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Executive Director, Advocates for YouthContent Expert for AMAZE
Deb Hauser is the President and Executive Director of Advocates for Youth, an organization that partners with youth leaders, adult allies and youth-serving organizations to advocate for policies and champion programs that recognize young people’s rights to honest sexual health information, confidential sexual health services and equitable social and economic opportunities. Deb has been at the center of numerous innovations in the field of adolescent sexual health, including co-founding the Future of Sex Education—an initiative that produced the first-ever National Sexuality Education Standards, designing an innovative HIV/AIDS prevention and testing-to-treatment program on the campuses of historically black colleges and universities, expanding the Great American Condom Campaign into a ground-breaking effort to normalize condom use on more than 1,000 college campuses across the U.S., and helping to build the infrastructure of the LGBT youth movement in the Global South. Deb is committed to a cascading style of leadership that promotes youth activists as change agents and leaders in the field. Deb is a member of the CDC/HRSA Advisory Committee on HIV, Viral Hepatitis and STD Prevention and Treatment. She is proficient in Spanish and holds a Master of Public Health in Population Planning and International Health from the University of Michigan.
Project Coordinator for AMAZE
As Program Manager, Kristi Mahoney is responsible for oversight and coordination of AMAZE’s video production, marketing and branding. She excels at managing a diverse group of stakeholders and maintaining clear communication between sexual health experts, video producers, animators, web developers and the marketing and branding team. She holds a Master of Public Health from Tufts University, has a background in business administration and holds degrees in marketing and French from Lehigh University. She also serves as the co-leader of the Youth Working Group at the Funders Network for Reproductive Health and Rights and serves on the Advisory Council of the Vincent Obstetrics and Gynecology Department.
Director of International Youth Health and Rights Division, Advocates for YouthInternational Director for AMAZE
Nicole Cheetham, MHS, is the Director of the International Youth Health and Rights Division at Advocates for Youth. She has more than 20 years of experience working in international public health and provides technical assistance and training to partner organizations in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America in support of adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health and rights program design and implementation. Core areas of expertise include school-based and out-of-school sexuality education, community mobilization, peer education, youth-friendly services, parent-child communication, and youth-led advocacy. Nicole leads the organization’s international efforts on comprehensive sexuality education, with expertise in curriculum development and review and teacher training. She is the author of a teacher training module for sexuality education developed in collaboration with UNESCO and UNFPA for East and Southern Africa. Nicole holds a Masters of Health Sciences in International Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of American Sexuality Education, and speaks English, Spanish and French.
Technology and Management Advisor for AMAZE
Paul Hess specializes in management planning and execution for advanced technology projects. Paul has worked on several internet, e-commerce and content management projects such as the Attitude Network / Happy Puppy sites which at the time constituted the largest gaming related internet property on the web, and the original development of HotelDiscount.com (now Hotels.Com) which was one of the few consistently profitable e-commerce sites during the early internet bubble.
Strategic Brand Ambassador, Advocates for YouthAMAZE Program Manager
LeKara Simmons, MPH, CHES is the AMAZE Program Manager and Strategic Brand Ambassador at Advocates for Youth. In her role, she oversees the AMAZE team and project to broaden AMAZE’s reach and to expand its impact to young people across the world. Prior to Advocates, LeKara worked at a statewide organization where she managed their school-based initiative program providing training and technical assistance to K-12 teachers, staff and higher institution partners to provide their students with quality sex education and resources. She received both her undergraduate and graduate degree in Public Health from Armstrong Atlantic State University and was recently certified as an international Sex Coach with Sex Coach U.
Sex Education Program Manager, Advocates for YouthCommunications Team for AMAZE
Emily Bridges oversees Advocates’ innovative and dynamic communications strategy, including a wide array of social media properties and groundbreaking online activism campaigns. Emily manages the content of Advocates’ web sites, including www.advocatesforyouth.org, finalizes materials for publication, develops fact sheets and other educational materials, and assists staff, Advocates’ partners, and the public with research. Emily has a Master’s in Library Science from the University of Maryland and a BA in English from Towson University. She has been with Advocates since 2006.
Ben Eppard is the owner of Burwind, a Charlottesville-based studio specializing in branding, strategy, and design. He is enthusiastic about developing organizational narratives and has 12 years experience in public relations and the non-profit sector. Previously, he served as Director of Communications for Madison House, the student volunteer center at the University of Virginia.
