science: Helping Others Understand a Science-Based Framework
February 21, 2017
Ambassadors of Science: Helping Others Understand a Science-Based Framework

By Janine Saunders, EdD, MPH | February 21, 2017
Program Manager, ETR

Neil deGrasse Tyson famously said, "The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it." During this time of fake news and alternative facts, promoting science-based approaches is more important than ever. If you’re like me, you encounter people every day who, knowingly or unknowingly, are making decisions based on false information. 

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Tags: Science, Science-based framework, Evidence, School health, School health education
Addressing and Preventing Cyberbullying and Online Harm
February 9, 2017
Addressing and Preventing Cyberbullying and Online Harm

By Pamela Anderson, PhD | February 9, 2017
Senior Research Associate, ETR

I’m having a sentimental parent moment. Our three-year-old is looking at the iPad. She is trying to defy gravity by watching her show upside down. The iPad falls on her face. She falls off the couch and hits the floor.

Our almost-seven-year-old immediately sprints over to help and console her sister. 

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Tags: Research, Technology, Cyberbullying, Electronic dating violence, Online trafficking, Children, Teens
Disrupting What You Think You Know: Sex and the Teen Brain
December 19, 2016
Disrupting What You Think You Know: Sex and the Teen Brain

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.

Report on the 2016 Kirby Summit

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. 

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Tags: Research, Kirby Summit, Adolescents, Risk reduction, Neurodevelopment, Sexual and reproductive health, Neuroscience
Reflections On the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey
December 13, 2016
Reflections On the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey

By BA Laris, MPH | December 13, 2016
Research Associate, ETR | Personal pronouns: She, her, hers

We were excited for the much-anticipated release of The National Center for Transgender Equality’s new 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey Report

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Tags: Transgender, Social justice, Research
The Promise of Applied Research
November 21, 2016
The Promise of Applied Research

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. 

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Tags: Research, Education, ETR
Global Determinants in Adolescent Childbearing: Powerful New Study on Social Determinants
November 15, 2016
Global Determinants in Adolescent Childbearing: Powerful New Study on Social Determinants

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).

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Tags: Sexual and reproductive health, Social determinants of health, Pregnancy prevention, Adolescent health, Global issues
Spreading the Message: Dual Contraceptive Method Use Among Teens
November 4, 2016
Spreading the Message: Dual Contraceptive Method Use Among Teens

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.

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Tags: Contraception, Dual use contraception, Alternative school youth, Sexual and reproductive health, Pregnancy prevention, STD prevention
Mentorship and Opportunity: How I Fell in Love with Research
September 29, 2016
Mentorship and Opportunity: How I Fell in Love with Research

By Elidia Moctezuma | September 29, 2016
Research Assistant, ETR

I love research! That’s not something I knew, or even imagined, when I started my college career. Thanks to the guidance of some outstanding teachers and mentors, I’m now ready to make research the focus of my career.

I started out as a psychology major at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB). I had to read some research articles in my lower division courses, but they didn’t really give me a sense of the true nuts-and-bolts of the process.

Then I had an opportunity to join a research lab affiliated with the university. On my first day of lab, I was anxious and worried. I expected everyone else would be way ahead of me. Was I in over my head? 

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Tags: Mentoring, Research
What to Think About When You’re Surveying Students
September 22, 2016
What to Think About When You’re Surveying Students

By Pamela Jakwerth Drake, PhD, & Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | September 22, 2016
Senior Research Scientist & Senior Editor, ETR

First published on the EdSurge blog on July 20, 2016.

Students hold a lot of useful information that you can use to find out all kinds of things. Assess school climate or student engagement. Identify teaching strategies kids like best. Measure health behaviors and attitudes. Learn more about student interests. If you can gather this information, it can help you make better decisions about students.

Do you want to find out whether students feel their teachers are doing a good job of teaching? Whether students feel safe at school? Would you like to know students’ level of engagement and sense of belonging at the school? Do you want to gain a better understanding of student health risk behaviors so you can focus your health education programming in an efficient way?

A survey may be your answer. 

