ETR's exceptional cadre of professional trainers consists of experts in professional learning, health education, and HIV, STD and pregnancy prevention. In addition to our on-staff trainers featured below, we work with a network of skilled professional development consultants throughout the United States.
As Director of Professional and Organizational Development Services at ETR, Debra Christopher leads a strategic initiative to establish ETR as the national leader for research-based instructional practices—those that are current, innovative, learner centered and pedagogically sound, and that result in the transfer of learning. She is a nationally recongized professional development consultant, specializing in instructional design, training and facilitation skills, and the neuroscience link to learning.
Previously, Deb served as the director of the Professional Development Partnership (PDP), a 9-year national initiative funded by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In that role, she led a national team that worked with over 200 leaders from state and local education agencies and non-governmental national organizations to strengthen their capacity to provide quality, evidence-based prevention programs to youth. She has also worked as a health educator/prevention specialist in the Colorado departments of health and education and is a former middle and high school health education teacher.
She earned her BA degree in health education from the University of Northern Colorado and an MSM degree in business management/organizational development from Regis University. She is also a graduate of the National Staff Development Council Academy, a member of the national Brain Matters Leadership Group, and is certified in conducting the MBTI personality inventory.
Regina Firpo-Triplett is currently the principal investigator on two projects funded by the National Institute on Mental Health: RTRworks! and FOY 24/7. These research and development projects focus on developing effective online skills-based training to prepare educators to lead evidence-based curricula (Reducing the Risk and Focus on Youth with ImPACT, respectively). She also serves as director on the statewide Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Project and the Resource Center for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (ReCAPP). As past director of two adaptation guidance projects funded by the Office of Adolescent Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she provides workshops, webinars and technical assistance on best practices for adapting evidence-based interventions.
Regina has a broad background in health education and training, with over 25 years of experience in developing and implementing health promotion programs for youth and youth-serving professionals related to HIV, pregnancy and substance use prevention. She has designed, coordinated and managed multiple training and education projects serving educators and youth from a variety of settings including school, juvenile justice, community-based organizations, clinics and homeless shelters throughout the United States. Prior to working at ETR, she served as the Director of Health Education for the Los Angeles County Juvenile Health Department, overseeing multiple HIV prevention, testing and counseling programs. She got her start in the field as a family life educator with a Los Angeles based Information and Education (I&E) project serving incarcerated and detained youth.
She earned her BS in biology at Loyola Marymount University and her MPH in school and community health education at California State University, Northridge.
Amy Peterson, MSc, is a project coordinator and professional development specialist at ETR. Currently, she coordinates an agency-wide initiative to implement research-based practices in professional development that result in the transfer of learning and program implementation. In addition, she serves on the ETR science team where she supports a number of dissemination efforts. Ms. Peterson previously served as the project director of Survive Outside, a nationwide capacity building project funded by the CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health.
Prior to her work at ETR, Ms. Peterson was the coordinator for a middle school education program at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. In that role, she worked directly with culturally and economically diverse school populations—including teachers, parents and students—across Los Angeles County to implement a comprehensive sexual health education program.
Ms. Peterson received her Master of Science in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her primary study focus was health promotion and the impact of the school environment on adolescent sexual behavior. She is a certified Family Planning Health Worker.
Cody Sigel, MPH, CHES, is a Professional Development Consultant at ETR. Her professional background has focused on sexual and reproductive health education, training and capacity building. In her previous role at the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential, Ms. Sigel designed and implemented tailored trainings and technical assistance for four teen pregnancy prevention programs, including a 5-year initiative funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In her current role at ETR, Ms. Sigel manages and designs science-based trainings for professionals on how to effectively implement ETR’s evidence-based sexuality education programs. Along with her experience providing training and technical assistance to professionals, she has provided STD/HIV and pregnancy prevention counseling and testing to low-income youth at a reproductive health clinic.
Ms. Sigel received her Master's of Public Health degree from Emory University, where she studied behavioral science and health education, with a focus on sexual health. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES).
