Training Events for 2019

Have you noticed that the CAPP and PREP training calendar for 2019 is posted on the website? If not, take a look!

If you are a Health Educator Supervisor the training calendar will assist you in planning professional development for your educators, in particular newly hired educators. Keep in mind which trainings are mandatory and which ones are recommended. (You can find that on Working with ACT for Youth — scroll down to the table.)

A few gaps…

One mandatory training, the Training of Educators for Project AIM, still needs to be confirmed. Most likely it will be offered in May. A few webinars are still under development as well. We will update the calendar as soon as possible. Not listed are learning community meetings such as the ones for the Supervisor Learning Collaborative or Component 2 Providers.  We will send separate notices for these events.

Exciting News!

We are developing a couple of new workshops this year:

  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Creating Inclusive Program Environments for Youth with Different Abilities

ORS drop-in sessions are new as well. The evaluation team has scheduled quarterly drop-in web sessions for folks who have questions about online reporting system and/or want to fine-tune their skills using the ORS.

Registration Changes

As usual we will send out registration notices a month prior to workshops and trainings. We will be moving towards an online registration process. Stay tuned for that.

We are looking forward to a productive 2019 training year!

Jutta Dotterweich

— Jutta

How are we doing?

As you know, we at ACT for Youth love to evaluate things and collect data. We are very interested in finding out what you are doing and how you are doing it.

Now we want to flip these questions and ask: How are we doing? Are we helpful? How can we be more helpful? Some of you may remember that a few years ago in first round of CAPP we asked you questions like that to evaluate our center and services. This time we have a slightly different plan.

Trainings first!

We have changed our training feedback form, as you may have noticed. We are asking a few different questions, mostly trying to gauge how well training content and resources can be applied to your work. Thank you all for filling out these open-ended questions.

Over the next few months we will contact participants of our core trainings–Training of Educators, Facilitation Fundamentals, Supervisor Training, Teaching Anatomy and Reproduction, and PYD 101–and conduct a brief interview to see if the trainings have been effective in enhancing your capacity to deliver evidence-based programs and meet other CAPP and PREP objectives.

Technical Assistance next!

Next year we will focus on assessing our TA approach. We are still developing ideas and approaches on how to do that. If you have any suggestions, please let us know.

In the meantime, we hope you will provide us with BRUTALLY HONEST and constructive feedback.

 

– Jutta

Welcome, Marisol!

Marisol De Leon on zip line
Marisol gets a flying start

I’m delighted to announce that Marisol De Leon is joining the ACT for Youth Training and Technical Assistance team! A talented trainer with deep knowledge, Marisol comes to us with an extensive portfolio in the fields of positive youth development and adolescent sexual health. From designing an HIV prevention curriculum at the Hetrick-Martin Institute way back in 2004, to educating 10,000 NYC middle and high school students about reproductive health during her years at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center, to serving as the CAPP Coordinator, among other roles, at DREAM (formerly Harlem RBI) – Marisol has done it all. She is also bilingual in English and Spanish. Total number of students educated over her career so far? Upwards of 18,000.

Marisol will be based in New York City with Michele Luc and Sara Birnel Henderson at Cornell University Cooperative Extension of NYC. She can be reached at: md696@cornell.edu

Please join me in welcoming Marisol!

 

– Jutta

How do you deal with staff turnover?

In our experience of CAPP and PREP, staff turnover happens frequently. Educators may stay for a year or less and move on to other positions. We also see Health Educator Supervisors move on to other jobs, although this occurs less frequently.

This dilemma leads me to ask…

What strategies have you used to prevent educator turnover? Not all projects experience frequent staff turnover. Since increasing salaries is usually not an option, I am especially interested in finding out what practices  you have found to be effective in keeping educators engaged and motivated to stay on the job.

What strategies do you use to screen potential candidates? How do you find the best candidate for the job, a candidate with some staying power?