Global Partnership Fellow, Advocates for YouthGlobal Partnership Fellow for AMAZE
Cynthia Chinchilla is AMAZE’s Global Partnerships Fellow at Advocates for Youth. Cynthia focuses on AMAZE’s international expansion through our Global Partnerships Programme by supporting collaborations with non-profit organizations, youth-centered groups, as well as multilateral and government agencies. Cynthia holds a Bachelors of Arts in International Affairs from the George Washington University. She speaks English, Spanish, and French.
Advocates for YouthInternational AMAZE Consultant
Darcy Weaver has over 15 years of experience in technical assistance, project delivery and scale-up of domestic and global sexual and reproductive health initiatives. Darcy is a Consultant for AMAZE and is responsible for expanding global partnerships and commitments. Her expertise focuses on the development and delivery of high-quality global comprehensive sexuality education (CSE). In addition, she has extensive experience in managing large-scale STI and HIV prevention, testing and support services. Prior to becoming a Consultant, she was the Senior Technical Advisor on CSE at International Planned Parenthood Federation where she led capacity building initiatives to enhance the quality of CSE delivery, improve evaluation mechanisms and expand interventions to young people in out of school and Humanitarian settings. Darcy was National Operations Manager at Terrence Higgins Trust, the largest HIV charity in the UK as well as a Sexual Health Commissioner for the National Health Service in England. She started her career as a community educator with Planned Parenthood Great Plains. Darcy holds Masters Degrees in both Public Health and Public Administration.
Senior Manager of Digital Campaign Strategy, Advocates for YouthChief Comedy Officer of AMAZE
Geoff Corey is the Senior Manager of Digital Campaign Strategy at Advocates for Youth where he develops digital campaigns that support young people in leading efforts to shift policy and programs at the local, state, and national level. He uses email, social media and other digital strategies to engage and mobilize the Youth Activist Network (YAN), a group of approximately 100,000 youth willing to take action to support people of all genders in their fight for sex education; LGBTQ health and rights; reproductive rights and justice, including access to birth control and abortion care; HIV prevention, treatment and care; and gender-based violence prevention; among others.
Geoff was previously a Digital Media Director in the U.S. Senate, where he worked on national digital campaigns to protect the Affordable Care Act, stop the border wall, defend and uplift stories of DREAMers, oppose Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, and expose human rights abuses (both abroad and within U.S. agencies, such as ICE). He also led digital rapid response efforts around the nomination of Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State. Geoff graduated from SUNY Albany, where he was the founder of GLBTQ Organizing & Educating (GOE), an activist group that successfully lobbied for gender neutral housing options on campus, and educated students around queer & trans issues.
Media Specialist for AMAZE
Inna Komarovsky-Rana is an illustrator and graphic designer who creates a wide variety of graphics for AMAZE’s events, outreach, and education. Her illustration work outside of AMAZE has focused around other education initiatives, including classroom mobile apps, science curriculum, and museum-based activities for families. Inna holds a BFA in Illustration from Rhode Island School of Design.
Programme Analyst, Adolescents and Youth,UNFPA Asia Pacific Regional Office
Maki Akiyama is the Adolescent and Youth Programme Analyst at the UNFPA Asia Pacific Regional Office. She holds a Master of Public Health and has been working in the areas of health education, adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), and youth engagement for 8 years. Prior to joining UNFPA, she worked on national school health system development in Timor-Leste as an NGO worker. She has also worked for a NGO in Belize where she provided support to school peer education and community outreach activities to promote adolescent and youth SRHR. She is particularly passionate about advocating for comprehensive sexuality education and promoting meaningful youth engagement.
Founder, Women OnlineParents Content Manager for AMAZE
Morra Aarons-Mele is an Internet marketer who has been working with women online since 1999. She is the founder of the digital cause marketing agency Women Online and its database of women influencers, The Mission List.
Morra was founding Political Director for BlogHer, and has written The Harvard Business Review, The Huffington Post, The Wall St. Journal, The New York Times, and The Guardian. She covers events from the White House to the campaign trail in her role as a blogger on women, politics, and work. She has taught at the Yale Women’s Campaign School, the Harvard Kennedy School, and at the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders forum at Harvard, as well as at the Johns Hopkins Graduate School of Communication. See where she’s at now.