Joan Singson is a Program Manager currently responsible for ETR’s Training and TA services for grantees of the U.S. Family and Youth Service Bureau’s Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP). She is a member of ETR’s Community Impact Solutions team that provides capacity-building training and technical assistance to grantees of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention (CDC DHAP). She also provides training on behalf of ETR’s Fee for Service Program, focused on evidence-based curricula such as Reducing the Risk, Safer Choices, Draw the Line/Respect the Line, and others.
Her previous work experience includes 10 years with a family planning clinic in San Joaquin County, California, where she developed the agency’s health education department, served as Director of Health Education and Community Services, and helped facilitate a strategic shift from providing primarily women’s reproductive health services to offering teen and male-friendly clinical services. She first came to work with ETR in 1999, serving as project liaison to the California Office of Family Planning (OFP). In that capacity, she provided technical assistance and training to grantees as well as the OFP’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention staff. She helped OFP grantees across the state increase organizational and workforce capacity, all aimed at successful program implementation and sustainability, and assisted the department in achieving its internal program goals.
In 2010, Joan joined a federally qualified health center organization, overseeing patient health education, developing chronic disease management programs, and managing a clinic expansion grant. She returned to ETR in spring of 2014. In addition to her work at ETR, she is very involved in her community, and is currently helping establish San Joaquin County’s 2-1-1 information and referral system for health and human services.
Lia Cassanego is the Professional Learning Services Specialist at ETR. In this role, she coordinates the intake and delivery of capacity-building events, both in-person and online. Previously, Ms. Cassanego worked at CAI, a New York City Based capacity-building organization. As the Sexual and Reproductive Health Capacity Building Specialist/Project Manager at CAI, she was involved in the development of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) training curricula and materials, provided technical assistance and was a trainer on CAI's SRH trainings.
Ms. Cassanego has been working in the field of sexual and reproductive health for almost a decade in school and health settings. She began her work with adolescents as a Planned Parenthood volunteer, providing health education and mentorship to teenage mothers in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. This experience propelled her to seek out opportunities to engage with adolescents in a school setting. As part of AmeriCorps, Ms. Cassanego served as an academic coach and mentor to struggling and at-risk youth in a low-income high school. During this time, she drew on adolescent development theory to best support her students in navigating this unique developmental stage in a difficult environment.
Following her service in AmeriCorps, Ms. Cassanego moved into the health arena. As the Women’s Health Advocate at a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), Ms. Cassanego developed client education materials on contraceptive methods, assisted in the implementation of two family planning–related research studies conducted by UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health and Gynuity Health Projects, as well as acted as a support doula to women and adolescents undergoing reproductive health procedures.
Ms. Cassanego has a BA from UCLA and a Masters of Public Health with a certificate in Sexuality, Sexual and Reproductive Health from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
Tracy Wright is a skilled eLearning and Professional Development (PD) specialist who is currently directing the CDC-DASH PD contract. Before coming to ETR, she served as the National Network Learning Manager for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. In that capacity, she led the development and execution of an overall strategy to support the Healthy Schools Program (HSP) in delivering high-quality PD through distance-learning modalities for HSP schools. She was responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of all distance learning events offered through HSP, including live virtual trainings, on-demand trainings, webinars, tutorials and online courses. In addition, she designed and conducted virtual training and technical assistance opportunities to build the capacity of Alliance staff to design and deliver high-quality virtual learning events.
Prior to her work at the Alliance, Tracy worked at RMC Health as a PD and Distance Learning Consultant for two CDC-DASH-funded projects: the Evaluation Research Team (ERT) and the Professional Development Partnership Team (PDP). She has also served as a health education teacher at both the middle and high school levels. She is currently teaming with ETR staff to write an addendum to a recently published PD synthesis paper that will highlight the critical design variables for effective web-based learning. She holds a Master’s degree in adult education with an emphasis in distance/online learning.