What do you do to prepare and onboard new educators and supervisors to the CAPP and PREP project? I think many projects would love to hear about your experiences and effective practices. Please share your ideas by commenting on this post.

Resource

Remember the CAPP and PREP Toolkits? Last year we put together toolkits for CAPP and PREP Supervisors with in order to create an institutional memory about the project, its purpose and goals, and key implementation strategies. Our hope was that it would help orient new staff to the project. Toolkit binders were distributed to each project at Provider Day—it may be somewhere in your office right now! We recently updated the CAPP and PREP Toolkits and made them available on the ACT website. Browse the list—you may find a new resource, or one you had forgotten.

 

– Jutta

Welcome, Vanessa!

We are excited to introduce our newest Vanessa AmankwaaACT for Youth staff member, Vanessa Amankwaa. Vanessa recently graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Development Sociology, Distinction in Research, having minored in both Global Health and Human Development. Her research honors thesis focused on disparities in drug sentencing between the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s and the current opioid epidemic. Vanessa has also spent time conducting research and health promotion in Tanzania, working with HIV positive women, among others. Originally from the Bronx, she is nevertheless prepared for Ithaca winters thanks to her years at Cornell!

Vanessa is a member of the evaluation team, and much of her effort will be concentrated there. She is also taking over some of Amy’s previous administrative responsibilities. (Never fear, Amy is still with ACT for Youth, but she has taken on some new responsibilities with another research project here at Cornell.) Vanessa will now be your point of contact for training registration, so you will be hearing from her now and then.  She can be reached at vka22@cornell.edu or 607-255-8790.

Please join me in welcoming Vanessa to the ACT team!

 

– Jane

Teaching pleasure — for the sake of safety, protection and empowerment!

Nika Norvila, CAPP Health Educator at Northwell Health, brings us this perspective. CAPP and PREP providers, please continue the conversation in the comments!

As CAPP and PREP providers we are bound to the evidence-based curricula we are assigned to facilitate. Whether it’s Making Proud Choices! or Be Proud! Be Responsible!, pleasure is not a subject that we delve into very deeply. I am not trying to advocate for the re-vamping of our EBPs or for educators to make any red-light adaptations, but rather for educators to consider the value of including pleasure in the conversations we have with our students, whether it is in one-on-one sessions, add-on sessions after EBP cycles, or–for the lucky few–workshops and group activities in our own spaces.

As health educators we are worried about unintended pregnancies, STDs, and HIV–which are all very important and valid for youth. However, when we think about why a lot of people have sex, including adults, the most common reason is for pleasure. People have sex because sex (hopefully to some degree, most of the time, for most people) feels good. To ignore this aspect of sex when teaching about sex seems unfair to the young people who are curious and well-deserving of truthful information about the ever present topic of sex and sexuality.

Some studies have shown that teaching youth about sexual pleasure and treating them like sexually autonomous beings allows them to feel like responsible sexual agents who need to take responsibility for adult things, like having sex.

In her book Girls & Sex (2016), through over seventy interviews with young women across the U.S., Peggy Orenstein explores the current of sex and sexuality. Orenstein writes, “If girls are unable to advocate for their own pleasure, they are also less likely to feel able to advocate for their own safety. Emphasizing male pleasure, especially without teaching about consent, perpetuates rape culture. Pain or uncomfortable sexual encounters are normalized for girls and women. In all kinds of ways, we expect women to be complacent in their discomfort.”

Teaching teens, but particularly teaching young women and girls, about pleasure–which historically has been intentionally dismissed and ignored–can not only led to better sex, but to safer sex, and to more empowered girls and women inside AND outside the bedroom.

Without re-vamping our EBPs, how can health educators incorporate pleasure into conversations and lessons with our students without taking away the intended messages of the EBPs? Would talking to students about pleasure detract from any of our safe sex messages, or simply make them stronger, if there is a link between pleasure, consent and safety? Can’t we hope that new messages of pleasure for women and girls will empower them? By learning about the clitoris and encouraging adolescents to explore their bodies, to learn what feels good, what doesn’t feel good, and where their boundaries are, leave them feeling empowered to only seek sexual encounters that feel good to them, instead of feeling only pressured to perform and please their male partners?

