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.)


Weaving the Thread: A Life's Work in HIV/AIDS Prevention and Service
December 1, 2015

Weaving the Thread: A Life's Work in HIV/AIDS Prevention and Service

By Tanya Henderson, PhD | December 1, 2015
Project Director, Community Impact Solutions, ETR

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

—Mark Twain

When I first heard this quote, it really hit home with me. I was always a planner, a bit of an overachiever, but things really didn’t come together for me until I began doing work in the HIV/AIDS arena. Today, on World AIDS Day, I reflect not only on what I see as my calling, but also why I do this work.

In the early days of this new millennium, HIV/AIDS was one of the top five health disparities affecting African Americans and underrepresented minorities in the U.S. This was also true in my hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. I don’t think I’d fully understood to that point that a disease like HIV could run rampant, so disproportionately affecting some communities.

HIV was sexually transmitted and surrounded by great stigma and misinformation. It was sometimes passed between people who loved one another deeply. All of this tugged at my heart strings.

During this time, I first heard of the death of someone I knew. 

By Tanya Henderson, PhD
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Tags: HIV-AIDS, HIV, World AIDS Day, Community Impact Solutions Project
Integrating Sexual Violence Prevention into Comprehensive Sexual Health Education: 3 Recommendations
November 17, 2015

Integrating Sexual Violence Prevention into Comprehensive Sexual Health Education: 3 Recommendations

By Andrea Gerber, MSEd, & Kari Kesler, MA | November 16, 2015
Public Health, Seattle & King County

The topic of sexual violence on college campuses has received much attention in the media recently. Many colleges are clamoring to implement or improve education programs in an attempt to reduce the number of rapes perpetrated on their campus.

These high-profile cases have left many people wondering if education about sexual violence prevention shouldn’t start younger, perhaps much younger. What role can sexual health education in middle and high schools play in this effort?

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Tags: Violence prevention, Sexual violence prevention, Sexual and reproductive health, Sexual assault prevention
Coding Is Cool, But What About Teacher Education and Effective Curriculum Design?
November 13, 2015

Coding Is Cool, But What About Teacher Education and Effective Curriculum Design?

By Betül Czerkawski, PhD | November 13, 2015
Associate Professor of Educational Technology, University of Arizona

In recent years there has been a strong emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education for a number of reasons. Strong STEM education allows us to:

  • Train the workforce we need for the digital era
  • Solve pressing and complex problems of our new digital world
  • Compete economically with other nations
  • Increase scientific research that will lead to innovation in all fields

STEM education has two key foci that provide support to all of these outcomes. The first is training new generations in STEM professions. How do we make sure our children and youth are ready to step up and lead in these fields?

The second is implementing strategies that develop computational thinking (CT) skills in all students—even those who are not planning to select STEM-related professions themselves.

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Tags: Research, Evaluation, STEM, Computer science education, Computational thinking, Teachers, Instructional design
Tap Into Your Inner Scientist
November 11, 2015

Tap Into Your Inner Scientist

By Vignetta Charles, PhD | November 10, 2015
Chief Science Officer, ETR

I’m not only a scientist! People also play me on TV!

Well, actually, that’s Mr. Spock, Chief Science Officer from Star Trek and the starship Enterprise. I’m Vignetta Charles, the new Chief Science Officer at ETR. Which, by the way, has its headquarters on Enterprise Way. Coincidence? I think not.

I embrace the challenge to live up to the esteemed reputation of my job title. Indeed, we all can tap into our inner scientists. And, taking to heart the advice of my Vulcan mentor—“Insufficient facts always invite danger”—I’d like to suggest we all make the effort to be scientists in our work, no matter what our role. 

By Vignetta Charles, PhD
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Tags: Science, Research, Evaluation, Evidence
Tic-Tic Boom: Being the Work and Doing the Work
October 29, 2015

Tic-Tic Boom: Being the Work and Doing the Work

By Michael Everett, MHS | October 29, 2015
Project Coordinator, ETR

What responsibility do HIV/AIDS organizations have concerning the wellness of staff who are also Black men who have sex with men?

