By Gillian Silver, MPH, CHES | January 8, 2020
Research Dissemination Specialist, ETR
My very first day working at ETR fell on our organization’s All Staff Retreat. It was an energizing day that allowed our growing staff to share priorities and interests, and to embrace a growth mindset in how we approach our work. An idea explored by Carol S. Dweck, adopting a growth mindset helps us move through challenges by identifying the opportunity within them. Inspired by my introduction to the organization, I wondered how the field of sexuality education can apply a #growthmindset to the topic of adolescent romantic relationships.
By Mia Barrett, MEd | December 19, 2019
Research Associate, ETR
Cheers erupted from the audience at the 24th Congress of the World Association of Sexual Health (WAS) in Mexico City when Anne Philpott of The Pleasure Project urged sexuality educators to “Stop preaching and start having fun! Learn to say YES to good, safe sex!” Later, WAS released an official Pleasure Declaration, stating that sexual pleasure is a fundamental human right. In a world where public health is so often focused on preventing negative outcomes and managing ill-health, this declaration and the conference’s focus on pleasure was revolutionary.
By John Shields, PhD, MSW | December 13, 2019
Senior Research Scientist, ETR
The US Department of Education’s proposed regulations on Title IX recently took an important step forward in the adoption process and the regulations may become official policy in the next few weeks. From our perspective as consultants and researchers in the K-12 space, our analysis of the regulations yields several significant implications on Title IX infrastructure, practices, and compliance.
By Emma Schlamm | December 9, 2019
Program Coordinator, YTH Initiative at ETR
The YTH Initiative of ETR, in partnership with the Public Health Institute (PHI) and GoJoven Honduras, is implementing and evaluating ZonaSegura. ZonaSegura is a multi-faceted tech-based intervention that uses a website, native mobile app, and a WhatsApp messaging campaign to prevent teen dating violence among Honduran youth. The evaluation has demonstrated that the power of partnership and human effort is an essential and irreplaceable component of a digital solution’s success.
By Vignetta Charles, PhD | December 2, 2019
Chief Executive Officer, ETR
Sunday, December 1, 2019, marked the 31st observance of World AIDS Day. The theme for 2019 is “Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Community by Community.” This feels especially appropriate since we have been developing community-driven responses from the beginning. While reflecting on the nearly four decades of the HIV pandemic, ETR started looking back at our response since the earliest reported cases. Check out this retrospective of ETR’s history developing some of the nation's leading HIV education, training and research.
By Vignetta Charles, PhD | November 26, 2019
Chief Executive Officer, ETR
I’m grateful every year for the opportunity to share ETR’s science-based practice of expressing gratitude. This year, I’m especially thankful for living our values of centering equity. This includes the continued efforts of aligning our work with the Health Equity Framework. It also includes our internal work to center racial equity in our lives and our workplace.
By ETR | November 22, 2019
Angela Cesaro likes problem-solving. “I’m a puzzle person. I like to take things apart, see how they work, put them back together.” But with product management, “there’s no picture on the box that tells you what you’re supposed to do—it’s a lot of hard, creative work to figure it all out.” As the Director of Product Development at ETR, Angela regularly works on puzzles large and small.
By Laura Perkins, MLS | October 23, 2019
Project Editor, ETR
What happens when you have a problem with a condom? Are there some ways to prevent condoms from slipping or breaking in the first place? Is there anything you can do if you’re worried about getting pregnant or getting an STD? Where are the instructions for that?
By Elizabeth Jarpe-Ratner, PhD, MPH, MST | October 16, 2019
Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health
Many prominent sex education advocates and organizations, including Advocates for Youth and ETR, have called for sex education that is inclusive of LGBTQ+ identities. We know that LGBTQ+ students in schools with inclusive curricula are more likely to report a greater sense of belonging in school as well as a lower risk of depression.
A recent study in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) aimed to examine how a program designed to be inclusive was being experienced by young people, what additional supports are needed by teachers, and what steps can be taken to ensure all students experience sexual health education as inclusive of LGBTQ+ identities.
By Danae Verba, BS, SWA | October 9, 2019
REACH Coordinator, LSS Independent Living Services
Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota (LSS), through a partnership with the South Dakota Department of Health, offers a complete range of sexual health education services to communities across the state of South Dakota. I have the amazing opportunity to be one of the individuals that coordinates this work. SRAE, or Sexual Risk Avoidance Education, is the federal designation for abstinence-based education programs, and PREP, or Personal Responsibility Education Program, is the federal designation for programs that cover both abstinence and contraception. At LSS, we see SRAE and PREP as partners, not competitors.
