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.)


Blast to the Future
May 1, 2015

Blast to the Future

By Jason Jackson Wallace | May 1, 2015
Candidate for MBA, University of Michigan Ross School of Business

As a little kid, I spent a lot of my time reading and dreaming about space exploration. Often I would read about NASA’s future plans and envision myself as a future astronaut exploring Mars. It seemed like a sure thing to me.

I expected that by the time I’d be old enough to fly, we’d already have a colony on Mars. The idea of exploring and living on another planet would be read about in textbooks rather than science fiction novels.

Disappointingly, my imagination outstripped reality. However, that dream motivated me to continue pursuing science and mathematics throughout my education.

By Jason Jackson Wallace
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Tags: Ross MAP, STEM, Technology education
Amazing! The 2015 National Transgender Health Summit
April 29, 2015

Amazing! The 2015 National Transgender Health Summit

By Cary Klemmer | April 29, 2015
MSW/PhD Student, University of Southern California

Being able to attend a national health summit for transgender folks is one amazing thing in and of itself. Being able to present and share the narratives of transgender youth at that conference is another!

Last April 17-18, I had the great honor of both attending and presenting at the National Transgender Health Summit 2015 in Oakland, California. This event was made possible due to the diligence and hard work of the conference staff, including the UCSF Center of Excellence for Transgender Health and ETR, which co-sponsored the event.

By Cary Klemmer
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Tags: Transgender, Inspiration, Social justice, Community Impact Solutions Project, LGBTQ
Enabling Amazing Work to Grow
April 28, 2015

Enabling Amazing Work to Grow

By Max Dixon | April 28, 2015
Candidate for MBA and MA in Education Leadership & Policy, University of Michigan Ross School of Business

Working with ETR these past few weeks has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my first year at the University of Michigan. My classmates and I had the opportunity to fly out to California and visit both the Scotts Valley and Oakland ETR offices, and we immersed ourselves in ETR’s extensive offerings.

ETR’s mission of reducing risk and improving the lives of young people manifests itself in many ways, and each employee has a strong passion for the work. 

By Max Dixon
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Tags: Ross MAP, Technology education, STEM
Talent and Opportunity, Abilities and Access: Minding the Gap
April 27, 2015

Talent and Opportunity, Abilities and Access: Minding the Gap

By Fulton Breen | April 27, 2015
Candidate for MBA and MA in Educational Leadership & Policy, University of Michigan Ross School of Business

The president of my university, Mark Schlissel, summarized his commitment to social justice and equitable youth development with a simple but powerful observation: Talent is ubiquitous, but opportunity is not.

So what are we to do with this gap between abilities and access?

This question drew me to the interesting work being done at ETR. It’s also what brought me to graduate school to study the intersections of business and education.

By Fulton Breen
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Tags: Ross MAP, STEM
Bringing the Sharing Economy to Sex Ed Teacher Training
April 13, 2015

Bringing the Sharing Economy to Sex Ed Teacher Training

By Rebekah Saul Butler, MBA, MPH | April 13, 2015
Co-Executive Director/The Grove Foundation

My business school marketing professor once said, “The airlines need to think more like a taxi.” Get people where they need to go when they want to go, and make it easy to get there.

As a frequent business traveler, I’ve often thought of those words while stranded in an airport or waiting for everyone in front of me to get their bags down and exit the aircraft. Air travel feels impersonal—like it’s designed to be convenient for the airlines, not the flier. And the industry hasn’t made much progress in 15 years.

I can’t say I’m any more enamored with the taxi industry. I’ve recently started using a ridesharing app and can understand perfectly why the sector is growing exponentially. And what’s this got to do with sexuality education?

I’d like to see sexuality education teacher training become more like a modern ridesharing business: technology based, customer centric and widely accessible.

By Rebekah Saul Butler, MBA, MPH
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Tags: Training design, Sexual and reproductive health, STD prevention, Professional development
Say "Yes" with Enthusiasm! Exploring Affirmative Consent
April 6, 2015

Say "Yes" with Enthusiasm! Exploring Affirmative Consent

By Robin Mills, MA | April 6, 2015
Sexual Health Education Coordinator, U.C. Berkeley University Health Services Tang Center

While the term “affirmative consent” is fairly new, the concept most certainly is not.

