Love and Sex in the East and West

I am a second generation American and the only daughter of immigrants from India. I feel blessed to be born in America, and to be inheriting a deep, rich, and complex culture from my ancestors. However, growing up in rural Southern America was quite the challenge. To learn from my experiences growing up with two cultural influences, and how that impacts my views on sexual health, make sure to read my full feature.

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Sheetal KandolaComment
Life Outside the Bubble

During my time as a program coordinator at IWES, I have learned a lot of valuable lessons. Some about how to unpack heavy questions students may have, others about how to be comfortable teaching such a “taboo” subject as sex ed, but perhaps the most revealing lesson I’ve learned is that in order to succeed as a health educator you must get out of the public health bubble. Curious what I mean by the “public health bubble?” Then make sure to check out my piece.

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Iman ShervingtonComment
"Oh, You're the Sex Lady, Right?"

Michelle* wrote to me in her journal after the first day of class, after I’d told the students that it was their space to ask me questions or just say hi. She told me about her two year-old daughter, who stays with her grandma during the day while Michelle finishes out her senior year of high school. I wrote back how I’d love to see a picture of her, and how good it was to have Michelle in the class. As a teacher of a subject that has many personal implications for many students in the class, whether they share their personal stories with me initially or keep it to themselves I try to make sure that each and every student knows their experiences are real, important and unique, and they don’t have to be defined by them. They may call me “the sex lady,” but it’s so much more than that.

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Iman ShervingtonComment
What's the Name of Your School?

I think the first time I stepped into a New Orleans high school classroom my heart was beating so fast that a humming bird would be impressed. It felt like there was life oozing from the walls, an immense loyalty in a population that had seen its share of hardships and a continuation of a cultural narrative existing for over 100 years. There are schools that have grown out of adversity and become institutions whose legacies continue to cater to the people of New Orleans after surviving Katrina. Their names are known as prestigious and elite. I knew this was the start to me becoming a part of something that people in New Orleans cherish; the high school experience.

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Hannah AllenComment
Community and Connection

When people find out what I do for a living they often ask me what I think the answer is to solving the “addiction problem.” It’s such a complicated issue that I often answer with a disheartened, “I don’t know.” There is no easy answer and the weight of it all can be very overwhelming. However, as bleak a picture as I can paint, there are success stories everywhere and everyday people dedicate themselves to exploring ways to support those with substance use disorders. Check out my blog to see how my personal story is connected to my work now as a social worker in the harm reduction sphere and the lessons I’ve learned.

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Iman ShervingtonComment
Hats on Hats on Hats!

One of the first lessons of Social Work is that we wear many hats. In any position we may be called upon to be providers, advocates, counselors, case managers, educators, organizers, and the list goes on. To find out how these roles take shape in my life and work, check out my blog here.

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Cardinal SeawellComment
The Bigger Picture is More Important than a Self-Portrait

From humble beginnings in a town called Lutcher - which is known as being a part of the cancer alley stretch - I had a first-hand account of rural health disparities caused by location and the lack of resources. I knew since I was a child the medical field was my calling, but I decided early on that a career in treatment would be the path of least resistance. To find out how I went from being in the army to working here at IWES in the public health field, check out my story.

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Kala RachalComment
Flip the Script on Sex Ed!

Delay sexual debut. Prevent unplanned pregnancy. Reduce STIs. Stop dating abuse. Break the cycle of poverty. Overwhelmingly, sexual health interventions target teenagers as a burden to society. It’s time to flip that script and build up what is positive to unleash what is possible. For some thoughts on how we can do that, check out my blog.

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Jen LatimerComment
The Life of a Non-Profit CPO - A Few Gray Hairs at a Time

For many years, I imagined that passion would lead me to the medical field, but instead I was guided toward a career in public health, where my interest was piqued in the areas of Maternal and Child Health and Community Health.  My search for practical grounding in community-based public health soon led me to IWES, where I began my career over 14 years ago as an enthusiastic graduate intern with an altruistic heart to serve the people of New Orleans. To learn more about my journey and what it’s like to be a Chief Programs Officer at a non-profit, check out my blog!

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Prevention Work Revolves Around Conversation

As I’ve gained more and more experience in the HIV prevention field, I’ve realized how much prevention work revolves around conversation. We often think that prevention work is straightforward: educate people about their options to protect themselves and others through different methods and expect them to access those services or resources. But it’s not straight-forward; there are a lot of other elements involved in the work. Find out more about those factors in my blog here.

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Nikki FernandesComment
Why Research is Personal

In the world of public health, research is often thought of as a distant and impersonal part of the work: community outreach workers, health educators, and social workers are out building relationships in the community, and researchers are at their desks crunching numbers. Truth be told, I spend my share of time writing and analyzing data. However, in my experience, research is a deeply personal part of the work we do in public health. Find out what I mean by that and some of the results of a recent research project we conducted in my blog here.

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Iman ShervingtonComment
More Than Good Intentions

Can we agree that context is everything? What does it mean to position a social issue or even the actions of an individual within context? To better understand the relevance of this topic or possibly to deliberately confuse you, read my blog!

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Gabriella RoudeComment
Research for the Culture

All too often, I am amazed by the brilliance and ingenuity of population-based public health research initiatives, yet I am let down when I realize the ways in which many of them lack consideration of the cultural influences among the people they intend to impact. Check out my full blog to see how to I engage with, learn about, and represent people of cultures similar or vastly different from my own.

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Jakevia GreenComment
Knowing What You Don't Know

Wanna know one of the hardest things for a teacher? Coming to terms with not always having the answer. Check out my blog to find out how I’ve dealt with it and what I do when a young person asks a question I may not have an answer to.

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Public Health's Role in the Pursuit of Health Equity

Over the years, there has been progress towards reducing some health inequalities; however, disparities in health outcomes continue to exist in many critical areas such as preterm births and infant mortality, chronic health conditions, HIV infection and homicides. To understand more about health inequity and the role I believe we as public health practitioners and researchers should play, check out the rest of my blog here.

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How to Build Your Students' Autonomy

When teaching a sexual health curriculum it is important to know yourself and the personal boundaries that accompany this body of work. Check out Caitlin’s blog to help you think through how to discover your boundaries and still provide the information your students need.

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