I have pondered this question often throughout my 15-year career in HIV services. 

By Michael Everett, MHS
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Tags: HIV-AIDS, HIV, MSM, Black MSM, Webinar
National Health Education Week: A Few of Our Heroes
October 22, 2015

National Health Education Week: A Few of Our Heroes

By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | October 22, 2015
Senior Editor, ETR

Here’s a shout out to SOPHE—the Society for Public Health Education. They’re the hosts of National Health Education Week, which we are thoroughly enjoying. (Check the hashtag #NHEW2015 on Twitter for some fine content.)

They started the week by asking us to reflect on our health education heroes. This theme has started some great conversations here at ETR. I asked a few of my colleagues who their heroes are and why. Here’s what they said.

By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES
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Tags: Public health, Health education
The Cost of the Closet: Reflections on Gay Men and National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
October 15, 2015

The Cost of the Closet: Reflections on Gay Men and National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

By Michael Everett, MHS | October 15, 2015
Project Coordinator, ETR

Confinement has its costs. There are costs to being confined physically, emotionally, sexually, mentally or spatially for any period of time. You can often tell when people have grown up in isolation, or with little social interaction. They seem unprepared for social exchanges.

I have seen a version of this with members of the LGBT community. We grow up and discover that what we feel on the inside is seen as wrong in the larger world around us. We learn that who we are “goes against” religious and historical principles.

This can really do a number on you.

By Michael Everett, MHS
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Tags: National Gay Mens HIV-AIDS Awareness Day, HIV-AIDS, Coming out, HIV, MSM, Community Impact Solutions Project, LGBTQ
Presumed Competence: Reaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
October 13, 2015

Presumed Competence: Reaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

By Deirdre Hickey Sturm, BCBA, CCC-SLP  | October 13, 2015
Program Director, Including Special Kids & Clinical Director, Special Kids Crusade

Imagine, for a moment, that you’re back in middle or high school. Your class is about to explore a topic that really interests you. You can hardly wait for your teacher to get started.

And now imagine that you aren’t able to mention to anyone that this is a favorite topic. You cannot pick up your pencil to show that you’re ready to take notes and learn. You aren’t quite able to bring your eyes up to meet your teacher’s gaze. Instead, you look at a spot on the floor, ears wide open and eager. Suddenly your hands are flapping in excitement.

And then, one of these scenarios unfolds.

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Tags: K-12, Special needs students, Autism spectrum disorder
Are You a Social Innovator? 4 Methods to Create Social Innovation
October 5, 2015

Are You a Social Innovator? 4 Methods to Create Social Innovation

By Tamara Kuhn, MA | October 5, 2015
Research Scientist & Director of Technology, dfusion

I’ve had an interest in innovation since childhood. I was thrilled by the technological wonder of my Easy-Bake Oven. I marveled over the magic of freeze-dried ice cream you could take on camping trips.

Later, I felt genuine affection for my first Polaroid camera and my Commodore 64 in all its boxy computer glory. As an adult, I was pretty dazzled by the first iPhone, a magical device offering constant Internet access and the ability to locate the nearest Starbucks with the flick of a finger. 

By Tamara Kuhn, MA
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Tags: Innovation, Social innovation, dfusion
Sleep Disorders in Veterans: Effective Non-Pharmacologic Treatments
October 1, 2015

Sleep Disorders in Veterans: Effective Non-Pharmacologic Treatments

By Allison Siebern, PhD, CBSM | October 1, 2015
Sleep Health Integrative Program, Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Fayetteville, NC

When I tell people that I’m a sleep psychologist, their first response is usually to tell me how they sleep. Sleeping is a universal process that everyone can relate to in one way or another. Because it is something we all do, there is little stigma or hesitation in discussing it openly.

One population that is greatly affected by sleep disruption is veterans. It is estimated that veterans are four times more likely to be affected by sleep issues than the general population. This is why I joined the Veterans Administration (VA) as a frontline provider. I love the field of sleep medicine and want to help veterans improve their sleep. 

