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.)


"What Were You Thinking?" What Developmental Neuroscience Tells Us About Adolescent Sexual Behavior
November 19, 2014

"What Were You Thinking?" - What Developmental Neuroscience Tells Us About Adolescent Sexual Behavior

By Ahna Suleiman, DrPH | November 19, 2014

Every sex educator I know has stories about young people who’ve challenged their faith in our ability to change adolescent sexual behavior. For me, one of those stories is about a ninth grader named Rose.

By Ahna Suleiman, DrPH
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Tags: Teens, Neuroscience, Sexual and reproductive health
My Take: Culture, Storylines & Women - Diversifying Tech Education
November 10, 2014

My Take: Culture, Storylines & Women - Diversifying Tech Education

By Louise Ann Lyon, PhD | November 11, 2014

Everywhere we turn, articles warn of the imminent loss of U.S. preeminence in science, technology, engineering and math fields. How frustrating, then, that computer science has actually experienced a slow decrease in the percentage of female undergraduates over the past 20 years. This trend cannot serve the field, the nation or our future. We need to diversify tech education if we wish to take advantage of our abundant local talent.

By Louise Ann Lyon, PhD
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Tags: College, Women, Technology, STEM
My Take: Making Social Media Make Sense for Nonprofits
November 5, 2014

My Take: Making Social Media Make Sense for Nonprofits

By Laura Perkins, MLS | November 5, 2014

My social media content strategy colleagues and I attended a great webinar yesterday: “50 Blogging Best Practices for Nonprofits.”

Social media maestra Heather Mansfield of Nonprofit Tech for Good clearly laid out best practices for setting up and maintaining a blog using the most current understanding of user-friendly design.

What I found especially striking in her presentation was the evolution of thinking about how to make a blog or website appealing enough and accessible enough to attract and hold people’s attention.

By Laura Perkins, MLS
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Tags: Social media, ETR
My Take: My (Reluctant) Media Life
October 24, 2014

My Take: My (Reluctant) Media Life

By Suzanne Schrag | October 24, 2014

I sometimes joke that I am a Luddite. The phone I use still flips open. I do not have a data plan. I inherited my husband’s old phone when he went over to the dark side, and was quite excited to finally have a QWERTY keyboard option. Friending me on Facebook offers little beyond practice in dealing with abandonment and not taking it personally. And my tendency to forget to charge my phone or to turn it back on after silencing it at a play or movie is a constant source of frustration to my nonvirtual friends.

At the same time, I am fascinated and even thrilled by the avenues for creativity, discovery and learning the Internet provides. For example, through random videos on the web, I have been able to hear amazing singers and musicians, been touched by social projects working to make a difference, gotten a sense of what it’s like to sail through the Alps wearing a wingsuit, witnessed feats of physical daring and emotional caring, learned how to make a killer plum jam, and developed a healthy respect for the honey badger.

By Suzanne Schrag
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Tags: Social media, ETR, Technology
My Take: Seeing Relationships: Best Next Steps in STD/HIV/Pregnancy Prevention
August 22, 2014

My Take: Seeing Relationships: Best Next Steps in STD/HIV/Pregnancy Prevention

By Karin Coyle, PhD

ETR's research team is testing some exciting new programs that ask middle and high school students to consider the ways romantic relationships influence their sexual choices and risks. We call this “contextualizing” sexual and reproductive health education—that is, using the context of relationships to build health-promoting information, attitudes and behaviors.

By Karin Coyle, PhD
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Tags: HIV-AIDS, Sexual and reproductive health, Teens, Sex education, STDs, Pregnancy prevention, Evidence-based interventions
Tracking Latino Attitudes & Behavior: Math Pathways Steps Up to the Challenge
August 15, 2014

Tracking Latino Attitudes & Behavior: Math Pathways Steps Up to the Challenge

By Eloy Ortiz, MURP | August 15, 2014
Research Associate, ETR

ETR’s Science Department has conducted many longitudinal studies, on topics ranging from health behaviors to computer science interests. We’ve usually surveyed students in class or online, and often our biggest challenge is just getting a consent form signed and returned by the parents. Once we have consent, we work with the students, gather and analyze data, and write up the results.

The Math Pathways project is different because it involves gathering detailed information from mothers and students, as well as teachers. The goal of the study is to gather information that can be used to increase mathematics achievement among Latino students. We needed to meet individually with both the mother and the student outside of class. This created some challenges that helped us learn a lot more about the lives of these students and their families.

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Tags: STEM, Diversity in technology, Technology education, Families, Elementary school
My Take: Using Digital Tools to Support Sexual Health
June 25, 2014

My Take: Using Digital Tools to Support Sexual Health

Leslie Kantor, MPH

If you work in sexual and reproductive health, you know that the world today is different from the world of only a few years ago. Changes in social media and the digital environment affect norms, risks and behaviors among young people. I’m Vice President of Education for Planned Parenthood, and our organization has some promising new tools that combine what’s known about effective sex education with what young people like to do online. They provide a model that can be helpful across a range of health issues.