AMAZE’s Global Partnership Fellow at Advocates for Youth
Naura Nabila Haryanto is AMAZE’s Global Partnership Fellow at Advocates for Youth. She will assist to support partnerships in Southeast Asia, adaptation and dissemination of sexuality education videos, and accompanying video discussion guides to meaningfully engage adolescents in Southeast Asia.
After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations, she has been advocating and empowering young people to tackle harmful gender norms through leading a gender-mainstreamed education program for high schoolers in 7 Indonesian provinces for 3 years.
Her work earned recognition from UNESCO as the Young SRHR Advocates Team to reflect on the CSE Global Status Report. She was also granted with ARROW-RHRN Changemakers Seed, where she initiated a 2-months peer-mentorship program to train 11 sex education teachers as mentors to utilize digital platforms in responding to traditional learning disruption.
Director of Sexuality Education and Training, Advocates for YouthContent Expert for AMAZE
Nora Gelperin is the Director of Sexuality Education and Training at Advocates for Youth. Nora is one of the national technical assistance providers on the Working to Institutionalize Sex Ed (WISE) initiative and has been a member of the Future of Sex Education (FoSE) initiative since it’s founding. She has more than twenty years of experience providing sexuality education to youth and professional development to school health and education professionals. Prior to joining Advocates she was the Director of Training at Answer where she founded the Training Institute in Sexual Health Education (TISHE) and Answer’s online professional development workshops. She was a community educator with Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and Planned Parenthood of Greater Northern New Jersey. Nora holds a Masters in School Health Education from Temple University was awarded a Mary Lee Tatum Award from Planned Parenthood Leaders in Education (APPLE) and has been named a 2014 Fellow of the American School Health Association.
AMAZE International Global Partnerships Fellow
Pearl Gahwera is AMAZE International’s Global Partnerships Fellow at Advocates For Youth. Pearl focuses on AMAZE’s international expansion by supporting collaborations with non-profit organizations, youth-centred groups, as well as government agencies. Pearl holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance degree from Makerere University Business School, Uganda.
Pound & Grain is a digital marketing agency founded in 2010. The Pound is big-picture digital creative and strategic thinking. The Grain is delivering results and connecting audiences. From content-driven campaigns to technical solutions, their goal is to put digital marketing ideas at the forefront. Embedded throughout is a culture of hustle as their 5 rules define who they are and what they stand for: Work hard, be nice, think big, love digital and have fun.
Senior Education Manager for AMAZE
Rachael E. Gibson, PhD, MPH, MS, MEd (she/her/ella) is the Senior Program Manager of AMAZE Education at Advocates for Youth. Dr. Gibson is an AASECT Certified Sex Educator based in Miami, Florida and Cape Town, South Africa and has taught comprehensive sexuality education all over the U.S. and the world. Dr. Gibson has over 20 years of experience in the health and sexuality education field, and currently serves on SHAPE America’s National Health Education Council. Prior to joining Advocates for Youth, Dr. Gibson was an Instructional Coach and Content Specialist in the New York City Department of Education, Office of School Wellness Programs. Dr. Gibson also spent 17 years as a secondary health education teacher in California and New York.
In addition, Dr. Gibson is an adjunct professor in Widener University’s Center for Human Sexuality Studies. Dr. Gibson’s research examines the interactions between teacher and learner identities. Her most current work titled Learner experiences of teacher gender: Associations among gender and comfort in the sexuality education classroom, offers recommendation for pre- and in-service teacher training that includes strategies for meeting the perceptions of students in affective and culturally responsive ways. Dr. Gibson holds a B.S. in Health Science from the University of Arizona, an MPH from California State University, Long Beach, a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from the City College of New York, and a Master of Education from Widener University. In her free time, she is an avid hiker, dancer, and traveler.
Senior Administrative Assistant for AMAZE
Shirley Huang is the AMAZE Senior Administrative Assistant at Advocates for Youth, where she provides administrative, and marketing/communications support to the AMAZE team. Before joining Advocates for Youth, Shirley was an Administrative Assistant and Transfer Advisor at California State University, Sacramento, where she provided students with educational resources and academic advising. She also completed a marketing and communications internship at Intel Corporation. Shirley holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from California State University, Sacramento. Outside work, Shirley enjoys traveling home to Hawaii and binge-watching shows on streaming platforms.
