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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.)

School Report: Why Peer Support Is Better Than Watching Your Own Back
March 9, 2016

School Report: Why Peer Support Is Better Than Watching Your Own Back

By John Henry Ledwith  | March 9, 2016
Senior Sales Manager, ETR

I am a lucky man. I get to work with school health educators all over this fine country. That means I get to see some of the most inspired, inventive, dedicated work being done anywhere in the world. It’s work that has the potential to make a huge difference in the lives of kids and across communities.

Almost every day, I engage with people looking at how we can build communities that offer support to guide adolescents toward healthy choices. I often think about the force of peer groups as a social determinant of health. I’m fascinated by the power of peers to influence one another’s health, safety and future. Like most of my colleagues, I’m always asking how health educators can most effectively shape positive peer group values and norms.

And, like most of my colleagues, I also have concerns about the ways peer norms and values sometimes have negative effects.

By John Henry Ledwith
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Tags: K-12, Health education, Violence prevention, HealthSmart
Understanding the Latest Research Findings: How to Be a Critical Interpreter of Health Information
March 7, 2016

Understanding the Latest Research Findings: How to Be a Critical Interpreter of Health Information

By Elizabeth McDade-Montez, PhD | March 7, 2015
Senior Research Associate, ETR

We come across lots of health-related research findings reported in the news these days. Frankly, some of it is perplexing.

You may have heard the CDC’s recent recommendations that any young woman not on birth control should refrain from consuming alcohol. Perhaps you also saw some of the outraged reactions from social commentators.

Maybe you read about the classic psychology studies that weren’t replicated in recent research. Or the range of rumors flying around about Zika virus. And are you still hearing rumors online or from peers suggesting childhood vaccinations aren’t safe?

How does an informed reader sift through this constant stream of health information? When we are puzzled ourselves, how can health providers and educators support patients and clients trying to make sense of conflicting or suspect reports? What references can we trust when we endeavor to inform ourselves or support and guide others? 

By Elizabeth McDade-Montez
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Tags: Research, Patient education, Health education
National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS: What Will You Do?
March 4, 2016

National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS: What Will You Do?

By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | March 4, 2016
Senior Editor, ETR

March 6-13 is the National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS. This is a commemorative week that brings national attention to the HIV epidemic and the “extraordinary role faith communities can and are playing” in HIV prevention, education, service and advocacy.

Reflecting on this year’s National Week of Prayer, I was reminded of a young man named Neal who attended one of the groups I facilitated in the early days of the AIDS epidemic. I was working for an AIDS and mental health program in San Francisco.

Neal had come to the group seeking support. His lover had recently died of AIDS. “My partner came from a very religious family,” Neal told the group. 

By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES
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Tags: HIV-AIDS, AIDS, Spirituality, Faith communities
Facilitation Quick Tips: The Quiz Review
March 2, 2016

Facilitation Quick Tips: The Quiz Review

By Michael T. Everett, MHS | March 2, 2016
Project Director, ETR

This activity uses a participatory quiz to reinforce knowledge and learning. Teams develop quiz questions, then try to answer each others’ questions. Keep score. The team that knows the most wins!

By Michael T. Everett
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Tags: Training design, Professional development, Community Impact Solutions Project
Honoring Bob Keet
February 29, 2016

Honoring Bob Keet

By Daniel McCormick, MHA | February 29, 2016
Chief Executive Officer, ETR

ETR is a lucky nonprofit, for all kinds of reasons. One of them is embodied in the character of a single individual—Robert Keet, MD. This man has been a continuously active—and consistently dynamic—member of ETR’s Board for the past 35 years.

Think about that for a moment. What were you doing 35 years ago? How many of those things are you still doing today? With the same people or organization? Especially commitments that involve obligations such as weekend-long meetings where you review finance reports, business plans, performance data, legal issues and strategic goals?

Yes, it takes a special person to do this kind of voluntary work. And it takes an extraordinary person to do so for one organization over such a span of time.

By Daniel McCormick
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Tags: ETR
Kirby Summit Takes Off!
February 25, 2016

Kirby Summit Takes Off!

By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | February 25, 2016
Senior Editor, ETR

ETR’s inaugural Kirby Summit has started. While it’s not entirely clear what’s going to come out of this two-day event, I am certain it’s going to be powerful and different.

