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 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.
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.
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 Dontá Morrison | March 30, 2016
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
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).
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 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?
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.
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 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 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.