Back in 2005, I was working at Planned Parenthood. I went to a health fair where a group called Coalition for Positive Sexuality was distributing purple mini-booklets called “Just Say Yes.” I thought, “Wow. That’s awesome. What a super positive way of thinking. I like it.”

I took a quick peek inside the booklet (since I was supposed to be working) and was hooked immediately. There it was, printed in black and white for all the world to read: messaging to young adults encouraging them to say “yes” to the sex they want, and “no” to the sex they don’t want! It was amazing!

By Robin Mills, MA
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Tags: Affirmative consent, Sexual and reproductive health, College, Health promotion, Sex education, Young adults
Boosting STEM Education: Addressing a National Imperative
March 23, 2015

Boosting STEM Education: Addressing a National Imperative

By David Yeung, MBA | March 23, 2015
Manager of Strategy & Business Development, ETR

At ETR, we tackle challenges that are increasingly complex and interconnected, transcending traditionally defined boundaries. We are passionate about solving issues that are difficult and sometimes deep rooted. We want to discover solutions that have meaningful impact for individuals and communities.

In order for us to deliver on that mission, we must embrace different backgrounds, perspectives and disciplines. This is why I am proud to welcome to ETR a diverse and talented team of fulltime MBA students from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

They are going to help us discover solutions to some very complex issues!

By David Yeung, MBA
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Tags: Ross MAP, Technology education
"There Is an American Indian Working in This Section!" - Honoring National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
March 17, 2015

Honoring National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

By Karen L. Parker-Simons | March 17, 2015
Health Education Coordinator, Florida Department of Health

I began working in HIV/AIDS Prevention in February 2007. At the time I had never heard of World AIDS Day, never mind National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. That first year it slipped by me without my catching it.

But, by 2008, I finally knew about it. National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is something very special. This wasn’t just another awareness day for which I would have to think up events. No, this day spoke TO me—it was ABOUT me! I am an American Indian from the Dumna/Kechayi Yokuts Tribe of California. Not only could I loudly proclaim to everyone in my Department, “Hey! Know what? There is an American Indian working in this section!” I could also take a very important message to the communities I knew and loved. 

By Karen L. Parker-Simons
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Tags: National Native HIV-AIDS Awareness Day, HIV-AIDS, Tribal nations, Community Impact Solutions Project
Impact for Change: ETR's Training & Technical Assistance for Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs
March 16, 2015

Impact for Change: ETR's Training & Technical Assistance for Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs

By Annika Shore, MPH, & Amy Peterson, MSc | March 16, 2015
Professional Development Consultant, ETR & Project Coordinator, ETR

A well-designed professional development (PD) plan (training, technical assistance, ongoing support) provides the foundation for program tranformation and impact! In fact, our organization, founded 35 years ago, began with a training grant for teen pregnancy prevention programs.

While we have expanded into other areas since then, PD remains a fundamental component of ETR’s work. It’s one of the most important ways we support our clients and maintain our own culture of continuous learning. Our professional learning services are rooted in the belief that learning takes place over time. We view PD not as a one-time training event, but a process that occurs before and throughout the implementation stage.

By Annika Shore, MPH, & Amy Peterson, MSc
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Tags: Professional development, Program Success Framework, Sustaining programs, Pregnancy prevention, Teens
HIV Treatment: Keeping People in Care
March 12, 2015

HIV Treatment: Keeping People in Care

By BA Laris, MPH | March 12, 2015
Research Associate, ETR

In recent years, there has been a major shift in the way we approach HIV treatment and prevention. Research has shown (for example, see Gardner’s 2011 report here; and the AIDS.gov background here) that we will have our greatest impact when we focus on two major steps.

  1. Locate individuals at greatest risk for HIV and motivate them to get tested.
  2. Connect with individuals who have HIV and provide support for them to start and stay in HIV-related medical treatment.