The Summit honors Doug Kirby, one of the greatest researchers the field of sexual and reproductive health has ever seen. Doug was also a senior research scientist here at ETR before his untimely death in 2012, and a colleague and true friend to many of us.

Doug had an insatiable curiosity and a love of civil debate. He’d certainly approve of this Summit! 

By Marcia Quackenbush MS, MFT, MCHES
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Tags: Neuroscience, Sexual and reproductive health
State of the Art Professional Development: Are Your Learning Objectives on Track?
February 23, 2016

State of the Art Professional Development: Are Your Learning Objectives on Track?

By Tracy Wright, MAED | February 23, 2016
Project Director, ETR

Writing clear, measurable, achievable objectives that guide your training design is a critical part of good professional development. I call these healthy objectives. But creating them can be a bit tricky. In fact, in our Training of Trainer programs, we often find that writing healthy objectives is one of the skill areas where participants most need support.

Fortunately, there’s a wealth of information out there. Anyone with an Internet connection can discover exactly what objectives are, how to write them and how to share them with learners.

And, unfortunately, there’s a plethora of information out there. Anyone with an Internet connection can find dozens of different opinions about what objectives are, how to write them and how to share them with learners.

In other words, it’s difficult to find clear consensus on the what, why and how of learning objectives.

By Tracy Wright, MAED
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Tags: Professional development, Training design, Learning objectives
Now in Spanish--Using PrEP to Prevent HIV
February 18, 2016

Now in Spanish – Using PrEP to Prevent HIV

By Laura Perkins, MLS | February 18, 2016
Project Editor, ETR

The Hispanic/Latino community is disproportionately affected by HIV. In 2013, Hispanics/Latinos accounted for 21% of the estimated new diagnoses of HIV infection in the U.S., despite representing about 17% of the total population.

We recently reported how pleased we are that ETR has a new pamphlet on PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) to prevent HIV. Well, now we're especially thrilled to offer our new title on PrEP in Spanish.

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Tags: HIV-AIDS, HIV, PrEP, Community Impact Solutions Project
Embracing 12 Grand Challenges for Social Work to Transform Schools & Communities
February 16, 2016

Embracing 12 Grand Challenges for Social Work to Transform Schools & Communities

By John Shields, PhD, MSW | February 16, 2016
Senior Research Associate, ETR

Last month, I attended the annual conference of the Society for Social Work & Research (SSWR) in Washington, DC. I saw some dear old friends and colleagues, attended a few lavish university receptions (free crab cakes, anyone?), and heard some great presentations on new science in the field of social work. But one session stands out—the launch of the Grand Challenges for Social Work Initiative.

Dr. Richard Barth, distinguished professor and researcher, and president of the American Academy of Social Work & Social Welfare, gave an inspiring speech to launch the Initiative. He challenged social workers in all their forms (students, practitioners, educators, and researchers) to power up the impact of their work through the proven strategies of our field.

By John Shields, PhD, MSW
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Tags: Research, Evaluation, Big data, K-12, Technology
School Report: Planning for Unique Solutions
February 11, 2016

School Report: Planning for Unique Solutions

By John Henry Ledwith | February 11, 2016
Senior Sales Manager, ETR

It’s that time of year again. Early spring. Budget planning. Curriculum review committees. Educators at every level taking a look at what they’ve been doing and wondering if it’s time to try something new to reach their students more effectively.

As schools and districts make their projections and plans for the 2016-17 school year, the ETR crew starts to get calls from people all over the country. (After all, we’re the leading distributor of evidence-based prevention programs, as well as the publisher of the premiere comprehensive health program HealthSmart.)

The truth is, I never know exactly what questions will come up. 

By John Henry Ledwith
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Tags: K-12, HealthSmart, HECAT, NHES
Training Educators and Service Providers on Transgender Issues
February 8, 2016

Training Educators and Service Providers on Transgender Issues

By Luca Maurer, MS, CSE, CFLE | February 8, 2016
Director, The Center for LGBT Education, Outreach & Services at Ithaca College

Transgender people are in our families, our communities, our workplaces, our faith communities and our schools. They are part of the fabric of our society. Yet stigma and discrimination can make it extraordinarily difficult for transgender people to make their way in the world, and for everyone to learn accurate information about the lives and experiences of transgender people.

