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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.)

5 Tips for Building Successful Community Partnerships in Rural Settings
January 11, 2016

5 Tips for Building Successful Community Partnerships in Rural Settings

By Amie Ashcraft, PhD, MPH | January 6, 2015
Research Manager, West Virginia University

I grew up in Bridgeport, West Virginia. We had what passed for a Mexican and a Chinese restaurant. We had a convenience store with a drive-thru where you could buy smokes, beverages and live bait—everything needed for a fishing trip.

By local standards, my town was not at all rural. There was even a shopping mall in Bridgeport. The town was not quite so small that everyone knew everyone else, but it was small enough that if you were getting into trouble, you could be sure that word would eventually get back to your parents.

It wasn’t until I got a summer job in college with Energy Express, a reading and nutrition program for children, that I experienced truly rural areas of my state—undeveloped, mountainous areas where cell phone service still doesn’t reach and access to clean water and indoor plumbing are daily challenges for some.

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Tags: Community partnerships, Rural, Teens, Sexual and reproductive health
Free Play: Emboldened by the Power
January 8, 2016

Free Play: Emboldened by the Power

By John Henry Ledwith | January 8, 2015
Senior Sales Manager, ETR

Recently I had the interesting experience of hearing Dr. Peter Gray deliver the closing keynote at the Texas State AHPERD (TAHPERD) meeting. This is an annual gathering of the Lone Star state’s physical and health education teachers.

The Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance is committed to “the development of knowledge and programs that promote active, healthy lifestyles and enhance skilled, aesthetic motor performance.”

Dr. Gray’s topic was “How Free Play Promotes Children’s Social and Emotional and Intellectual Development." He has long been sounding the alarm about the decline of play and its impact on adolescents. (The Ted Talk video below is highly recommended!)

By John Henry Ledwith
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Tags: K-12, Children, Physical education, Free play, Child development
Use Trauma-Informed Strategies to Transform Your School
January 6, 2016

Use Trauma-Informed Strategies to Transform Your School

By Alicia Rozum, MSW, PPSC | January 6, 2016
Project Director, Mental Health, California School-Based Alliance

Have you ever tried to reason with an irrational person? Generally, it’s a pretty futile endeavor. You’re processing up in your cerebral cortex, being rational and using logic. The other person is literally or figuratively placing fingers in ears and saying, “La la la la la. I can’t hear you.”

This is an experience many school professionals have on a daily basis. They come across students who are inattentive or provocative. Who aggravate peers. Who sometimes can’t control their emotions. Who lash out, strike out, shout out, and sometimes threaten harm to others or themselves.

A powerful practice called trauma-informed care can help all of us make better sense of such interactions. Schools that implement this practice are called trauma-informed or trauma-sensitive schools. In my work as a school social worker and with the California School-Based Health Alliance, I’ve had an opportunity to see these approaches transform schools, communities and the lives of individual students (see the case study at the end of this post for a great example).

By Alicia Rozum, MSW, PPSC
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Tags: K-12, School mental health, Trauma, Mental health, School health
Facilitation Quick Tips: Song Scramble
January 4, 2016

Facilitation Quick Tips: Song Scramble

By Salem Osland | January 4, 2016
Director, WISE Iowa

From Golden Oldies to Hip Hop, this activity was music to our ears! It was conducted during the October WISE annual meeting in Denver. The amazing Salem Osland led the group in what turned out to be an energizing, fabulously fun, community-building energy break. It also highlighted the untapped talent in the room. Who knew? Highly recommended if you need an energy shift and a bonding experience during training.

—Deb Christopher, MSM, Director, Professional Learning Services, ETR

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Tags: Professional development, Training design
2016: Right Around the Corner!
December 22, 2015

2016: Right Around the Corner!

By ETR | December 22, 2015

Yes, indeed, 2016 is right around the corner. We've had a fine year with our blog and hope you've enjoyed our posts. ETR and the blog will be taking a break over the holidays. We'll be back in 2016 with more great content from ETR staff and our partners and colleagues in the field. We've got some wonderful posts coming up in January, so be sure to check back.