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Tags: Research, Surveys, Evaluation, K-12
Improving Early Teen Pregnancy Prevention: Identifying Risk Classes & Outcome Markers
September 20, 2016
Improving Early Teen Pregnancy Prevention: Identifying Risk Classes & Outcome Markers

By Jill Glassman, PhD | September 20, 2016
Senior Research Associate, ETR

The field of teen pregnancy prevention (TPP) has experienced some impressive achievements over the past decades. By examining the evidence from evaluation studies, we’ve been able to identify programs showing effectiveness in reducing sexual risk taking among broadly defined populations of at-risk youth. ETR scientist Dr. Douglas Kirby was instrumental in developing and disseminating a list of effective characteristics for sexual health education programs, and in disseminating information about risk and protective factors that are key to our understanding of how these programs work.

The majority of these TPP programs originally were developed for high-school-age youth. More recently, however, there has been a shift to earlier pregnancy prevention efforts focusing on younger adolescents (10-14 year olds). Fewer of these youth are already engaging in the targeted sexual risk behaviors.

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Tags: Research, Pregnancy prevention, Adolescents, Risk reduction
Extra Innings: Using a Video Game and Baseball to Teach Science and Math
September 15, 2016
Extra Innings: Using a Video Game and Baseball to Teach Science and Math

By Erica Marsh | September 15, 2016
Project Coordinator, ETR

Extra Innings is a new project which will be building a mobile video game to teach math and science. It’s a collaboration between ETR, dfusion and Science of Sport.

What’s new and different about it? We’re using a curriculum called Science of Baseball as the foundation, and we’ll be doing a formal evaluation of its efficacy.

The existing Science of Baseball curriculum represents a collaboration between Science of Sport, Major League Baseball, and several MLB franchises, including the Arizona Diamondbacks. It empowers students to improve academic performance and confidence in science and math through experiential learning of baseball concepts.

So let’s play ball! We hope to show that curve balls and strike zones blend very nicely with geometry, biomechanics, data visualization, aerodynamics and other STEM topics.

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Tags: Research, STEM, STEM education, Baseball, Mobile apps, math education
Youth Who Puzzle Us: Recent Work in Neuroscience Explains Why
August 29, 2016
Youth Who Puzzle Us: Recent Work in Neuroscience Explains Why

By Vignetta Charles, PhD | August 29, 2016
Chief Science Officer, ETR

Do you work with adolescents? Have you ever faced situations like these?

Sofia is an excellent student, popular on campus and a delightful member of your peer health educator program. She knows everything about birth control, STI prevention and making smart choices. She loves educating her peers. She and her boyfriend come to see you one afternoon and tell you they are pregnant.

Webinar: Survive or Thrive? Re-Envisioning Adolescent Success

We recently collaborated with the California School Based Health Alliance on a webinar describing and applying the new insights in developmental neuroscience. Our goal is to re-think and re-envision how we educate, raise and care for young people on their path to lifelong health and wellbeing. You can find links to the webinar recording and slides ("Survive or Thrive? Using Neuroscience to Re-Envision Adolescent Success") and information about other upcoming CSBHA webinars here.

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Tags: Neurodevelopment, Neuroscience, Teens, Risk reduction
What Educators Need to Know About Online Sex Trafficking
August 23, 2016
What Educators Need to Know About Online Sex Trafficking

By Pamela Anderson, PhD, and Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | August 23, 2016    
Senior Research Associate and Senior Editor, ETR

First published on the Psychology Benefits Society blog of the American Psychological Association.

What comes to mind when you hear the words “sex trafficking”?

If you’re like a lot of people, you might think of a sinister alley in a foreign country serving as the local red light district. Or you might imagine a woman who comes to the U.S. with hopes of a better life for herself and her family who is then forced to sell her body to pay debt bondage. Maybe you think of a young woman violently forced by a hated pimp to work the streets.

While all of these images do constitute forms of sex trafficking, they barely begin to tell the story. And as these disturbing pictures run through our minds, few of us add to our list the children and teens in our own communities. We aren’t likely to think of the students in our classrooms as they navigate the Internet or check their social network sites.