By Allison Siebern, PhD
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Tags: Sleep, Veterans, Cognitive behavioral treatments
USCA 2015: The Numbers Don't Lie. End the Disparities!
September 17, 2015

USCA 2015: The Numbers Don't Lie. End the Disparities!

By Jacqueline Peters | September 17, 2015
Administrative Specialist & Trainer, ETR

The last time I was in DC was in the mid-nineties. Four presidents and two generations later, I found myself heading to the nation’s capital for the United States Conference on AIDS (USCA). I would be representing ETR’s Community Impact Solutions Program (CISP) in our booth and around the conference.

I am new to the world of AIDS service and prevention, and this was my first foray into a national conference focused entirely on HIV/AIDS. I was excited. I was nervous. I was curious.

I was ready for USCA 2015.

By Jacqueline Peters
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Tags: HIV-AIDS, Community Impact Solutions Project, Conference
How School Mental Health Programs Can Help You Prevent Crises
September 15, 2015

How School Mental Health Programs Can Help You Prevent Crises

By Alicia Rozum, MSW, PPSC | September 15, 2015
Project Director, Mental Health, California School-Based Health Alliance

Student mental health is a big concern among educators. Over 20% of youth have a diagnosed mental health disorder. Many classroom behavioral issues, such as acting out, poor self-regulation and attention issues, are related to mental health concerns.

By Alicia Rozum, MSW, PPSC
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Tags: K-12, Schools, Mental health, School mental health
Halt the Hookah! 4 Practical Steps to Better Prevention
September 8, 2015

Halt the Hookah! 4 Practical Steps to Better Prevention

By Narinder Dhaliwal, MA | September 8, 2015
Project Director, Calfiornia's Clean Air Project, ETR

Hookah. The very word brings a sense of excitement to the minds of many young adults. Not only can they sit around a table among friends and smoke, they can share this beautiful, ornate device that makes it an extra-special experience!

What was once a cultural tradition dating back 500 years in Middle East regions of the world has become a trend. It’s “cool,” “sexy,” “fun,” “relaxing.”

By Narinder Dhaliwal, MA
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Tags: Tobacco, Hookah
Older Americans with HIV: Voices from the Community
September 3, 2015

Older Americans with HIV: Voices from the Community

By Tanya Henderson, PhD | September 3, 2015
Program Director, Community Impact Solutions Program, ETR

In my companion blog post, “HIV and Older Adults: 6 Steps to Building Better Awareness,” I discuss some of the issues we need to address if we want to succeed in HIV prevention efforts with older Americans. However, no understanding of these matters can be complete without the voices of people living the reality of being over 50 and coping with HIV.

I am extremely grateful to three people in that circumstance—Vanessa, Ed and Kathy—who took the time to share their experiences with me. Here are some of the things they had to say.

By Tanya Henderson, PhD
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Tags: HIV-AIDS, Older adults, Community voices
HIV and Older Adults: 6 Steps to Building Better Awareness
September 3, 2015

HIV and Older Adults: 6 Steps to Building Better Awareness

By Tanya Henderson, PhD | September 3, 2015
Project Director, Community Impact Solutions Program, ETR

September 18 is the 8th annual National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day (NHAAAD). NHAAAD focuses on the challenging issues facing the aging population regarding HIV prevention, testing, care and treatment

The campaign, spearheaded by The AIDS Institute, seeks to:

  • Reach people living with HIV/AIDS who are either aging with the disease or over 50 at the time of their initial diagnosis.
  • Increase the use of protection from HIV infection, especially among the baby boomer population (people born from 1946 to 1964; they are now between 51 and 70 years of age).
  • Support the increasing number of grandparents becoming primary guardians for children who have lost their parent(s) to HIV/AIDS.

At ETR’s Community Impact Solutions Program, we think it’s also important for everyone of every age to understand the message that unsafe practices can put anyone at risk for HIV. Whether you’re young or old, your age will not protect you.