Professional development and training can play a vital role in preparing educators and providers to offer the best possible services to transgender people. By extension, better services can be offered to their families, and, ultimately to entire communities and our society as a whole. Training can also prepare us to be more effective in our professional (and often our personal) roles.

The effort is well worth it! 

Luca Maurer is the coauthor, along with Eli R. Green, PhD, of The Teaching Transgender Toolkit, a collection of resources and lesson plans for teaching transgender-related information to a variety of audiences, including high school and college students, educational professionals, medical and social service providers, community groups and faith communities. The toolkit enables facilitators and trainers to provide the most accurate and effective practical training, toward the goal of increasing awareness, empathy and skills.

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Tags: LGBTQ, Professional development, Transgender issues
Creating Spaces for Meaningful Intergenerational Conversations in Black Communities: M-I-S-Communication
February 4, 2016

Creating Spaces for Meaningful Intergenerational Conversations in Black Communities: M-I-S-Communication

By Aunsha Hall-Everett, MA | February 4, 2016
Executive Director, REACH LA

Throughout my time working with young people, I have had the opportunity to witness amazing conversations. I recently spoke with a group of young Black gay men (ages 16-19) about some of the sexual health and health promotion efforts we are building.

Hearing them share their experiences gave me two “ah ha” moments. First, I’m getting old. Second, we need to improve intergenerational relationships and build better communication between younger and older adults.

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Tags: HIV-AIDS, Community Impact Solutions Project, HIV, Communication, Community voices
Quick! Free! Updated! Graphics for Your Trainings & Presentations
February 2, 2016

Quick! Free! Updated! Graphics for Your Trainings & Presentations

By Tracy Wright, MAED | February 2, 2016
Project Director, ETR

In 2015, I wrote a post about finding cheap or free graphics for trainings and presentations. However, like many things in our work—and everything related to technology—change has happened at a meteoric pace. Since that first post, many more new graphics sites have been born.

Some of you may be thinking (with an excited tone), “Wow! That’s great! Now I have more to choose from!”

And you’d be right, of course. More sites means more photos.

However, others of you may be thinking (with a less-than excited tone), “No! Now I have even more sites I need to search through endlessly, trying to find the perfect image for my presentation.”

And you’d be right too, of course. 

By Tracy Wright, MAED
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Tags: Professional development, Training design, Graphics, E-learning
"You stabilize the clients, you stabilize their HIV"--Boosting Engagement Across the HIV Care Continuum
February 1, 2016

"You stabilize the clients, you stabilize their HIV"--Boosting Engagement Across the HIV Care Continuum

By Cathy Maulsby, PhD, MPH & Kriti M. Jain, MSPH | February 1, 2016
Assistant Scientist & Doctoral Student, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

We’ve traveled a great distance in the fight against HIV since it first appeared in the 1980s. After decades of activism, research, and the development of effective medications, HIV is a manageable chronic disease for many. In fact, in the U.S., the average life expectancy for people living with HIV (PLWH) is inching towards that of all Americans. However, we still have much further to go to end HIV.

Today, around 1.2 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV, and certain populations (such as gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, Black women and men, Latino men and women, people who inject drugs, youth aged 13 to 24, and transgender women) are disproportionately affected by the disease. Out of the 1.2 million PLWH in the country, too many lack access to ART—the lifesaving medications that reduce HIV transmission by lowering the level of virus in the blood (viral suppression).

ETR's Chief Science Officer, Vignetta Charles, PhD, was a contributing author to the new publication Improving Access to HIV Care: Lessons from Five U.S. Sites. Cathy Maulsby and Kriti M. Jain, who penned this post, are also authors. Find more information about the book here.
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Tags: HIV-AIDS, HIV, Retention, HIV treatment
Women & STEM: College Vs. Coding Boot Camps
January 28, 2016

Women & STEM: College Vs. Coding Boot Camps

By Louise Ann Lyon, PhD | January 28, 2016
Senior Research Associate, ETR

All my family, friends and colleagues know I’m a researcher interested in diversifying STEM. This means that I’m constantly receiving articles from them about all kinds of efforts being made to entice more girls/women and minorities to study or work in STEM fields—computer science in particular, as that has been my focus.