Youth Content Manager for AMAZE
Victoria Ogunleye is the Digital Sex Education Manager at Advocates for Youth, where she works with the Communication and Sex Education team to drive AMAZE’s youth-facing digital strategy and manage the AMAZE Youth Ambassador program. Prior to joining Advocates for Youth, Victoria was the Health Education Coordinator at Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington DC Inc, where she managed the organization’s peer education program and community health education program. Victoria has a background in intimate partner violence awareness, working with children with intellectual disabilities, and performing arts. As a former peer educator, she holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Science with a track in community health from Towson University.
Animated: Top Signs Boys are in Puberty & Talking Sexual Orientation with Jane & Being Female, Male, Transgender or Fluid & Top Signs Girls are in Puberty& Masturbation: Totally Normal & Body Image & All About Getting Your Period & Consent & Porn: Fact or Fiction? & The Jimmy Pimple Show-All About Male Puberty & Birth Control Basics: Condoms, The Pill & Patch & Is it Love? & Bullying & What is HIV?
Nadav Arbel is the founder and owner of “The moving company” animation studio, which specialize in creating high quality and original animation movies. Nadav lives and works in Israel and has almost a decade of experience in producing directing and animating 2D animation shorts. He is also a lecturer of cinema and animation at The NB Haifa School of Design.
Animated: Boobs and More
Rachel Gitlevich is a 2D Character Animator living and working in New York City. For the past 4 years she’s been with Titmouse Animation and worked on projects like Home, Ninja Turtles, China IL, Hot Wheels, SuperJail, Turbo F.A.S.T., and a handful of pilots, music videos, and commercials. They’ve worked for Dreamworks, Netflix, Adult Swim, Nickelodeon, and Disney.
As an executive creative producer, Erica brings over a decade of experience in helping for-profits, non-profits, and government organizations create powerful communication. Her area of expertise is in cause-based messaging, with a special focus on the role and implementation of video content. She is the producer of award winning projects such as The Story of Stuff video series, the Alliance for Climate Education national assembly program and the Autodesk Sustainability Workshop “Mr. Imagination” series. Erica’s experience spans the range of everything from smaller budget micro-documentary work, to animation, to longer form episodic content mixing both live-action and animation. She is passionate about storytelling as a tool for transformation.
The AMAZE team is working with: Rich Chapple & Justin Lee.
See the other brilliant animators we have worked with over the years.
“It’s good for young folks to know sooner than later, so then they can make the best decisions for themselves.”
“Young people are extremely influential and curious, and the topic of sex is almost unavoidable for them. Sometimes their exposure to the topic of sex can be in harmful, un-educational, and unhealthy ways, so that’s why it’s extremely important to properly and honestly educate them.”
“It is important for everyone to have access to honest sex ed because some adults will not give all the information or lie about some things and the natural consequences could be extreme. I was taught very honest sex ed by my mom when I was young, and I think that it would be good if everyone had the opportunity to have honest sex ed.”
“I think that all young people should have to have access to honest sex ed because it contributes to their their self image and how they perceive sex to be, therefore, it can be misconceived and altered at a young age. In some cases, sex education is provided, but it is very restrictive. During these situations, youth and teens may feel as if it is morally wrong to engage in intercourse, but the goal shouldn’t be that. It should be providing youth a safe place to deliberate any concerns and provide them with information that will assist them throughout life, and especially, how they learn it for the first time in their lives.”
“I strongly believe honest sex-ed for kids/teen is extremely important and valuable. By answering their questions about sexuality, gender, reproduction, and more, we can help kids feel more comfortable and overall happier as they grow up. Some kids aren’t in a household where they can talk freely about their questions or learn about it from their parents. These kids are susceptible to false information about sex education from others. In addition, sex ed is responsible for helping kids make healthy & safe choices about their body. I feel like honest sex education, especially in an accessible video format, is exactly what kids everywhere need.”
“I think it’s important to have people have acess to sex Ed because in order make the best choices in life you need be able to be informed on it so you can make the best decision rather then making the wrong actions in because of lack of knowledge”
“I think it’s important for them to have access to these things because in some cases a young person could be going through something where the parent doesn’t or can’t help.”
“I think it’s important because if people knew more about their bodies they would be more cautious about the things they do.”
“Young people need to understand why you want to have sex and what are safe ways to have it. There also needs to be comprehensive queer representation in sex ed.”
