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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.)

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
Supporting Child Survivors of Line-of-Duty Deaths
March 24, 2016

Supporting Child Survivors of Line-of-Duty Deaths

By David Schonfeld, MD, FAAP & Mary Cortes-Benjamin, MS, MS Ed | March 24, 2016
National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement & Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS)

Across the United States, some 800,000-900,000 sworn law enforcement personnel are on active duty. Over 100 die each year in line-of-duty deaths. Each one of those deaths affects family, friends, community and colleagues. In fact, when a police officer is killed, this death touches not just the immediate family, but potentially every family of every police officer throughout that community. The children in these families are students in virtually all of our K-12 schools.

We have written previously about the surprisingly common experience of grief in children’s lives. Over the course of their years in school, 9 in 10 children will experience the death of a family member or close friend. One in 20 will lose a parent.

Children who have lost a family member through a line-of-duty death face some unique challenges. Two organizations, the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement and Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS), recently embarked on a partnership to explore ways to adapt and extend the general guidance about children and grief. We wanted to build on that foundation to speak to the unique processes and issues for child survivors of police officers killed in the line of duty.

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Tags: K-12, Grief, Police, Teachers
Women Are Teaching Themselves Coding--And What Does the Research Say About That?
March 22, 2016

Women Are Teaching Themselves Coding--And What Does the Research Say About That?

By Louise Ann Lyon, PhD | March 22, 2016
Senior Research Associate, ETR

My research here at ETR looks at how women are learning computer science skills. I’ve written previously about some of the challenges facing women studying computer science in colleges or pursuing learning through coding boot camps. I find it exciting and intriguing that women in the workforce are now teaching themselves to write computer code. They’re creating their own female-only groups to help themselves learn.

By Louise Ann Lyon, PhD
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Tags: Technology education, STEM, Diversity in technology
Hear Indigenous Voices: National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
March 16, 2016

Hear Indigenous Voices: National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

By Pamela Jumper Thurman, PhD | March 16, 2016
Director, National Center for Community Readiness at Colorado State University

What will you be doing on the spring equinox this year? Like many others in American Native communities, on March 20, I will be honoring National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NNHAAD). This is an important day, both because of its history and because of what it reflects about the fight against HIV in Native communities today.

Indigenous peoples in the United States—American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders—have a long history of being treated as invisible by the general culture. This was true in the early times of this nation, and it was true in the early days of the AIDS epidemic. Sadly, this is continuing, even today. The risks for our people have not been accurately documented, and education for our communities has been inadequate.

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Tags: National Native HIV-AIDS Awareness Day, HIV-AIDS, HIV, Community Impact Solutions Project
Mentors & Lessons: Moving the School Health Agenda Forward
March 14, 2016

Mentors & Lessons: Moving the School Health Agenda Forward

By Laura Kann, PhD | March 14, 2016
Chief, School-Based Surveillance Branch, CDC

Editor’s note: Last fall, Laura Kann was presented with the William A. Howe award at the American School Health Association (ASHA) annual meeting—their highest honor. In her acceptance speech, she shares some fascinating inside information on how our current school surveillance systems were developed. She also offers three lessons that can help us all be more successful in our work in school health.

Thank you. This is truly an honor and I am very grateful to ASHA for recognizing me in this way. I know that a lot of important people in our school health world have won this award in the past and I’m honored to stand where they have stood.

There are a couple of things I need to do while I have the podium. The first thing is to thank a whole bunch of people. You can’t win an award like this without a tremendous amount of support, and it is all the people who have supported me who are really the recipients of this award.

I'd also like to share a few of the lessons I’ve learned over the years at CDC. 

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Tags: School health, K-12, CDC, YRBS
Wonder Woman Says: Fight for Justice on National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
March 10, 2016

Wonder Woman Says: Fight for Justice on National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

By Vignetta Charles, PhD | March 10, 2016
Chief Science Officer, ETR

My Facebook feed was filled with wonderful images on International Women’s Day (March 8). I’m a huge fan of Wonder Woman, so I was especially thrilled with the many images of this iconic figure who fights for justice for all. And today, only two days later, we celebrate National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

I believe Wonder Woman would be proud of the strides we’ve made to reduce the number of new HIV infections in women, especially for African-American women. This should be celebrated. And I do celebrate that. I’m especially proud of some of the amazing HIV prevention efforts that ETR has developed and/or implemented over the past three decades to contribute to this success.

But I also see that Wonder Woman still has a lot of fighting to do. 

By Vignetta Charles, PhD
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Tags: HIV-AIDS, HIV, NWGHAAD, Violence prevention, Intersectionality, Community Impact Solutions Project
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