What's Happening

Check out what our people and partners are researching, thinking, reading, writing, watching and doing! (Note: The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of ETR as an agency.)


My Alternate Reality: I'm a Student and I'm Not On Social Media
January 24, 2019

My Alternate Reality: I'm a Student and I'm Not On Social Media

By Jessica Hilger | January 22, 2019
Second year undergraduate, Santa Clara University

As a high school senior, I wrote a college admission essay about why I chose not to be on social media. Today, halfway through my second year in college, I have some additional thoughts about social media in my life. But let’s start with where I was as a high school senior.

I was able to survive all of my teenage years without being on any form of social media at all. 

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Tags: Technology, Texting, High school, Social media, Teens
Building Health Skills: Goal Setting
January 22, 2019

Building Health Skills: Goal Setting

By Suzanne Schrag | January 22, 2019
Editor/Project Manager, ETR

“In 2019, I’m finally going to…eat better…meditate daily…get fit…stop smoking…”

Ah, the New Year. A time for making plans and setting goals—often ones that are health related. But moving those aspirations from wishful thinking into action steps isn’t always easy, and it definitely takes skill.

In fact, goal setting is one of the essential skills for health literacy defined in the National Health Education Standards (NHES), which means it’s also a skill focus in the HealthSmart program. 

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Tags: K12, School health education, Health education, HealthSmart
Three Tips for The Talk – Or, How Can We Help Parents Talk to Their Children?
January 17, 2019

Three Tips for The Talk–or How Can We Help Parents Talk to Their Children?

By Janelle Watson, MA, LMFT | January 17, 2019
Founder, Embrace Wellness

When it comes to figuring out how to talk to their kids about difficult topics, I find that parents want all the help they can get. Educators and providers often have opportunities to offer guidance that can help parents succeed.

What do parents want to know? Everything. 

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Tags: Kirby summit, Parents, Communication, Puberty, Teens, Scaffolding, Parent engagement
A Historic Year in Education and School Health
January 15, 2019

A Historic Year in Education and School Health

By Jamie Sparks | January 15, 2019
School Health Program Manager, ETR

The current school year is historic. Every state has shifted away from the federal education accountability mandates of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and towards state-created measures aligned to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

For those of us who have worked diligently for decades to promote and prioritize school health, this offers a “giant step” opportunity. 

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Tags: HealthSmart, ESSA, School health education, Health education, K12, Comprehensive school health
Exemplary Professional Development: What Are the Critical Elements?
January 10, 2019

Exemplary Professional Development: What Are the Critical Elements?

By Tracy Wright, MAED | January 10, 2019
Project Director, ETR

At ETR, we value research and science. We apply those values throughout all of our work and across the entire agency. We encourage other organizations to do the same.

A few years back, ETR conducted a synthesis of current research on professional development (PD) programs. Our goal? To determine the critical elements needed to provide PD that leads to change in learners' practice—that is, PD that has a true impact. 

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Tags: Teachers, Health education, HealthSmart, K12, Distributive learning process, Professional development
Three Ways to Rock a Recruitment Pitch for a Study
January 8, 2019

Three Ways to Rock a Recruitment Pitch for a Study

By ETR | January 8, 2019

ETR has a nationally recognized Research Department. Our multidisciplinary research team engages in research addressing a wide range of educational and public health issues.

One of the challenges in research is recruiting participants for studies. In work we did recently, our research assistants went to college classrooms. They delivered a five-minute “pitch” inviting students to participate in an online survey about their learning experiences.

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Tags: Recruitment, College, Research
Service: Sharing Back, Learning Forward
January 4, 2019

Service: Sharing Back, Learning Forward

By Lilly Thomas | January 4, 2019
Customer Service/Sales, ETR

I have the brain of a sociologist. I’m interested in other people, in their day-to-day lives. I’m curious about how people live in different parts of the country—how they talk, what they eat, how they connect with one another.