By Tanya Henderson, PhD
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Tags: HIV-AIDS, Older adults, NHAAAD, Community Impact Solutions Project
Training for the Future: Online Professional Development is Changing Our World!
September 1, 2015

Training for the Future: Online Professional Development is Changing Our World!

By Dan Rice & Nicole Cushman, MPH | September 1, 2015
Director of Training, Answer & Executive Director, Answer

Follow me @<insert creative name here>!
Find out what’s trending today with #yourfavoritetopic.
Tell all your friends to like our page!!!!

The writing is on the screen! Technology has enabled us to access information in myriad digital forms and changed how we interact with the world around us.

Today, people turn to the Internet for everything from personal and professional correspondence to researching the latest trends. Educators are no exception. They’re searching for new ways to integrate technology into the classroom to further engage their students in all different subject areas. Many are also looking online for the most up-to-date professional development opportunities.

Why are so many professionals seeking out online professional development?

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Tags: Professional development, Online learning, Answer
A Nonprofit Storytelling Activity
August 27, 2015

A Nonprofit Storytelling Activity

By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | August 27, 2015
Senior Editor, ETR

Heard any good stories lately? Particularly about the work you do and the positive impact your organization has in the world?

Here at ETR, we’ve been thinking about these kinds of stories ever since we read Joan Singson’s blog post on Storytelling for Sustainability. We decided to do an all-staff activity where we explored some of the stories we have to tell about ETR’s work.

By Marcia Quackenbush
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Tags: ETR, Storytelling, Organizational development
College Sexual Assault: Apps to Address the Problem
August 20, 2015

College Sexual Assault: Apps to Address the Problem

By Monica Sun | August 20, 2015
MPH Student, Tulane University | 2015 Kirby Summer Intern, ETR

Currently, there is heated debate on how colleges are handling campus sexual assault cases. One in every 4 or 5 women (between 20%-25%) will experience a sexual assault during her academic year. Nearly 5% of college women will face this experience in any calendar year. These statistics emphasize the significance of the issue and the importance of finding mechanisms to reduce these rates.

Within the U.S. Congress, both the House of Representatives and the Senate have introduced bills (H.R.1490 and S.706) that require colleges receiving certain types of federal funding to designate an independent advocate to oversee campus sexual assault prevention and responses. A bipartisan group of representatives has just introduced a bill (H.R.2680) designed to remedy the tendency of colleges to cover up and under-report incidents.

It’s not only the government that is trying to improve efforts of colleges to effectively investigate sexual assault cases. Many organizations are developing mobile apps for students and young adults to use to protect themselves with the involvement of the community.

By Monica Sun
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Tags: Mobile apps, Sexual assault prevention, College
The Best Health Ed Curriculum for Your School? Here's Your Answer!
August 18, 2015

The Best Health Ed Curriculum for Your School? Here's Your Answer!

By Susan Telljohann, HSD, CHES | August 18, 2015
Professor Emeritus, Department of Health Education, The University of Toledo

Something quite remarkable has occurred over the past two decades in the field of school health education. We’ve gotten evidence!

We’ve explored, examined, tested and refined everything we know about how to provide meaningful, effective health education in school settings. We know enough now to design and deliver programs that have a true impact.How do schools committed to program success choose the program that’s going to work best in their setting?

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Tags: School health, Evidence-based interventions, Evidence-informed interventions, Health education, K-12
Why I'm an Advocate--and Why You Should Be One Too
August 17, 2015

Why I'm an Advocate--and Why You Should Be One Too

By Vignetta Charles, PhD | August 17, 2015
Chief Science Officer, ETR

At a recent meeting with others working in the nonprofit world, I was telling colleagues about an Action Alert I’d just received. It was sent out by one of the many advocacy listservs to which I subscribe. The people at my lunchtime table all reeled in horror.

“You can’t do that!” they exclaimed. “That’s lobbying. You’re federally funded.”

By Vignetta Charles, PhD
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Tags: Advocacy, Nonprofits

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