In the meantime, we wish you, your colleagues, families and communities, a joyous holiday.

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Customer Spotlight: Syida Huggins-Richards with the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Human Services
December 18, 2015

Customer Spotlight: Syida Huggins-Richards with the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Human Services

By Erin McCarthy | December 18, 2015
National Public Health Sales Representative, ETR

Here’s one of the things I love about my job. Every day, I get to work with people who are passionate about using education to promote healthy behaviors in their communities.

Programs focusing on health and sexuality seek to empower individuals. They want to support healthy sexual choices that reduce sexual risks. The coordination of this work takes dedication, determination and a desire to see positive change. This pretty much sums up Syida Huggins-Richards’ approach to her work.

By Erin McCarthy
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Tags: ETR, Customer spotlight, Reducing the Risk
Facilitation Quick Tips: Holiday Cheer
December 11, 2015

Facilitation Quick Tips: Holiday Cheer

By Debra Christopher, MSM | December 11, 2015
Director, Professional Learning Systems, ETR

As the winter months and the holidays approach, here are three simple Facilitation Quick Tips that might tap the spirit of the season! We’ve adapted a couple of classics and added a new one of our own that are suited to this winter season. With a little imagination, these can all be adapted for other holidays or special events. 

Get ready to be grateful, throw snowballs and make an A-to-Z list!

By Debra Christopher, MSM
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Tags: Professional development, Training design, Facilitation Quick Tips
What Leadership Feels Like: 3 Lessons from Life
December 9, 2015

What Leadership Feels Like: 3 Lessons from Life

By Michael T. Everett, MHS | December 9, 2015
Project Coordinator, ETR

Two questions plague any responsible person in a position of authority: (1) Am I a good leader? and, (2) How am I to know?

I’ve had a few years to consider these questions myself, and they have taught me a good deal about leadership. I’d like to share three of the lessons leadership has brought to my own work and life. 

By Michael T. Everett, MHS
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Tags: HIV-AIDS, Webinar, HIV, Leadership, Black MSM, Community Impact Solutions Project
LGBTQ Youth Need Inclusive Sex Education
December 8, 2015

LGBTQ Youth Need Inclusive Sex Education

By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | December 3, 2015
Senior Editor, ETR

LGBTQ youth face a number of elevated risks in the general and sexual health arenas—including some we might not expect, such as increased risk of pregnancy. They are also more likely to get STDs, be sexually victimized and participate in survival sex.

A promising strategy for reducing these risks is building greater equity, responsiveness and inclusiveness in our sex education programs. We need to explicitly state that LGBTQ youth are at risk for these consequences, and we need to do it in a manner that respects and engages all students.

I was thrilled to hear about and read the just-released A Call to Action: LGBTQ Youth Need Inclusive Sex Education. What a fabulous resource!

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Tags: New products, LGBTQ, LGBTQ youth, Evidence-based interventions, Sexual and reproductive health
PrEP--Expanding the HIV Prevention Toolkit
December 4, 2015

PrEP--Expanding the HIV Prevention Toolkit

By Laura Perkins, MLS | December 4, 2015
Project Editor, ETR

PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) for HIV means taking a combination pill to prevention transmission of the virus. The pill, brand name Truvada, has proved to be successful at protecting at-risk individuals. Trials evaluating PrEP among gay and bisexual men, heterosexual men and women, and injection drug users indicate that the risk of getting HIV decreased by up to 92% for participants who took the medicine consistently.

This is phenomenal!

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Tags: HIV-AIDS, HIV, PrEP, New products, Community Impact Solutions Project
Weaving the Thread: A Life's Work in HIV/AIDS Prevention and Service
December 1, 2015

Weaving the Thread: A Life's Work in HIV/AIDS Prevention and Service

By Tanya Henderson, PhD | December 1, 2015
Project Director, Community Impact Solutions, ETR

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

—Mark Twain

When I first heard this quote, it really hit home with me. I was always a planner, a bit of an overachiever, but things really didn’t come together for me until I began doing work in the HIV/AIDS arena. Today, on World AIDS Day, I reflect not only on what I see as my calling, but also why I do this work.