I got my college degree in urban planning, which I call “sociology with solutions.” 

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Tags: Service, Customer service, ETR products
What Do We Want? Sex Ed! What Do We Need? Sex Ed!
January 2, 2019

What Do We Want? Sex Ed! What Do We Need? Sex Ed!

By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | January 2, 2019
Senior Editor, ETR

If you’re reading this post, there’s an excellent chance you’re a supporter of comprehensive sexuality education in schools. After all, you’re interacting with ETR, an organization that does education, training and research on sexual health.

But beyond that, just by virtue of being an American, chances are high that you’d like to see effective sex ed programs in schools. 

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Tags: Sexual and reproductive health, Sex education
It's Solstice! Time for a Break!
December 21, 2018

It's Solstice! Time for a Break!

By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | December 21, 2018
Senior Editor, ETR

ETR is about to jump into its annual holiday break period. After our offices close today, our staff will be off duty until January 2, 2019. Our blog will go quiet during this time, too.

Last year, our CEO Vignetta Charles wrote a beautiful end-of-year post. I love it. This year? “What she said.”

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Tags: Mission
Kids and E-Cigarette Liquids: Keeping Watch During the Holidays and Beyond
December 17, 2018

Kids and E-Cigarette Liquids: Keeping Watch During the Holidays and Beyond

By Xinran Cui Dhaliwal, MPH | December 17, 2018
Project Coordinator, ETR

If your holidays are anything like mine, then they are full of family reunions and house hopping. My daughter, one and a half, loves it! New places to check out, great food, hugs and kisses from all the doting adults.

I’m not a helicopter mom, so I don’t really sweat the non-baby proof houses, and there is no limit on sugar. If people want to treat her to some sweets and cookies, that’s fine. She eats well at home.

But I did sweat a little when I came across news about poison control centers handling cases of exposure to e-cigarette devices and liquids.

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Tags: Flavored tobacco products, Young children, Children, E-cigarettes
From the Ground into Our Schools: Parent/Guardian Awareness of Radon Levels
December 13, 2018

From the Ground into Our Schools: Parent/Guardian Awareness of Radon Levels

By Kirsten Martin | December 13, 2018
Third Year Medical Student, Larner College of Medicine at The University of Vermont

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. In spite of this, 38 states have no legislation requiring that radon levels be monitored in schools. Vermont, where I currently reside, is one of these states.

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Tags: Research, School health
STEM Education and Youth Who are Disabled: We're Overdue for Inclusivity
December 11, 2018

STEM Education and Youth Who are Disabled: We're Overdue for Inclusivity

By Linda Kekelis, PhD | December 11, 2018
Advisor, STEM Next Opportunity Fund

We need to build greater diversity in STEM education. Like a lot of my colleagues, I’ve worked to create programs welcoming more girls and youth of color into STEM. We’ve made good progress, and we are creating positive momentum.

But one group that continues to be overlooked, even within strong and established programs, is youth who are disabled. 

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Tags: Parent engagement, Diversity and inclusion, STEM equity, STEM education
World AIDS Day 2018: Reflecting on the Past, Taking on the Future
December 1, 2018

World AIDS Day 2018: Reflecting on the Past, Taking on the Future

Vignetta Charles, PhD | December 1, 2018
CEO, ETR

I was sitting on a plane last week thinking about the 30th Anniversary of World AIDS Day. I tried to remember back to the very first one, in 1988. I was a teenager. AIDS was a part of my coming of age.

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Tags: Inspiration, HIV, AIDS
What Is "Scaffolding" In Adolescent Relationships?
November 29, 2018

What Is "Scaffolding" In Adolescent Relationships?

By ETR | November 29, 2018

We had an outstanding Kirby Summit IV this fall. This invitational gathering brings together experts from around the country who know a great deal about emerging issues in adolescent health. The Kirby IV summiteers focused on scaffolding for adolescent relationships. If you're not quite sure what that is, you'll want to watch this lively 3-minute video from ETR Senior Research Associate Pamela Anderson.