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Tags: Planned Parenthood, Teens, Social media, Technology, Sexual and reproductive health
My Take: Student Wellness Succeeds
May 20, 2014

My Take: Student Wellness Succeeds

By Jessica Colvin, MSW, MPH, PPSC

When you were in high school did you ever wish you had a safe place to get support? I’m lucky enough to work in a program that allows students to do just that. The Wellness Program helps students access services to support their emotional and physical health, and feel empowered to use those services when they need them. And not just while they’re in school, but beyond school and into their adult lives.

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Tags: School health, High school
My Take: Business Tools Can Help You Promote Health. Really.
April 24, 2014

My Take: Business Tools Can Help You Promote Health. Really.

By Matt McDowell

Quick: what do you think when you hear the words, “We really need to market that health program.” Or how about, “We could sure use some cutting-edge business tools to make this health program stronger.”

If you’re like a lot of people I’ve met in the worlds of public health, health care and nonprofits, you may be recoiling in horror—or at least shaking your head. Here’s what people often tell me about marketing and business tools.

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Tags: Nonprofit marketing
Thinking Research: Social Justice, Technology and Meaning
April 17, 2014

Thinking Research: Social Justice, Technology and Meaning

By Yethzell Diaz | April 17, 2014

First, let me be clear about something. I am not a techie. At all. The first time I interacted with a computer was probably in seventh grade. Technology stuff was completely foreign to me. My family and friends didn’t know about it. And there wasn’t someone we could turn to for guidance.

I did, however, become a student at University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), majoring in sociology, and at one point I desperately needed to get into a popular class. A hundred students were competing for ten open spots. How was I going to swing it?

By Yethzell Diaz
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Tags: Research, Technology, Social justice
My Take: Using New Media for Greater Engagement
March 25, 2014

My Take: Using New Media for Greater Engagement

By Jay M. Bernhardt, PhD, MPH | March 25, 2014

There's a revolution in the ways people communicate and it’s affecting every one of us. You’re participating in it right now by reading an article onscreen that probably came to you through email or a web search, rather than reading a printed product that arrived in a paper envelope. The use of new media has transformed our personal lives and the way we work, and it’s also changing the work of state and local health departments.

 

Communication is a critical foundation of the work that health departments perform every day. To be effective, they need to talk with and listen to their diverse communities and partners in order to engage their constituents on important health issues.

 

Traditional, or “old media,” still plays an important role in the work of most health departments. They may use press releases, news conferences, interviews, reports, posters and mailings to disseminate their information to various target audiences. But most departments also see that “new media,” including online and mobile resources and social networks, has become an essential part of effective public health.

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Tags: Social media, Health promotion, Technology
Thinking Research: 40-Year-Old Single Male Seeks Fun Sex
March 18, 2014

Thinking Research: 40-Year-Old Single Male Seeks Fun Sex

By Anne Freiwald, MPH | March 18, 2014

I recently found myself at the 40th birthday party of a male friend. At the end of the evening, I was the only woman at the table, listening to male friends discuss online dating, sexual activities and preferences. They were comparing notes on how to meet new partners, including the use of some cool new dating apps. Most of these men were newly divorced or separated, and it was what some might call a racy conversation—each wanting to outdo the other.

The conversation was rich with the sorts of questions, assumptions and perceptions researchers like me get lost in. I was listening for themes and thinking about areas where I needed to gather additional information.

My inner researcher sat up and started asking myself questions. “What do STD rates look like among men in this age cohort?” “How likely is condom use in this population?” “How would they know if had a STD?” “Where would they get checked? Would they get checked?”

By Anne Freiwald, MPH
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Tags: Men, Sexual and reproductive health, STDs
My Take: Online Learning and the Future of School Health Education
March 10, 2014

My Take: Online Learning and the Future of School Health Education

By Joseph A. Dake, PhD, MPH, FASHA | March 10, 2014

I recently went to a lecture by Salman Khan of Khan Academy to hear him talk about his vision of a “One World Schoolhouse.” I was familiar with Khan Academy—my sixth-grade son is using it to learn Java programming—but I was skeptical of this push toward online education.

 

I’d heard recently that some middle and high schools were considering the development of 100% online options to satisfy their health education requirements. As a faculty member who teaches future health educators, and as a person married to a national-award-winning high school health teacher, I saw many problems with this. I wanted to learn more about Khan’s approach and the way he sees the future of education.

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Tags: Technology, Health education, K-12
My Take: Make It Brief and Work It
February 26, 2014

My Take: Make It Brief and Work It

By Debra Christopher, MSM | February 26, 2014

I was recently on a business trip in New York City. While roaming the city one evening after dinner, I passed by a street vendor who was selling small canvas bags with colorful messages stamped on the sides. One message caught my eye, and it’s turned into a new mantra for my professional development work. The message: “Make it brief . . . and work it!”

