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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.)

Looking to the Future: Educational Research and AERA16
May 25, 2016

Looking to the Future: Educational Research and AERA16

By Julie Adams | May 25, 2016
Research Assistant, ETR

The 2016 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting was held in Washington, DC last month. It marked the 100th anniversary of education researchers meeting to talk about current issues in education, research and policy. As a first-time attendee, I was inspired to see so many people gather in one place, all dedicated to improving the future of education.

I’ve been reflecting on the information shared by some of the most notable researchers in the field over the course of those five exciting days. Here are three ideas I believe are essential to keep in mind as I continue my career in research.

By Julie Adams
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Tags: Research, Education research, Diversity in technology, Computer science education
Say It With Research: 4 Ways to Deliver Effective STD Messaging for Youth
May 19, 2016

Say It With Research: 4 Ways to Deliver Effective STD Messaging for Youth

By Cody Sigel, MPH, CHES | May 19, 2016
Professional Development Consultant, ETR

The history of sex education in the United States is fraught with horror stories, from fear-based tactics to blatant misinformation. Sadly, ineffective sex education is not a thing of the past. A recent CDC report shows that most middle and high schools around the country are not implementing effective approaches to sexuality education. It’s no surprise that statistics about the impact of STDs on young people are discouraging.

What’s more discouraging perhaps is that we have answers and proven effective programs and strategies that we could use to bring about positive change. When it comes to framing our messaging around STD prevention with youth, we should be using research to guide us to results!

Let’s take a look at four educational strategies educators can easily apply. Trust the science and the behavior change theories of public health and we will see a difference! 

By Cody Sigel, MPH, CHES
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Tags: STDs, STD prevention, Research, Evidence-informed interventions, Youth
Currently Reading: Thinking Outside the Binary Gender Box
May 16, 2016

Currently Reading: Thinking Outside the Binary Gender Box

By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | May 16, 2016
Senior Editor, ETR

My car rolled to a stop at a crosswalk. A young man strode across my path. Even with my tired, end-of-a-long-workday brain, I noticed his confident bearing. He stared ahead, eyes slightly narrowed. His cap was pulled low on his forehead.

And then I did a double take. The young man was actually a client in my psychotherapy practice—a young lesbian I had just seen in a session. She glanced my way, smiled and nodded, and we both moved on.

A post by Emmie Matsuno on the Psychology Benefits Society blog (American Psychological Association) brought this memory, and that client, to mind. It’s titled, “Are You a Boy or Girl? No: Living Outside the Gender Binary.”

By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES
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Tags: LGBTQ, Gender fluid, Transgender issues
How Teachers Changed My Kids’ Lives
May 12, 2016

How Teachers Changed My Kids’ Lives

By John Henry Ledwith | May 12, 2016
Senior Sales Manager, ETR

It’s springtime! Birds are singing, flowers are blooming, kids are dreaming of summer vacation. And teachers? They’re already planning for next year’s classes and curricula.

Yes, lots of people are looking forward at this moment. But I find I’m actually reflecting back on years past. My wife and I have raised two wonderful sons. Both are about to graduate from college this June. As they finish up their undergraduate education, I’m feeling particularly grateful for the dedication and creativity of the K-12 teachers who reached out, gave them a hand and helped them succeed.

My kids are utterly distinct individuals who learn in wildly different ways. If you ever wanted a real-world example of Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, spend a little time with the Ledwith boys.

By John Henry Ledwith
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Tags: K-12, Teachers, Gratitude, Learning styles
New Research: Keys to Understanding Adolescent Romantic Relationships
May 9, 2016

New Research: Keys to Understanding Adolescent Romantic Relationships

By Thao Ha, PhD | May 9, 2016
Assistant Research Professor, Arizona State University

Know any teens who’ve fallen in love lately? Chances are that you do. Most teenagers have been in love or have been involved in a serious romantic relationship by age 18 (Carver, Joyner & Udry). While teens often do not share their romantic experiences with adults, those of us working with adolescents—educators, health providers, researchers, community workers—need the best understanding possible of young people’s romantic relationships. Specific points before, during and after a relationship can create vulnerabilities in adolescents’ lives.