“It’s important that all young people have equal access to honest sex Ed because when they grow up they will be able to easily navigate a positive sexual relationship experience with another adult. They’ll be able to safely see signs of abuse or unfairness in a relationship and get help.”
“I think it’s important because people shouldn’t be disinformed.”
“I’m proud of the leadership award I received from the Rotary Club. I was grateful to receive it and have my hard work recognized.”
“Let’s be honest— teenagers will engage in sexual activity regardless of the sex-ed curriculum being taught. However, when youth aren’t given a comprehensive overview of sexual activity, it can lead to myriad negative effects, such as unplanned pregnancies, declining educational performance, and higher rates of STIs. This impacts racial and sexual minorities especially, which face high levels of stigmatization. Having a comprehensive, youth-focused, and inclusive sexual health curriculum can help to avoid this. Young people need to be equipped with the right tools and knowledge to be safe and consensual when engaging in sexual activity. To deprive youth of such a helpful curriculum would be a disservice to young people everywhere.”
“I think it is important for all young people to have access to honest sex ed so they can make smart decisions and protect themselves.”
“Without sexual education young people like myself would have no good and reliable source for information and lessons on consent, gender identity, sexuality, sexual intercourse, etc. Young people require guidance when entering all of the many twists and turns of what it means to be a teenager and what the world of sexual orientation looks like. Especially in educating young people about mental health, they are far more likely to seek help for themselves or others. Teenagers are at an extremely vulnerable age in their life and it’s extremely important that they learn about everything in a safe environment at school, before they are simply thrusted into life with little to no direction about these very important topics.”
“It is normal for people to want to have healthy relationships and to be sexual creatures. Honest sex ed helps young people to get their questions answered with facts, not just beliefs, It can help them to stay safe, feel respected, and explore their sexuality in a healthy way.”
“It is important for all young people to have access to honest sex ed because it is a very serious deal that many of us will have to deal with someday. If young people are uninformed or receive very general details of sex education in class then they might not make the best or safest choice to protect themselves in situations they can get infections or sexually transmitted diseases. It is also important because false information or myths about sex might turn into irrational fear or being uncomfortable of sex and topics related. Access to honest sex ed will also allow young people to better understand how their body is changing and what healthy choices to make involving themselves and those around them. Additionally, the curriculum covered in school for sex ed may leave out certain important details or lessons so it is really a necessity that at least young people have access to reliable sex ed to research on their own.”
“So they can be more educated and make safe choices.”
“I think it’s important for all young people have knowledge of sex Ed because does not raise rates of sexual activity, sexual risk-taking, or STI/HIV infection.”
“It is crucial for all young people to have access to honest sex ed because it will help us make more educated decisions about our lives and can make us more empathetic towards situations others may be in. We have the right to healthy lives and society is responsible to give us the sex ed that we need. Many current programs fail to reach this bar, only including parts of the crucial topics needed, often leaving out topics such as sexual violence, relationships, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Currently laws are being passed around the country to limit the sexual education and rights of many people our age, and we will not be able to speak out against this if we are not educated.”
“I think it’s important for all young people to have access to honest sex ed because in the media biased and opinionated sex ed is spread, overshadowing the factual beneficial information that all kids deserve and need. Having access to honest sex ed will help support the right information that’s being shared to kids.”
“It’s very important that all youth have access to honest sex education because as youth grow older there is information they need to feel safe comfortable and prepared for whenever they feel ready to explore their bodies. Being at a point in your life where you are stepping out of your shell and growing can be confusing and difficult. Certain conversations are avoided regarding things like this and are considered at times “awkward”. For teens all over, it can be especially hard to deal with hormones without the proper knowledge needed. It is also important because there are a lot of myths, lies, and false information being spread in households, schools and many more. This can be detrimental to the growth of many youth in many ways because they may be mislead or at times confused. Honest sex ed also helps combat sexual violence and helps youths find and feel more comfortable with themselves. It’s helps break stigma around youths having this knowledge and well equips everyone for life. In the lgbtq+ community it also important to provide young children an honest more inclusive sex Ed. Growing up, children part of the community may be excluded and possibly confused due to the exclusive nature of the information generally passed around in places like schools and homes. An honest sex Ed would also help these children feel more comfortable and possibly help those who have been misguided by stigmatism and stereotypes become a part of the conversation more.”