This statement relates directly to what the science of learning tells us about how the human brain functions—specifically, how human memory systems operate. We know the human brain holds information in short-term memory for only about 18 seconds. If that information isn’t attached to something quite meaningful, or if there’s no time to organize the information and process its relevance, it leaves the brain as quickly as it entered. Without some type of emotional hook or cognitive engagement, the content simply cannot stick.

By Debra Christopher, MSM
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Tags: Professional development, Training design
My Take: Going Intergenerational - Our Next Chapter in Leadership
February 20, 2014

My Take: Going Intergenerational - Our Next Chapter in Leadership

By Deb Levine, MA, & Jamia Wilson, MA | February 20, 2014

We are the president and executive director of YTH (Youth+Tech+Health), an organization committed to advancing the health of youth and young adults through technology, and we’ve got a pitch for you: if you work with young people, you can improve effectiveness by sharing leadership with them.

We mean sharing leadership in a substantive way—giving over the reins for a good part of the journey. Sound impractical, or impossible, or scary? It’s not. You can take that leap.

At YTH, we’ve recently implemented a model of intergenerational leadership ourselves. We fully expect this new leadership structure to expand our opportunities, build our potential, and shape the direction of our organization into the future.

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Tags: Teens, YTH, Youth voice
My Take: Believing in Young People
January 22, 2014

My Take: Believing in Young People

By Elizabeth Schroeder, EdD, MSW | January 22, 2014

I’m the executive director for Answer, a national organization dedicated to providing and promoting unfettered access to sexuality education for young people and the adults who teach them.

There is so much misunderstanding today about what sexuality education is. Most people tend to think it only has to do with preventing pregnancy and infections. But when we refer to “sexuality education,” we’re talking far more holistically. This enables us to promote overall sexual health and education, while also ensuring that young people know how to prevent an unintended pregnancy and STDs.

 

We believe strongly that sexuality education should start early, meaning it should be basic at younger ages and build in complexity as a young person grows. It’s an egregious mistake when lessons on sexuality—whether at home or in school—don’t begin until the teen years.

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Tags: Teens, Sex education, Answer
My Take: Adolescent Sexual Exploitation - New Keys for Prevention
January 15, 2014

My Take: Adolescent Sexual Exploitation - New Keys for Prevention

By Pamela Anderson, PhD | January 15, 2014

Those of us at ETR who work in the area of sexual and reproductive health agree that healthy sexual development is an issue of human rights, and that coercion-free, violence-free relationships are essential to healthy sexuality. For over 30 years, we’ve pursued research that helps us better understand what promotes sexual health, as well as what interferes with it.

In recent years, our research has led us to bring more emphasis to the context in which sexual risk behaviors may occur among youth, particularly with respect to the importance of romantic relationships.

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Tags: HIV-AIDS, Teens, Human trafficking, Sexual and reproductive health, Violence prevention
My Take: Dual Use Approaches to Preventing Teen Pregnancy and STIs
January 9, 2014

My Take: Dual Use Approaches to Preventing Teen Pregnancy and STIs

By Amy Peterson, MSc | January 9, 2014

Late last year, several ETR colleagues and I presented at the Healthy Teen Network’s annual conference in Savannah, Georgia. The theme was “Embracing Innovation: Combining Science with Creativity to Improve Adolescent Health.” About 30 participants joined ETR staffer Bruce Weiss and me as we discussed strategies for addressing unintended pregnancy and STIs among young people through the dual use of long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs) and condoms.

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Tags: Teens, Birth control, LARCs, Pregnancy prevention, Sexual and reproductive health
My Take: Conversations from the Field - What Does Making a Difference Look Like?
November 20, 2013

My Take: Conversations from the Field - What Does Making a Difference Look Like?

By Lisa Unti, MPH | November 20, 2013

Have you ever wondered if the work you do makes a difference? Beyond the paperwork and meetings, the mandates and requirements… What does making a difference look like?

Many of us have multiple roles as parents, mentors and health and education professionals. My own perspective as a mother and researcher working in the field of sexual and reproductive health and evaluation for over 20 years informs and shapes my work. The intersection of these multiple roles gives all of us extraordinary opportunities to make a difference. Here’s one that came to me recently.

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Tags: Research, Teens, Sexual and reproductive health
My Take: Focus Groups - Real Data or Just Chatter?
November 11, 2013

My Take: Focus Groups - Real Data or Just Chatter?

By B.A. Laris, MPH | November 13, 2013

How often have you wished you had a good quote or interesting comment to help make a point in a report or proposal? Have you ever needed to test materials for comprehension or readability? Do you want to understand people’s reactions to your programs or services?

Focus groups are a great way to gather in-depth descriptive data that can illustrate nuances of opinions in a way surveys can’t … but is the data real?

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Tags: Research, Evaluation, Focus groups

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