Romantic relationships offer teens wonderful opportunities to pursue some positive developmental tasks. But when things go wrong in a teen’s relationship, there is a potential to trigger a range of problems. These moments may also offer adults an entry into adolescents’ world at a time when our support can be invaluable. 

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Tags: Romantic relationships, Adolescents, Mental health, Risk reduction
Reprise: Social Justice, Technology and Meaning
May 5, 2016

Reprise: Social Justice, Technology and Meaning

By Yethzell Diaz | May 5, 2016 (first published April 17, 2014)
Education Manager, Digital Nest

Editor's note: In 2014, when Yethzell Diaz was a Research Assistant here at ETR, she wrote this column about technology and social justice. Recently, she accepted a position at Digital Nest. This seemed a perfect moment to re-post one of our favorite contributions to the ETR Blog. Thanks, Yethzell, for all the fine work you did for ETR, and best of luck over at the Nest! 

First, let me be clear about something. I am not a techie. At all. The first time I interacted with a computer was probably in seventh grade. Technology stuff was completely foreign to me. My family and friends didn’t know about it. And there wasn’t someone we could turn to for guidance.

I did, however, become a student at University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), majoring in sociology, and at one point I desperately needed to get into a popular class. A hundred students were competing for ten open spots. How was I going to swing it?

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Tags: Diversity in technology, Research, Technology, Social justice
How One School Is Creating a Gender-Inclusive Environment: A Parent's Perspective
May 3, 2016

How One School Is Creating a Gender-Inclusive Environment: A Parent's Perspective

By Laura Norvig, MLIS | May 3, 2016
Digital Media Strategies, ETR

During my first 12 years at ETR, I worked on a project that had little to do with sexual and reproductive health. Still, ETR being an organization that does a lot of work in that field, I got used to seeing things around the office such as a box full of wooden condom demonstrators (i.e., penis models), or a giant drawing of an anatomically correct vulva on a designer’s computer screen.

Since ETR started blogging, I’ve really enjoyed reading more about the work my colleagues and our partners do. Michael Everett’s deeply thoughtful piece about Black men who have sex with men and who also happen to be HIV service providers was a window into a new world. Luca Maurer’s post about training educators and service providers on transgender issues opened my eyes to a very real problem: “traditional approaches in education and service provision have rarely incorporated strategies that include or affirm transgender people.”

Sometimes, though, I feel I just don’t know enough about some of the populations ETR’s materials and trainings are designed to help. Hey, I’m a cisgender over-fifty mom. Like a lot of people in this country, I get most of my impressions of transgender people from fictional and reality TV shows like I Am Cait, I Am Jazz, and Transparent.

By Laura Norvig
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Tags: K-12, School health, Gender, Transgender issues, Parents
WILLOW Women on the HIV Front Lines, Part 4: Vanessa Johnson
April 28, 2016

WILLOW Women on the HIV Front Lines, Part 4: Vanessa Johnson

By Vanessa Johnson, JD, with Jacqueline Peters | April 28, 2016
Director, Ribbon Consulting Group

Jacqueline Peters: This is the fourth in a series of posts about women who have chosen to become trainers and facilitators for the CDC’s WILLOW program. I hope you’ll take a look at Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 as well. These women are inspiring!

Vanessa Johnson: My personal fight with HIV is tied to the loss of family members, friends and co-workers in the 25 years since I was first diagnosed myself. It is in their memory, and because of my own motivation to live the best life I can, that I am involved in the field. My journey has taken me beyond the disease itself. I am exploring and advocating for the essential services we need to keep our communities disease-free and offer protections for people who are still severely stigmatized.

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Tags: Womens Health, HIV-AIDS, WILLOW program, HIV, Community Impact Solutions Project
WILLOW Women on the HIV Front Lines, Part 3: Tina Murphy
April 27, 2016

WILLOW Women on the HIV Front Lines, Part 3: Tina Murphy

By Christina Murphy, with Jacqueline Peters | April 27, 2016
HIV Navigator, Indigenous Peoples Task Force

Jacqueline Peters: In Part 1 of this blog post, I described some of my experiences as a trainer for the WILLOW training of facilitators in Atlanta. In Part 2, I asked Alesia Miller to share some of her thoughts about the experience and the program. Today we hear from another participant, Tina Murphy.