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Tags: Human trafficking, Technology, Sexual and reproductive health, Sexual violence prevention, Violence prevention
Transgender Students & Student Information Systems: Moving Beyond the Binary
July 28, 2016
Transgender Students & Student Information Systems: Moving Beyond the Binary

By John Shields, PhD, MSW | July 28, 2016
Senior Research Associate, ETR

Recent publications have focused our nation’s attention on ensuring the safety and well-being of transgender students. We have been encouraged to safeguard their full access to all educational programs and activities.

In their “Dear Colleague” letter of May 2016, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education have issued clear principles designed to “help ensure that transgender students enjoy a supportive and nondiscriminatory school environment.” In July, the California School Board Association released “Updated Legal Guidance” to help California school districts move from principle to practice.

Many (but not all) school districts are endeavoring with great sincerity to turn these principles into policies and procedures. However, they quickly encounter a significant technical barrier—the sex-binary nature of Student Information Systems (SISs). These databases are commonly used by districts to house students’ demographic information, attendance, class schedules, grades and other performance indicators.

Given this new guidance on transgender students, there are at least three basic functionalities that are immediately needed in the SISs used by Districts across the country. 

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Tags: K-12, School health, Student wellness, Transgender, LGBTQ
From Policy to Effective Programs: Building a Dream
July 25, 2016
From Policy to Effective Programs: Building a Dream

By Melissa Donze | July 25, 2016
MPH Candidate, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health & ETR Kirby Summer Intern

It’s hard to forget your first time on Capitol Hill. I was first there in the fall of 2012. I had just started working as the Pedro Zamora Public Policy Fellow at AIDS United (a DC-based nonprofit focused on ending the HIV epidemic in the United States through strategic grantmaking and policy/advocacy).

I remember how incredible it felt to walk those marble halls where so many great policymakers had walked before me. I remember how inspired I felt to see fellow advocates preparing for meetings with high-level members of Congress.

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Tags: Policy, HIV / AIDS, HIV, Kirby internship, Syringe exchange, Sex education
How Collaboration Strengthens Program Evaluation and Can Lead to Program Sustainability: A Look Back
July 20, 2016
How Collaboration Strengthens Program Evaluation and Can Lead to Program Sustainability: A Look Back

By ETR | July 19, 2016
Note: We're posting about some of the presentations ETR researchers and professional development specialists are offering at the Office of Adolescent HealthTeen Pregnancy Prevention Grantee Conference July 19-21.

ETR researchers are big fans of collaboration in program evaluation. “Collaboration can ensure that your evaluation design is realistic, appropriate and effective for the context,” explains ETR researcher Pam Drake, PhD.

She’ll be joining partners Mona Desai, MPH, from Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles, and Sarah Kershner, PhD, from the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, to discuss the ways collaboration has supported effective evaluations in several teen pregnancy prevention programs.

Here are some other ways collaboration helps.

Mona Desai, Pamela Drake, Sarah Kershner. How Collaboration Strengthens Program Evaluation and Can Lead to Program Sustainability: A Look Back. Thursday, 7/21/16, 10:15-11:30 a.m. Panel in the Evaluation Track, Tubman A/B.

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Tags: Research, Evaluation, OAH TPP, Pregnancy prevention, Adolescent health, Sexual and reproductive health
Evaluations: Adaptations and Fidelity
July 19, 2016
Evaluations: Adaptations and Fidelity

By ETR | July 19, 2016
Note: We're posting about some of the presentations ETR researchers and professional development specialists are offering at the Office of Adolescent Health Teen Pregnancy Prevention Grantee Conference July 19-21.

Here’s a challenge facing anyone delivering evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs. Educators usually want to adapt programs to boost their relevance with the teens they’re working with. Program managers need to be sure any adaptations are done ways that maintain the fidelity and effectiveness of a program. If there is an evaluation component in the project, managers also need to be sure that adaptations have been noted and are taken into consideration when data is analyzed and reported.

