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.)


Parent Power: Get Sex Ed Out of the Closet!
April 14, 2016

Parent Power: Get Sex Ed Out of the Closet!

By Barb Flis | April 14, 2016
Founder, Parent Action for Healthy Kids

Are parents resisting comprehensive sex education in our schools? They’re certainly taking the rap for this. I still wonder why this is so when the polar opposite is true—parents are far more likely to be allies and advocates.

Too often, when it comes to sex ed, we fear parents rather than embrace them. I’d like to suggest a re-frame. Parents can be powerful people when we need support for effective sex education in schools. 

By Barb Flis
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Tags: K-12, Parents, Sex education
Real-World Health Education: Putting the 15 Characteristics to Work
April 11, 2016

Real-World Health Education: Putting the 15 Characteristics to Work

By Susan Telljohann, HSD, CHES | April 11, 2016
Professor Emeritus, Department of Health Education, The University of Toledo

I want to talk to you about power—the power you have to influence students and support them in choosing healthy behaviors. I also want to tell you about one of the most effective tools you can use to put that power to work in the real world of your classrooms and schools.

This is a concrete, research-proven resource that educators can put to work simply, right now, to build greater success with students. And yes, as you may have guessed from the title of this post, that tool is the 15 Characteristics of An Effective Health Education Curriculum.

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Tags: K-12, School health education, Health education, 15 Characteristics of Effective Health Education
HIV: Let's Change What We're Doing and End This Epidemic
April 4, 2016

HIV: Let's Change What We're Doing and End This Epidemic

By Thomas Davis | April 4, 2016
HRC Youth Ambassador

I haven’t always been an outspoken young man. I learned to be outspoken when I was diagnosed with HIV.

After the counselor told me, “Your test is positive,” I didn’t know what to expect. I wanted examples. I wanted to hear stories from people like me. But there was not a lot of representation from young Black men going through this.

I thought, “Okay. I need to be the example. I am not afraid to share this.” So I started to tell my story among my friends and in my community. 

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Tags: HIV-AIDS, HIV, Community Impact Solutions Project, Youth voice, LGBTQ youth, Underrepresented youth
Celebrating National Public Health Week
April 1, 2016

Celebrating National Public Health Week

By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | April 1, 2016
Senior Editor, ETR

I love working for an organization that’s making a difference in the world of public health. And that’s one of the reasons I’m grateful to the American Public Health Association for promoting National Public Health Week (April 4-10). There’s no better way to reflect on the power and potential of this extraordinary field.

Here are a few of the public health issues that have been on the radar at ETR over the past year. We’re watching some because of impressive reductions we’ve seen in risky behaviors. Others raise intriguing challenges and questions, and we’re eager to see how these issues develop in the future.

By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES
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Tags: Public health, Health promotion
National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day: Let Our Youth Speak
March 30, 2016

National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day: Let Our Youth Speak

By Dontá Morrison | March 30, 2016
Co-Founder, 6in10.org

In honor of National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day, we need to reflect on the advances youth themselves have made in the fight against HIV. I’m an advocate who works closely with the younger generation. I’ve been privileged to hear some remarkable stories about the steps they’re taking to get the word out.

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Tags: HIV-AIDS, HIV, Community Impact Solutions Project, NYHAAD, Youth voice, Underrepresented youth, LGBTQ youth
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
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
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
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.

By John Shields, PhD, MSW
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Tags: Research, Evaluation, Big data, K-12, Technology
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.

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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
"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
Women & STEM: College Vs. Coding Boot Camps
January 28, 2016

Women & STEM: College Vs. Coding Boot Camps

By Louise Ann Lyon, PhD | January 28, 2016
Senior Research Associate, ETR

All my family, friends and colleagues know I’m a researcher interested in diversifying STEM. This means that I’m constantly receiving articles from them about all kinds of efforts being made to entice more girls/women and minorities to study or work in STEM fields—computer science in particular, as that has been my focus.

By Louise Ann Lyon, PhD
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Tags: STEM, Diversity in technology
Including LGBTQ Youth in Pregnancy Prevention: Why It Matters
January 13, 2016

Including LGBTQ Youth in Pregnancy Prevention: Why It Matters

By Karen Stradford, LCSW, & Madeline Travers, MPH | January 13, 2016
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

The teen pregnancy rate in the United States is one of the highest in industrialized nations. New York City has one of the higher pregnancy rates in the country. The borough of the Bronx has a rate 45% higher than the national rate (61.7 per 1,000 females aged 15-19 years), with approximately 9% of teens (15-19 years old) becoming pregnant. At the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, our work is to address the disproportionally higher rate of teen pregnancy in certain neighborhoods.

So how do LGBTQ youth fit into this picture?

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Tags: LGBTQ, LGBTQ youth, Evidence-based interventions, Reducing the Risk, High school, Sex education, Transgender issues
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.

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Tags: Community partnerships, Rural, Teens, Sexual and reproductive health
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.

By Alicia Rozum, MSW, PPSC
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Tags: K-12, School mental health, Trauma, Mental health, School health
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.

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Tags: New products, LGBTQ, LGBTQ youth, Evidence-based interventions, Sexual and reproductive health

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