Christina Murphy: It has always been my passion and calling to be in the service of helping others, in all communities, especially in our communities of color. I care deeply about the ongoing health disparities and social justice issues we all continue to face. My journey started with Tobacco Prevention/Cessation. It continues to build on that foundation, and now I am doing HIV prevention work.

By Jacqueline Peters
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Tags: Womens Health, HIV-AIDS, HIV, WILLOW program, CDC, Community Impact Solutions Project
Facilitation Quick Tips: Good News Headlines
April 25, 2016

Facilitation Quick Tips: Good News Headlines

By Tracy Wright, MAED | April 25, 2016
Project Director, ETR

Celebrating is good! It’s not something we need to save for the end of a professional development (PD) session, meeting or project. Starting PD or a meeting off by reflecting upon and celebrating incremental accomplishments is a great way to energize the group and honor the hard work that’s been done.

I’m always looking for something new and different to do during PD sessions, whether live in-person or live virtual. This activity is a modification based upon the activity titled “Good News Graffiti” from the work of Dr. Roger Greenaway and his website on active reviewing.     

By Tracy Wright, MAED
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Tags: Professional development, Training design, Facilitation Quick Tips
WILLOW Women on the HIV Front Lines, Part 2: Alesia
April 22, 2016

WILLOW Women on the HIV Front Lines, Part 2: Alesia

By Alesia Miller with Jacqueline Peters | April 22, 2016
Willow Leader, Empower U & Trainer, ETR

Jacqueline Peters: In Part 1 of this blog post, I described some of my experiences as a trainer for the WILLOW training of facilitators in Atlanta. I asked one of the participants, Alesia Miller, to share some of her thoughts about the experience and the program.

Alesia Miller: My motivation to be a WILLOW leader has changed from the beginning up to now. As I continue along in this process, I've experineced the changes of how this disease is experienced by the newly diagnosed versus the long term survivors.

By Jacqueline Peters
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Tags: HIV-AIDS, HIV, WILLOW program, Community Impact Solutions Project
WILLOW Women On the HIV Front Lines
April 21, 2016

WILLOW Women On the HIV Front Lines

By Jacqueline Peters | April 21, 2016
Logistics Specialist & WILLOW Trainer, ETR

I am an excited and fortunate woman. I recently completed the process to become a Certified Trainer for the WILLOW program. I’m meeting some incredible people and being given the opportunity to make a genuine difference in the HIV prevention effort. And after my experiences so far, I know one thing for certain. In WILLOW, people have stories to tell. 

By Jacqueline Peters
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Tags: HIV-AIDS, Community Impact Solutions Project, HIV, Women, WILLOW, Training of trainers
Diversity in Computer Science? We Need to Look at Institutional Barriers to Getting a Degree
April 19, 2016

Diversity in Computer Science? We Need to Look at Institutional Barriers to Getting a Degree

By Louise Ann Lyon, PhD | April 19, 2016
Senior Research Associate, ETR

Getting a degree in computer science can be tough. In the name of “rigor,” computer science and related fields have established a structured hierarchy of course prerequisites. These need to be taken in a specific sequence. Often, however, the necessary classes aren’t offered every term. This situation forces college students to plan their schedules carefully or risk being delayed in their education.

I have sat in on many faculty meetings watching heated debates about how much math, science and computer science should be required of college graduates claiming a computer science major. But what are the implications of these decisions for who persists in computer science? And how much of this is truly necessary to prepare students for the current workplace versus simply keeping things the way they have always been?

Or, as I have been asking lately, is this about maintaining “rigor,” or just keeping out the “riff raff”?

By Louise Ann Lyon, PhD
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Tags: Diversity in technology, STEM, Computer science education
Parent Power: Get Sex Ed Out of the Closet!
April 14, 2016

Parent Power: Get Sex Ed Out of the Closet!

By Barb Flis | April 14, 2016
Founder, Parent Action for Healthy Kids

Are parents resisting comprehensive sex education in our schools? They’re certainly taking the rap for this. I still wonder why this is so when the polar opposite is true—parents are far more likely to be allies and advocates.

Too often, when it comes to sex ed, we fear parents rather than embrace them. I’d like to suggest a re-frame. Parents can be powerful people when we need support for effective sex education in schools. 