These are deceptively simple prescriptions. But if you work in HIV care and treatment settings, you know there are a myriad of physical, social and emotional issues that can make it difficult for people to stay engaged in continuous treatment. This challenge is one that our Community Impact Solutions team addresses in our work providing capacity building for community-based organizations. We develop strategies and deliver coaching and support to strengthen HIV programs. Our approaches are both research proven and real-world practical.

By BA Laris, MPH
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Tags: HIV-AIDS, Professional development, High impact prevention, Evidence-based interventions, Retention, Community Impact Solutions Project
Do Something Extraordinary! A Roadmap to Program Sustainability in School Health Education
March 9, 2015

Do Something Extraordinary! A Roadmap to Program Sustainability in School Health Education

By Jessica Lawrence, MS | March 9, 2015
Director, Cairn Guidance

“Young lady, let me tell you something. There are people who take life by the reins and forge full speed ahead, and people who sit back and wait for things to happen to them. I think I know which category you fit into.”
—Citizen in Dayville, OR, June 2013

Two years ago this month I prepared for a goal I had daydreamed about since I was a teen. I completed a bicycle ride across the United States, cycling 4,197 miles solo from the Oregon coast to the Rhode Island shore.

My goal wasn’t only to make it safely to the east coast. I was raising funds for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and I intended to enjoy the ride. I also wanted to model that balance of work and play we all strive for on a daily basis. I scrambled to leave town while sustaining school health contracts, hoping to maintain communication with my clients while on the journey.

And did it work? Yes! This was the most amazing adventure of my life so far.

By Jessica Lawrence, MS
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Tags: School health, Health education, Sustaining programs, Inspiration
Optimizing Skill Instruction in Sexual and Reproductive Health Education
March 3, 2015

Optimizing Skill Instruction in Sexual and Reproductive Health Education

By Karin Coyle, PhD | March 3, 2015
Senior Research Scientist, ETR

Most evidence-based sexual health programs include skill development as a core element. This underscores the value of optimizing instruction for skills. Education literature provides guidance on the optimal instructional sequence for teaching behavioral skills. There are a number of other important considerations for skill instruction that compliment this type of instructional sequence, and some common pitfalls to avoid.

By Karin Coyle, PhD
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Tags: Pregnancy prevention, STD prevention, Evidence-based interventions, Health education, Sexual and reproductive health
Social Network Strategy: Turning the Tables on HIV
February 25, 2015

Social Network Strategy: Turning the Tables on HIV

By Joan Singson | February 25, 2015
Program Manager, ETR

I used to walk in and out of drab motels and dive bars in the middle of the night, distributing condoms and encouraging people to test for HIV. Yup! Been there, done that. The strategies we used to help reduce the spread of HIV in the early 1990’s were not for the faint of heart.

Those of us who were involved back when old school was hip hop and Wu-Tang-Clan was the bomb could probably rattle off a hundred ways to recruit individuals for HIV counseling, testing and referral. Organizations were motivated by the message that “anyone can get HIV,” and funding streams asked them to cast a wide net and bring in as many individuals as possible for testing.

Since then, the business of recruitment has evolved.

By Joan Singson
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Tags: HIV-AIDS, Evidence-based interventions, Professional development, Community Impact Solutions Project, High impact prevention
Grieving Children: An Essential Role for Schools
February 10, 2015

Grieving Children: An Essential Role for Schools

By David Schonfeld, MD | February 10, 2015
Director, National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement

Grief in children is real, powerful and common. Over the course of their school lives, 9 in 10 children will experience the death of a family member or close friend. One in 20 will lose a parent.

Think about this for a moment. Chances are that in almost every class, in every school throughout this country, there is at least one grieving student. Grief can have an impact on that student’s learning, school performance, social development and emotional health.

Schools have a unique and essential role to play in supporting grieving students. Some fairly simple interventions can help students navigate their experience more successfully and better manage school, friends, family and their own emotions. The newly introduced Coalition to Support Grieving Students offers schools and staff a rich set of resources to help them provide support that is both practical and meaningful.

By David Schonfeld, MD
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Tags: K-12, Schools, Grief, Teachers
My Take: Sexualization in Children’s Media
February 2, 2015

My Take: Sexualization in Children’s Media

By Elizabeth McDade-Montez, PhD | February 3, 2015
Senior Research Associate, ETR

TV is not what it used to be. There are new methods of content delivery (Netflix, YouTube, Hulu), new ways of watching (bingeing on Downton Abbey, catching short segments on YouTube), and new ways of calculating ratings.