In the early days of this new millennium, HIV/AIDS was one of the top five health disparities affecting African Americans and underrepresented minorities in the U.S. This was also true in my hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. I don’t think I’d fully understood to that point that a disease like HIV could run rampant, so disproportionately affecting some communities.

HIV was sexually transmitted and surrounded by great stigma and misinformation. It was sometimes passed between people who loved one another deeply. All of this tugged at my heart strings.

During this time, I first heard of the death of someone I knew. 

By Tanya Henderson, PhD
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Tags: HIV-AIDS, HIV, World AIDS Day, Community Impact Solutions Project
A Time to Be Grateful
November 24, 2015

A Time to Be Grateful

By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | November 24, 2015
Senior Editor, ETR

Thanksgiving is traditionally a time we think of gratitude. This year, as we consider all that has happened and compare our circumstances to others on the world stage, we at ETR are indeed grateful—for personal health, for homes, for opportunities to be with our families.

We continue, through collaboration, inspiration and hard work to change the world in our small and peaceful ways. The opportunity to do so is something I am incredibly grateful for.

So yes, 2015 has been a difficult year in many respects. But it has also been a wonderful year for ETR, one filled with excellence, shared vision, partnership and collaboration. Here are some of the people and organizations we especially want to thank.

By Marcia Quackenbush
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Tags: ETR, Gratitude
Currently Reading: Schools in San Francisco Implement Meditation & Students' Happiness and Academic Success Soars
November 23, 2015

Currently Reading: Schools in San Francisco Implement Meditation & Students' Happiness and Academic Success Soars

By Laura Norvig, MLIS | November 23, 2015
Digital Media Strategist, ETR

I’ll admit, I like to read about meditation more than actually do it. I’m a huge fan of Thich Nhat Hanh and Pema Chodron, two authors who make a great case for how quieting the mind and being in the moment increase our ability to be patient, compassionate and more effective human beings.

But I was really struck by this article and the video it highlights, which documents the positive impact of meditation on urban school kids. 

By Laura Norvig
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Tags: K-12, Meditation
Teachers! Your Next Big Role! "Research Collaborator"
November 19, 2015

Teachers! Your Next Big Role! "Research Collaborator"

By Shannon Campe | November 19, 2015
Research Associate, ETR

Are you a K–12 teacher? Or a school or district administrator? A teacher’s union rep? A classroom aide? An active member of your PTA? Do you have any say about what teachers do in their classrooms? If so, I’m hoping you’ll take a few minutes to read about the next big role you (or your teachers) can take to make a difference.

I’m an educational researcher and a teacher. I recruit and work with teachers for classroom-based and after-school programs that are part of research projects. If you are a teacher, I have something I really want you to do, at least once—collaborate in school-based research when the opportunity arises.

I know, yet another thing to do on top of everything else. Why should you take it on? 

By Shannon Campe
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Tags: Teachers, Research, Collaboration
Integrating Sexual Violence Prevention into Comprehensive Sexual Health Education: 3 Recommendations
November 17, 2015

Integrating Sexual Violence Prevention into Comprehensive Sexual Health Education: 3 Recommendations

By Andrea Gerber, MSEd, & Kari Kesler, MA | November 16, 2015
Public Health, Seattle & King County

The topic of sexual violence on college campuses has received much attention in the media recently. Many colleges are clamoring to implement or improve education programs in an attempt to reduce the number of rapes perpetrated on their campus.

These high-profile cases have left many people wondering if education about sexual violence prevention shouldn’t start younger, perhaps much younger. What role can sexual health education in middle and high schools play in this effort?