By Barb Flis
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Tags: K-12, Parents, Sex education
Real-World Health Education: Putting the 15 Characteristics to Work
April 11, 2016

Real-World Health Education: Putting the 15 Characteristics to Work

By Susan Telljohann, HSD, CHES | April 11, 2016
Professor Emeritus, Department of Health Education, The University of Toledo

I want to talk to you about power—the power you have to influence students and support them in choosing healthy behaviors. I also want to tell you about one of the most effective tools you can use to put that power to work in the real world of your classrooms and schools.

This is a concrete, research-proven resource that educators can put to work simply, right now, to build greater success with students. And yes, as you may have guessed from the title of this post, that tool is the 15 Characteristics of An Effective Health Education Curriculum.

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Tags: K-12, School health education, Health education, 15 Characteristics of Effective Health Education
National Public Health Week 2016: Bringing Attention to Mental Health
April 7, 2016

National Public Health Week 2016: Bringing Attention to Mental Health

By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | April 7, 2016
Senior Editor, ETR

I’m one of the folks who genuinely looks forward to National Public Health Week (NPHW). I’m proud to call myself a public health nerd. I quote health statistics at dinner parties. I talk to the kids in my neighborhood about the importance of bicycle helmets and safety belts.

I’ve also got a background in mental health. Naturally, I was gratified to see President Obama bring attention to mental health in his Presidential Proclamation on NPHW. “We are striving to promote mental health as an essential component of overall health,” he states, “helping to ensure access to mental health care and services and working to prevent suicide.”

One of the most important things we can do in public health is end the stigma about depression. 

By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES
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Tags: Mental health, Public health
HIV: Let's Change What We're Doing and End This Epidemic
April 4, 2016

HIV: Let's Change What We're Doing and End This Epidemic

By Thomas Davis | April 4, 2016
HRC Youth Ambassador

I haven’t always been an outspoken young man. I learned to be outspoken when I was diagnosed with HIV.

After the counselor told me, “Your test is positive,” I didn’t know what to expect. I wanted examples. I wanted to hear stories from people like me. But there was not a lot of representation from young Black men going through this.

I thought, “Okay. I need to be the example. I am not afraid to share this.” So I started to tell my story among my friends and in my community. 

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Tags: HIV-AIDS, HIV, Community Impact Solutions Project, Youth voice, LGBTQ youth, Underrepresented youth
Celebrating National Public Health Week
April 1, 2016

Celebrating National Public Health Week

By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | April 1, 2016
Senior Editor, ETR

I love working for an organization that’s making a difference in the world of public health. And that’s one of the reasons I’m grateful to the American Public Health Association for promoting National Public Health Week (April 4-10). There’s no better way to reflect on the power and potential of this extraordinary field.

Here are a few of the public health issues that have been on the radar at ETR over the past year. We’re watching some because of impressive reductions we’ve seen in risky behaviors. Others raise intriguing challenges and questions, and we’re eager to see how these issues develop in the future.

By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES
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Tags: Public health, Health promotion
National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day: Let Our Youth Speak
March 30, 2016

National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day: Let Our Youth Speak

By Dontá Morrison | March 30, 2016
Co-Founder, 6in10.org

In honor of National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day, we need to reflect on the advances youth themselves have made in the fight against HIV. I’m an advocate who works closely with the younger generation. I’ve been privileged to hear some remarkable stories about the steps they’re taking to get the word out.

Young people I know are sharing messages about prevention. They’re talking about the importance of peers knowing their HIV status. They may have limited knowledge about the scientific aspects of the virus. Many lack the financial privilege to run a PR campaign. They still operate from a place of great passion.

It’s my belief that it is because of that passion we should take note of their tactics and incorporate them into our efforts.

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Tags: HIV-AIDS, HIV, Community Impact Solutions Project, NYHAAD, Youth voice, Underrepresented youth, LGBTQ youth
Facilitation Quick Tips: Head-Heart-Feet
March 28, 2016

Facilitation Quick Tips: Head-Heart-Feet

By Teagan Drawbridge, MEd, MSW, Shira Cahan-Lipman, MEd, Jennifer Hart, MPH | March 28, 2016
Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts

This end-of-the-training activity gives participants a chance to reflect on what they’ve learned, identify key takeaways and inspire one another by sharing practical action steps they plan to take. Appropriate for in-person trainings and adaptable for live virtual events.

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Tags: Training design, Professional development