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Tags: Scaffolding, Romantic relationships, Adolescents, Kirby summit
A Picture Is Worth a Lot of Words: E-Cigarette Marketing to Children and Youth
November 27, 2018

A Picture Is Worth a Lot of Words: E-Cigarette Marketing to Children and Youth

By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | November 27, 2018
Senior Editor, ETR

You probably already know that flavored tobacco and e-cigarettes pose a unique and compelling danger to children and youth. You’ve paid attention to the headlines. You’ve read the articles and reports. You’ve been astonished at the troubling statistics showing how these products are fueling increases in tobacco use among youth.

That was certainly true for me. Then I helped out in a photoshoot of flavored tobacco and e-cigarette products. 

By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES
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Tags: Adolescent health, Flavored tobacco products, E-cigarettes, Tobacco prevention
Gratitude: Returning to Each Other
November 16, 2018

Gratitude: Returning to Each Other

By Vignetta Charles, PhD | November 16, 2018
CEO, ETR

A poem by one of my favorite poets has been running through my head as we enter the holiday season. I have been overwhelmed with gratitude as I bear witness to people returning to each other, whether it’s mobilizing for those devastated in the California wildfires and supporting the firefighters still in harm’s way, or the continued global response to the #metoo movement. I am hopeful because I believe we can find peace when we find authentic connection and express our gratitude for that.

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Tags: Gratitude, Inspiration, ETR staff, ETR
Supporting Diversity & Inclusion: Harry Potter's Greatest Spell
November 13, 2018

Supporting Diversity & Inclusion: Harry Potter's Greatest Spell

By Elizabeth McDade-Montez, PhD, and Rebecca A. Dore, PhD  | November 13, 2018
Senior Research Associate, ETR (EM) and Senior Research Associate, The Ohio State University (RAD)

Harry Potter is the best-selling book series of all time. The books and their derivatives have made author J.K. Rowling the world’s first billionaire author. The novels and subsequent movies are certainly engaging and entertaining. Indeed, entertainment is the primary goal of most media and works of fiction.

But how we engage with fiction and media is a serious area of study for researchers in fields as diverse as psychology, education, literary studies, philosophy and communications. 

By Elizabeth McDade-Montez, PhD
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Tags: Reading, Stigma, Diversity and inclusion, Research
Indians Are Still Here: Three Things to Do If You Care About Equity and Social Justice
November 8, 2018

Indians Are Still Here: Three Things to Do If You Care About Equity and Social Justice

By Michael E. Bird (Kewa Pueblo/Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo)  | November 8, 2018
National Consultant on Native American/Alaskan Native Communities, AARP

A lot of good people are working on issues of equity and social justice. I’m happy to see that, and I’m grateful for the work. If you are one of them, I also have a challenge for you—one that probably won’t be comfortable. I’m asking you to do three things.

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Tags: Equity, Social justice, Diversity and inclusion, Health equity
A Drop in The Bucket: Mentoring Young African-American Men
November 6, 2018

A Drop in The Bucket: Mentoring Young African-American Men

By James Walker | November 6, 2018
Project Specialist, ETR

This past September I was faced with a sobering reality. I had to witness my father’s passing and subsequently oversee his homegoing. Although the process was earnest in nature, I was emotionally detached. It is hard to feel attached to someone who was never really in your life. 

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Tags: Underrepresented youth, Youth empowerment, Mentoring
Making Value Visible By Building Resources That Work
November 1, 2018

Making Value Visible By Building Resources That Work

By Matt McDowell | November 1, 2018
Director of Product Development and Dissemination, ETR

I often refer to myself as “the mere mortal” here at ETR. We have big idea people. We have super creative people. We have nationally and internationally recognized research people.

Me? My job is to help put the work of all those folks into practice—and into your practice when it fits.

By Matt McDowell
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Tags: Science, ETR products

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