By Louise Ann Lyon, PhD
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Tags: STEM, Diversity in technology
Facilitation Quick Tips: Board of Ideas
January 26, 2016

Facilitation Quick Tips: Board of Ideas

By Regina Firpo, MPH, CNC, MCHES | January 26, 2015
Director of Innovations, ETR

This is a group activity that can be used for reflection, idea generation, problem-solving, consensus-building and affirmation. It can also provide a nice change of pace for the group’s energy because it is both silent and physically active.

I learned this activity from Mary Harthun, a master educator at Arizona State University. I’ve used it many times in trainings and in day-long workgroup meetings, with both adults and youth. It allows participants to reflect, share and construct a compilation of what they’ve learned. 

By Regina Firpo, MPH, CNC, MCHES
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Tags: Training design, Virtual trainings, Adult learning
Grad Students Interested in Sexual & Reproductive Health: Apply for ETR's Kirby Summer Internship!
January 25, 2016

Grad Students Interested in Sexual & Reproductive Health: Apply for ETR's Kirby Summer Internship!

By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | January 25, 2015
Senior Editor, ETR

One of my favorite things about ETR’s research staff is that everyone who is a part of the team is committed to mentorship. My colleagues understand that we cannot continue to advance the fields of health research and sexual and reproductive health without an effectively-trained cadre of new professionals joining our efforts.

ETR’s Kirby Summer Internship is the embodiment of that value. It is named after one of the premiere researchers in the field, Douglas Kirby, who, before his death in 2012, was a senior research scientist at ETR. Doug was also one of my favorite people ever. He would have fully approved of this internship program.

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Tags: Kirby internship, Mentoring
HIV & AIDS: Our Free Fundamentals Course Fills the Gap
January 21, 2016

HIV & AIDS: Our Free Fundamentals Course Fills the Gap

By BA Laris, MPH | January 21, 2015
Research Associate, ETR

People are talking about HIV and AIDS. You hear it, see it, Google it. Yep. There is a lot of talk.

But are people listening?

At ETR’s Community Impact Solutions Project (CISP), we believe members of the HIV prevention workforce are a vital part of this HIV and AIDS conversation. They need and deserve state of the art training to understand the many changing aspects of HIV and AIDS to help protect themselves, the community and families, friends, and partners.

Check out our free HIV Fundamentals E-Learning course here. Intended for frontline staff, outreach workers, case managers, prevention educators, patient navigators, peer leaders and program managers working in HIV prevention and care. Also appropriate for administrators, board members, consumer advisory board members, volunteers or staff members of CBOs and ASOs.
By B. A. Laris, MPH
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Tags: HIV-AIDS, HIV, Online learning, Community Impact Solutions Project
Off to the White House: The MBK STEM+ Meeting
January 19, 2016

Off to the White House: The MBK STEM+ Meeting

By Jill Denner, PhD | January 19, 2016
Senior Research Scientist, ETR

On December 14, 2015, I had the privilege of attending a meeting on the grounds of the White House called MBK STEM+. The meeting was part of President Obama’s initiative called My Brother’s Keeper, which aims to mobilize education and career training resources for disadvantaged young people.

The focus of this particular meeting was to add STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to the MBK initiative, specifically creating opportunities for young people of color to pursue innovation and entrepreneurship in STEM fields. The goal was to build connections across organizations and individuals working in this space by identifying needs and resources.

The room was filled with about 80 people, many working at organizations actively involved in providing STEM preparation and training for young people across the country.

By Jill Denner, PhD
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Tags: Diversity in technology, STEM
Including LGBTQ Youth in Pregnancy Prevention: Why It Matters
January 13, 2016

Including LGBTQ Youth in Pregnancy Prevention: Why It Matters

By Karen Stradford, LCSW, & Madeline Travers, MPH | January 13, 2016
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

The teen pregnancy rate in the United States is one of the highest in industrialized nations. New York City has one of the higher pregnancy rates in the country. The borough of the Bronx has a rate 45% higher than the national rate (61.7 per 1,000 females aged 15-19 years), with approximately 9% of teens (15-19 years old) becoming pregnant. At the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, our work is to address the disproportionally higher rate of teen pregnancy in certain neighborhoods.

So how do LGBTQ youth fit into this picture?

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Tags: LGBTQ youth, Evidence-based interventions, Reducing the Risk, High school, Sex education, Transgender issues