“I think it’s important for people to have access to honest sex ed since otherwise young people may be exposed to the wrong types of information. Young people sometimes are too gullible and may believe anything they hear. To avoid this happening, easy access to honest sex education would greatly decrease the risk of young people learning and then using the wrong type of information.”
“I believe it’s important for all young people to have access to sex ed because it helps increase safety and knowledge. When young people have access to honest sex education, it helps reduce safety risks such as unplanned pregnancies and STDs/STIs. It also helps reduce stigmas surrounding things such as virginity or abortions. Providing honest sex education classes is a gateway for debunking myths, helping LGBTQIA+ folx, creating safe spaces for sexual assault/r*pe survivors, and more!”
Executive Director, Youth Tech HealthTechnology and International Advisor for AMAZE
Bhupendra Sheoran is the Executive Director of Youth Tech Health (YTH), an organization committed to advancing youth health and wellness through technology. He began his career as a medical doctor in India and started working with young people over 15 years ago when he worked with teenage mothers to provide them with nutrition education. Sheoran has since moved into public health; designed, implemented and evaluated text messaging health campaigns; and conducted social media outreach for at-risk and hard-to-reach populations. Today he works with the YTH program team to design new media and technology programs. He also provides capacity building assistance to agencies that want to apply these technologies to their work, especially in sexual and reproductive health for young people. Sheoran holds an MBA in health management and has published articles in the Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care and the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. His work has been featured in both online and print media including POZ magazine, Aegis and BAR. Sheoran likes to bring a combination of clinical and public health knowledge and experience to address health issues at both individual and population level. He believes in compassion, respect and humility; these are the values he continues to incorporate in his work at YTH.
Country Director México & CCA at DKT Int’l
Vice President for Programming & Communications at Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes
Global Programs Manager at Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands
“Diane Bushley is the Global Programs Manager at Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands (PPGNHI), and has more than 15 years of experience in the field of sexual and reproductive health (SRH), both in the U.S. and on projects in 12 countries in the Global South. Diane manages all aspects of PPGNHI’s Global Programs, including creating overall program strategy, developing strategic partnerships, collaborating with partner organizations in the Global South to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights, and directing program marketing and communications. Current PPGNHI Global projects in the Dominican Republic and Vietnam focus on sexuality education with very young adolescents. Prior to joining PPGNHI, Diane worked in various roles with a wide variety of SRH-focused organizations, including as an educator and patient advocate at a Planned Parenthood health center in Arizona, a project manager and trainer for innovative SRH participatory action research projects in Bolivia and Peru, and as a program officer for a USAID-funded global family planning project. Diane holds a Bachelor’s degree in History and Latin American Studies from Oberlin College, and a Master of Arts in Applied Anthropology (with an emphasis on Public Health, Medical Anthropology, and International Development) from Northern Arizona University.”
Director of Health Information
Jennifer Johnsen is the Director of Health Information at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Her primary responsibility is to ensure the accuracy and educational value of the health-related content on plannedparenthood.org and on PPFA’s social networking properties. Her previous experience includes delivering sexuality education programs at Planned Parenthood Nassau County and writing a guide for pediatricians to address the sexual and reproductive health needs of their patients at the New York City Department of Health. Jennifer earned her BS in community health education and master of public health with a concentration in sexual and reproductive health from Hunter College.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Dr. Maria Trent is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with joint appointments in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in Baltimore, Maryland. She serves as the Training Director for the DC Baltimore Research Center on Child Health Disparities, Adolescent Medicine Fellowship, and the LEAH Training Program. As an independent scientist, she has utilized a variety of research strategies to understand and intervene on the barriers and facilitators to adolescent and young adult (AYA) sexual and reproductive health care delivery and patient adherence to treatment for complicated sexually transmitted infections (STIs) to reduce STI-related health disparities. Her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and foundations such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She has received numerous awards by professional and lay organizations for her research and service to the community. Dr. Trent currently serves as a consultant to several professional organizations, is the Chair of the Section on Adolescent Health for the American Academy of Pediatrics, and provides care to tweens, teens, and young adults in the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.