By Cara Silva, MPH | October 1, 2019
Director of Programs, ETR's YTH Initiative
Digital communication has disrupted the ways we socialize, communicate, and—let’s face it—how we function. Gone are the days where a check-in with a friend was a knock at the door or a telephone call. It’s now likely a quick text or a thumbs-up “like” on a social media post. This new way of communicating has also contributed to how we meet, flirt, and date people to whom we are attracted. Youth in particular are turning to online spaces to build community and explore sexual relationships, particularly in regions where access to peers is limited.
By Jennifer Geisler | September 24, 2019
Program Coordinator, ETR
Tobacco prevention in Indian Country is different. Every tribe is unique, and programs need to be tailored tribe by tribe. California has 109 tribal nations, so keeping programs relevant to each tribe is a big task. Respect for elders and commitment to youth play a vital role in any of our tobacco-related messaging. It is also important to acknowledge and honor the role of sacred tobacco in tribal life.
In California, we have an exciting new state tobacco prevention grant that addresses these issues.
By Vignetta Charles, PhD | September 17, 2019
Elizabeth Taylor started her AIDS activism in the late 1980’s. She was watching friends fall tragically ill from a preventable disease, and she wasn’t seeing an appropriate response. She leveraged her celebrity and her fierce determination and took action.
I actually have something in common with Elizabeth Taylor.
By Pamela Anderson, PhD | September 12, 2019
Senior Research Associate, ETR
I literally love this book! I think everyone should read it. Shafia Zaloom is offering a unique new resource, and it’s fabulous.
I’m a developmental psychologist and researcher specializing in adolescent romantic relationships. That means I’ve seen plenty of books for parents and educators on how to have conversations with teens about sex and relationships. There are some great resources out there—and this is one of my new favorites for a number of reasons.
By Shafia Zaloom | Setpember 10, 2019
Health Educator, Urban School, San Francisco
When talking about sexuality with adolescents, it's often easier to get the message across when you take the sex out of it. This is counterintuitive, I know. So here’s a story, a classroom activity and some examples of classroom discussions with my class that explain the concept.
By Suzanne Schrag | September 5, 2019
Editor/Project Manager, ETR
An insight from a recent training: I’ve been writing a series of blog posts on the key skills for health literacy outlined in the National Health Education Standards (NHES). I’ve looked at how ETR’s HealthSmart program addresses six of these skills: Analyzing Influences, Accessing Resources, Interpersonal Communication, Decision Making, Goal Setting and Advocacy.
But, for some reason, a post around skill number seven—Practicing Health-Enhancing Behaviors—has been harder for me to conceptualize and write. A recent experience suddenly gave me a new perspective on how to think and talk about this important component of a comprehensive health education program.
By Chloe Sorensen | September 3, 2019
Founder, Youth United for Responsible Media Representation
When I was a student at Gunn High School in Palo Alto, there was a youth suicide cluster in our community. By the time I graduated, I had lost five of my peers, including a close friend. Overwhelmed by grief and fear and unsure of how to move forward, I sought a way to channel my pain into action.
Halfway through my sophomore year, I found myself speaking at school board meetings and in other forums, advocating for the needs of students.
By Taryn Gal, MPH, CPH, CHES and Brittany Batell, MPH, MSW | August 28, 2019
Executive Director (TG) and Program and Engagement Manager (BB), MOASH
There has been an amazing push for greater inclusivity in sex education in recent years. The field offers programs that are more inclusive for LGBTQ+ youth, for survivors of trauma, and for youth with learning differences or developmental disabilities. We make these efforts because we are committed to creating a learning environment where all identities and choices are honored.
That’s why it’s also important for us to be sure we are creating welcoming, inclusive and effective sexuality education for expectant and parenting youth (EPY).
By ETR | August 21, 2019
David Torres is one of ETR’s great data wranglers. This means he spends a lot of his time making sure the raw data collected on his projects is clean and consistent before running analyses on it. “That’s actually about 80% of my work on a project,” he explains. “The analysis is the fun part, but the cleaning is the most important. If you start with inaccurate data, you get inaccurate interpretations.”
By Leslie Ferreira, MPA | August 14, 2019
Training and Outreach Manager, ETR
You’ve heard the adage, “Youth are leaders of tomorrow.” But truthfully, young people are leaders today. Our youth are stepping into their power like never before and demanding the space to make their voices heard. As adults, it’s our responsibility—and our privilege—to seek, validate and lift their voices in tangible and genuine ways.