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Tags: Violence prevention, Sexual violence prevention, Sexual and reproductive health, Sexual assault prevention
Coding Is Cool, But What About Teacher Education and Effective Curriculum Design?
November 13, 2015

Coding Is Cool, But What About Teacher Education and Effective Curriculum Design?

By Betül Czerkawski, PhD | November 13, 2015
Associate Professor of Educational Technology, University of Arizona

In recent years there has been a strong emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education for a number of reasons. Strong STEM education allows us to:

  • Train the workforce we need for the digital era
  • Solve pressing and complex problems of our new digital world
  • Compete economically with other nations
  • Increase scientific research that will lead to innovation in all fields

STEM education has two key foci that provide support to all of these outcomes. The first is training new generations in STEM professions. How do we make sure our children and youth are ready to step up and lead in these fields?

The second is implementing strategies that develop computational thinking (CT) skills in all students—even those who are not planning to select STEM-related professions themselves.

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Tags: Research, Evaluation, STEM, Computer science education, Computational thinking, Teachers, Instructional design
Tap Into Your Inner Scientist
November 11, 2015

Tap Into Your Inner Scientist

By Vignetta Charles, PhD | November 10, 2015
Chief Science Officer, ETR

I’m not only a scientist! People also play me on TV!

Well, actually, that’s Mr. Spock, Chief Science Officer from Star Trek and the starship Enterprise. I’m Vignetta Charles, the new Chief Science Officer at ETR. Which, by the way, has its headquarters on Enterprise Way. Coincidence? I think not.

I embrace the challenge to live up to the esteemed reputation of my job title. Indeed, we all can tap into our inner scientists. And, taking to heart the advice of my Vulcan mentor—“Insufficient facts always invite danger”—I’d like to suggest we all make the effort to be scientists in our work, no matter what our role. 

By Vignetta Charles, PhD
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Tags: Science, Research, Evaluation, Evidence
Evaluating Computer Science Education: Why and for Whom?
November 5, 2015

Evaluating Computer Science Education: Why and for Whom?

By Jill Denner, PhD | November 5, 2015
Senior Research Scientist, ETR

Note: ETR’s Jill Denner recently contributed a post to the American Evaluation Association’s blog AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators. This was part of their STEM Education and Training Topical Interest Group Week. With AEA’s permission, we are reposting Dr. Denner’s article. You can find the original here. If you’ll be attending AEA’s “Evaluation 2015” conference in Chicago next week, be sure to look for ETR’s team of researchers. Attending members include Pam Drake, Lisa Unti, BA Laris, Liz McDade-Montez and Jill Glassman.

Computer Science Education in K-12 is a relatively new space. It is a young discipline that is trying to distinguish itself from other Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. And rightfully so. The “T” is different in many ways: There is less diversity in “T” classes and programs. Most programs do not have clear goals or a logic model to describe how their activities will lead to identified goals. There are many different learning outcomes, but few validated measures, established theories or clear stakeholders who can drive key decisions about evaluation design, sampling, and measurement.

By Jill Denner, PhD
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Tags: Research, Evaluation, Computer science education, STEM, Diversity in technology
Facilitation Quick Tips: 1-3-6
November 3, 2015

Facilitation Quick Tips: 1-3-6

By Debra Christopher, MSM | November 3, 2015
Director, Professional Learning Systems, ETR

This is an extremely grand processing activity used by my mentor and friend, Pat Wolfe, when she conducts her Training of Trainers on The Brain and Learning. It gets all the minds in the game and culminates in ideas and actions that nourish the group! 

By Debra Christopher, MSM
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Tags: Training design, Professional development
Tic-Tic Boom: Being the Work and Doing the Work
October 29, 2015

Tic-Tic Boom: Being the Work and Doing the Work

By Michael Everett, MHS | October 29, 2015
Project Coordinator, ETR

What responsibility do HIV/AIDS organizations have concerning the wellness of staff who are also Black men who have sex with men?

I have pondered this question often throughout my 15-year career in HIV services. 

By Michael Everett, MHS
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Tags: HIV-AIDS, HIV, MSM, Black MSM, Webinar