When 17-year-old Iman isn’t doodling in her note pad or making music playlists on her computer, she focuses on learning about different countries around the world. She’s already visited nearly every continent. From the bullet trains of Japan to southern France, Iman has seen a lot. Although she tends to prioritize sleep, her favorite pastime by far is reading. Finding out about Sex, Etc. was perfect for Iman because she wants to learn more about sexuality. She hopes to inform other teens who are also wondering if there is more to “the birds and the bees.” She mainly wants to write about subjects related to teen pregnancy and gender roles. Iman also wants teens to learn about their bodies, so they can make informed choices. In the future, she pictures herself in politics, and although she’s not sure exactly what profession, she definitely sees herself helping people.
Student and Community Organizer
Marcella Morales-Lugo joined the Young Women of Color Leadership Council of Advocates for Youth in 2012 at the tender age of 14 to raise awareness about the need for HIV prevention efforts, the inclusion of young women of color in planning and implementing sex education programs, and to empower young people, especially young girls of color, to get involved in advocacy efforts. In addition to her role at Advocates for Youth, Marcella has been a key organizer in the Committee to Honor Puerto Rican Women on International Working Women’s Day, an annual event celebrating women who fight for the rights and freedoms of Puerto Ricans willingly with love and dedication. Marcella has donated her personal resources, time and talents to organize this annual event attended by hundreds. She is the youngest member of the group working with seasoned organizers and activists in the Puerto Rican community.
Marcella brings great understanding and patience in her efforts. She acquired this as a young volunteer in Puerto Rico where she spent her summers working with the Associacion de Sindrome Down, and where she supported the independent living skills of young and adult Puerto Ricans with Down Syndrome. She traveled with their dance troupe of Bomba and Plena, helped them with arts and crafts and this resulted in Marcella’s deep understanding of differently- abled people.
Marcella is a dedicated young woman who commits fully with passion and drive. She is results oriented and produces beyond expectations. Marcella also participated in YouthBridge-NY a non-profit organization that convenes, trains, and prepares young people to meet the challenges of an extremely diverse New York City. In addition Marcella completed one year of Model United Nations where she represented the needs of the country Chad to the World Health Organization. She is passionate about social justice issues and has a global understanding given her travels to Africa, the Caribbean and throughout the USA. In the future Marcella wished to study criminal justice to pursue a career in Law.
Human Sexuality educator, author, and consultant
Named one of Time Magazine’s “Top Sixteen Parenting Experts for the 21st Century,” Debbie Roffman is a sexuality educator, consultant, and author based in Baltimore, Maryland, where she has taught sexuality education in grades 4-12 at the Park School for more than 35 years. Debbie’s most recent book, Talk to Me First: Everything You Need to Know to Become Your Kids’ “Go-To” Person About Sex, was published in 2013 by Perseus Books. In addition to her constant writing and teaching, she’s worked with parents, teachers, counselors, administrators, students, alumni, and trustees at more than 400 schools and organizations across the country, and she publishes widely throughout the national media. She’s referred to by her colleagues as the most articulate professional voice in the US on the need for broad-based human sexuality education. Her ability to find common ground by keeping the focus on young people and their universal needs around healthy sexual development is one of her gifts.
Director of Research for the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University
Rebecka Lundgren is the Director of Research for the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University. Rebecka has over 25 years of comprehensive, hands-on experience in the design, monitoring and evaluation of sustainable reproductive health and behavior change programs, with particular interest in youth and gender. Rebecka’s current research interests are focused in the areas of gender, gender-based violence and very young adolescents. As an applied anthropologist, Rebecka has particular interest in applying qualitative and ethnographic methods to her work.
Founder of Girlology & Guyology
Dr. Melisa Holmes is a mom, physician, author, and Founder of Girlology & Guyology, a national physician-led sexuality education platform that provides parent-child programs, a web community, and a series of books on puberty and emerging sexuality for youth. Girlology & Guyology started in 2003 as a local “hobby,” but has experienced a national expansion into 20 states where community based programs target children ages 8-12 and their parents. Dr. Holmes is a Clinical Associate Professor of Ob-Gyn and Pediatrics at the University of SC School of Medicine in Greenville, SC where she provides reproductive healthcare for children, teens and young adults and directs a new Teen Health Center. As an advocate for adolescent health, she served on the Adolescent Healthcare Committee for the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists and continues to serve on the board of Directors for the SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. She speaks to national audiences about adolescent health and changing the culture of sexuality education. She has also presented a TEDx talk titled “Eight is Great” for talking to kids about sex. She likes to spend her “up” time with her husband and three daughters – one tween, one teen and one young adult.