Please share your thoughts, questions and comments. You can also email me: nnorvila@northwell.edu

Nika Norvila – Nika Norvila, Northwell Health

Farewell, Divine!

As many of you have heard, Divine has accepted an exciting new position at Binghamton University and will be leaving us at the end of this week.

Having served on both the Evaluation and TA/Training teams, Divine is a true team player who has contributed enormously to our work. She has always been willing to stretch to meet new challenges. We’ll miss her thoughtful insights, warmth, steadiness — and her infectious laugh!

We are happy for you, Divine, but we will miss you so much!

– The ACT for Youth team

Mary, Divine, Michele, and Heather at Provider Day in Albany, 2016

 

Sara, Heather, Ravhee, Divine, Michele in Albany, 2014

Divine and Brian in Kennedy office, 2013

Brian, Divine, Christy, Jenny working in conference room, 2014

Michele, Divine 2017

Beth, Michele, Divine, and Heather, 2017

HIV Prevention and Education: PrEP, PEP, and U=U

Christopher Culp, Outreach and Education Specialist at Planned Parenthood of Central & Western New York, sent us this post to open discussion among CAPP and PREP colleagues. Please comment to continue the conversation!

Be Proud! Be Responsible! is an HIV prevention curriculum and it contains a lot of information about HIV.  Yet, even with the 2016 version, there are some new and exciting shifts in HIV prevention that are missed.  Three of those are PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis), and U=U (Undetectable=Untransmittable).  These three are key tools in HIV prevention and education toolbox, specifically empowering people to take control of their sexual health and fight against stigma.  This is especially important as New York State carries out its Ending the Epidemic initiative for 2020.

I know that we all teach from various backgrounds and experiences.  I was wondering if we could have a discussion based on these advancements to perhaps support each other in developing well-rounded education and referrals for the youth we work with.  I’d like to start off with a few questions and see where people are in incorporating PrEP, PEP, and U=U into their programming.

1) Do you talk about PrEP in your programming (an adaptation)?

2) Do you talk about PEP in your programming (an adaptation)?

3) Do you talk about U=U in your programming (an adaptation)?  (This can be sensitive, as some organizations have not signed onto the U=U consensus, though NYS has.)

4) Do you think there is value in including one or more of the above topics in your adaptations?

5) If you do include these, do you face any challenges in teaching or incorporating it into your programs?

6) How easy is it to have a list of referrals for youth that are interested in PrEP, PEP, or U=U in your community?

7) Do you make any adaptations to directly address HIV stigma? If so, what are they?

Thank you all.  Please feel free to email me directly if you have questions – christopher.culp@ppcwny.org

  – Christopher Culp

Find more about PrEP and PEP here on the HIV/AIDS page.

Learn about U=U from the Prevention Access Campaign.

EBPs in School Classrooms: Have you encountered any special challenges?

Most of you deliver evidence-based programs in school classrooms, often in health education classes. I am interested in exploring to what degree you encounter behavior challenges during programming. As I have heard from many of you, classroom management can be an issue. Naturally, classroom behavior can be impacted by many external factors such as the structure and control provided by the regular teacher, as well as school climate and organization–but sometimes the issues may arise from personal challenges that students are facing.

I would like to hear from you how often you think you have students in the class who are not participating or engaging because of special needs. Students who are very withdrawn or anxious, struggle with impulse control and attention, or have a tough time comprehending specific program activities may be coping with disabilities. Is this a common occurrence outside of special education classes? And what specific behavior challenges do you experience?

Depending on your responses, we may want to form a learning collaborative that could take a stab at developing strategies and adaptations to enable these students to participate and engage.

What has your experience been? Let us know in the comments.

  – Jutta