Unfortunately, although television platforms have clearly modernized over time, television themes and stereotypes around gender and sexuality have not. I recently conducted an analysis of popular children’s television shows to quantify the amount of sexualizing content within these shows. My findings were disturbing.

By Elizabeth McDade-Montez, PhD
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Tags: Research, Children
How Do You Define Program Success?
January 27, 2015

How Do You Define Program Success?

By Stephanie Guinosso, MPH | January 27, 2015
Program Manager, ETR

How do you define program success?

From my perspective, a successful program is one that is created in partnership with key stakeholders in the community. It’s developed with the community’s needs in mind. It facilitates positive change in peoples’ lives by addressing multiple layers of an issue, from individual knowledge, attitudes and behaviors to the social and cultural structures within which people live, work and play.

A successful program relies on the best evidence for what works. It’s also flexible and adaptable to the uniqueness of a particular context. Successful programs cultivate the knowledge and skills of implementers to ensure that the program operates at its best capacity—there is a culture of learning and growth, adapting and responding to change. 

By Stephanie Guinosso, MPH
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Tags: Pregnancy prevention, Teens, Evidence-based interventions, Program Success Framework
Power Makes a Difference: Youth-Adult Partnerships Work!
December 16, 2014

Power Makes a Difference: Youth-Adult Partnerships Work!

By Annika Shore, MPH | December 16, 2014

My work as a professional development consultant at ETR focuses on developing the knowledge and skills of people in the field of adolescent sexual and reproductive health. Our goal? To collectively enhance the health and well-being of young people.

When I think back on the most powerful moments of my career, they all share one thing in common: they were moments when young people and adults worked closely together for a shared goal. Some of those moments occurred when I was the young person, working with mentors in a health education program. Some were more recent, when, as an adult professional, I joined with youth to co-plan conferences or workshops.

By Annika Shore, MPH
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Tags: Teens, Intergenerational, Youth voice, Mentoring
Get Real: Evidence, Sex Ed and the Real World
December 11, 2014

Get Real: Evidence, Sex Ed and the Real World

By Jen Slonaker, MSW | December 11, 2014

How should we be teaching teens about sex? Since I work in the health and sexuality field, this is a question I’ve considered often. Not surprisingly, so have many of my colleagues.

About 10 years ago, a group of people at Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM) decided to develop and test a new sex education curriculum for adolescents based on the best evidence available about what works.

What does it take to do this? Quite a lot.

By Jen Slonaker, MSW
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Tags: Evidence-based interventions, Sex education, High school, Middle school
Laugh & Learn? Tasteless Humor and Health Education
December 6, 2014

Laugh & Learn? Tasteless Humor and Health Education

By Annabella Firpo | December 6, 2014

Do tasteless humor and political incorrectness have a place in health education?

Recently I encountered two over-the-top ridiculous videos on the Internet that, at first glance, seemed to be mindless, tasteless humor. However, by the end of the videos, both had presented a serious message hidden under the slapstick and shallow comedy. 

By Annabella Firpo
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Tags: Health education, Humor
World AIDS Day: Towards an AIDS-Free Generation
December 1, 2014

World AIDS Day: Towards an AIDS-Free Generation

By Alex Williams | December 1, 2014

Today is December 1, also known as World AIDS Day. Every year on this day there is a temporary global shift in attention to reflect on the impact of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). In the United States, the day is marked by observances, reflections, tributes, concerts, ceremonies, memorial services and themed awareness-raising events.

In the United States, nearly 648,500 persons diagnosed with AIDS have died, and approximately 50,000 persons acquire HIV annually. Today, an estimated 1.2 million persons in the United States are living with HIV.

Although these figures suggest despair, there have been significant advances since the first AIDS diagnosis in June 1981. The theme for this year's observation is "Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation," noting the shift from widespread hopelessness to the eventual eradication of HIV.

By Alex Williams
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Tags: HIV-AIDS, Community Impact Solutions Project

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