How do you feel about fidelity monitoring of your teen pregnancy prevention programs? Have you faced challenges balancing these dynamics between adaptation and program fidelity?

BA Laris, MPH. Evaluations: Adaptations/Fidelity. Tuesday 7/19/16 1:00-2:00 p.m. Topical Roundtable in the Evaluation Section, Key-3.

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Tags: Evaluation, Implementation fidelity, Pregnancy prevention, Adolescent health, Sexual and reproductive health
Measuring Consistency of Contraception Use Over Time Among Teen Mothers
July 19, 2016
Measuring Consistency of Contraception Use Over Time Among Teen Mothers

By ETR | July 19, 2016
Note: We're posting about some of the presentations ETR researchers and professional development specialists are offering at the Office of Adolescent Health Teen Pregnancy Prevention Grantee Conference July 19-21.

Teen parents face a number of challenges. When a teen mother has a rapid repeat birth—a second (or more) child before age 20—the challenges become even greater. Almost 1 in 5 teen births is a repeat birth, and only about 1 in 5 sexually active teen mothers use the most effective birth control methods.

For the past 6 years, ETR researcher Pam Drake, PhD, has been collaborating with Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles (CHLA) Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine on a project designed to support teen parents and prevent unintended repeat births. One strategy in the project is to increase the use of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC). These contraceptives, including IUDs and hormonal implants, are the most effective available today, and are safe for most women, including adolescents.

On Wednesday, July 20, Dr. Drake and co-presenters Mona Desai, MPH, Leslie Clark, PhD and Vivian Okonta, all from CHLA, are offering a poster describing how they measured the consistency of contraception use over time with the teen mothers participating in their project.

Pamela Drake, Mona Desai. Measurement Consistency of Contraception Use Over Time Among Teen Mothers. Wednesday, 7/20/16, 3:30-5:00 p.m. Poster #210 in the Evaluation Section, East Foyer of the Key Ballroom.

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Tags: Evaluation, OAH TPP, Pregnancy prevention, Teen moms, Adolescent health, Sexual and reproductive health
A Team Approach to Data Collection and Evaluation Planning
July 18, 2016
A Team Approach to Data Collection and Evaluation Planning

By ETR | July 18, 2016
Note: We’re posting about some of the presentations ETR researchers and professional development specialists are offering at the Office of Adolescent Health Teen Pregnancy Prevention Grantee Conference July 19-21.

“Evaluations don’t happen in isolation,” say ETR researchers Pam Drake, PhD and BA Laris, MPH. Programs need to involve developers, administrators, implementers and evaluators to come up with an evaluation plan that will produce meaningful results.

On Wednesday, July 20, they’ll be presenting a poster on A Team Approach to Data Collection and Evaluation Planning. “It’s important to think about both big-scope and smaller questions,” they explain. Here are some factors to keep in mind.

BA Laris, MPH and Pamela Drake, Phd. A Team Approach to Data Collection and Evaluation Planning. Wednesday, 7/20/16, 3:30-5:00 p.m. Poster #209 in the Evaluation Section, East Foyer of the Key Ballroom.
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Tags: Evaluation, Teamwork
Four Innovative Methods to Recruit Community Samples of Young Adults
July 7, 2016
Four Innovative Methods to Recruit Community Samples of Young Adults

By Emily Waterman, MS | July 7, 2016
PhD Candidate at Pennsylvania State University & ETR Kirby Summer Intern

Young adulthood, the time of life around ages 18-28, is an exciting period for development. Young adults often establish lifelong health habits, solidify worldviews, and make important decisions about work and family life. They also tend to engage in more risk behavior than people of other ages do.

Because of the importance of young adulthood, researchers and preventionists often wish to target young adults for studies and program evaluations. Researchers tend to turn to college student samples, because they are more easily recruited and followed for longitudinal studies than community samples. However, college students are not representative of the entire young adult population, which is older, less educated, and more diverse in terms of race and ethnicity.

Many experts have called for more research using community samples of young adults, as opposed to college samples.But how can a researcher recruit community samples of young adults? Here are four innovative recruiting methods to get you started.

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Tags: Research, Recruitment