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Meeting connects NY agencies around maternal, infant and adolescent health

group of people in a line posing

ACT staff Jenny Parise, Karen Schantz, Jane Powers, Vanessa Amankwaa and Marisol de Leon photo: Beth Mickalonis

The staff of the ACT for Youth Center for Community Action helped to plan and then attended the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Bureau of Women, Infant and Adolescent Health provider meeting in Albany. Held last month, the two-day event offered professional development and networking for organizations funded by the bureau.

“It’s valuable to bring together everyone who is working in the field of maternal, infant and adolescent health in New York State,” ACT for Youth Director Jane Powers said. “It gives us a wonderful opportunity to share knowledge about how best to support the health and well-being of families.”
“The people who work with youth and families in these areas are hungry to learn from each other,” Karen Schantz, ACT for Youth communications coordinator, added.

crowd of people at a conference

Attendees of an ACT for Youth talk photo: Beth Mickalonis

Through a contract with NYSDOH, ACT for Youth provides support and assistance to dozens of organizations through New York State that work to promote adolescent health and positive youth development.

This includes providing resources that offer organizations working with adolescents the latest research evidence, and providing assistance in implementing evidence-based programs for pregnancy prevention and positive youth development in local communities.

“Our team builds the capacity of educators to do their work more effectively and implement programs with quality,” Powers said. “We also have an evaluation team that is helping the practitioners use data to strengthen their programs and a website that disseminates knowledge. We are all about translating research for people in the field of the adolescent health.”

Three ACT for Youth staff members presented at the Albany meeting.

Jutta Dotterweich, director of training and technical assistance, presented research about brain development in her talk titled “What’s Going on in the Adolescent Brain?”

Michele Luc, trainer, engaged participants in an exploration of the many layers of identity, and how these intersecting identities contribute to power and marginalization in our personal lives and in society.

woman speaking before a crowd

Amanda Purington presenting photo: Beth Mickalonis

Amanda Purington, director of evaluation and research, presented findings from ACT for Youth’s new research on attitudes and beliefs about sexual health, as well as access to sexual health care, among adolescents and young adults in New York State.

In addition, BCTR research scientist Janis Whitlock gave a talk about the challenges young adults face as they navigate sexuality in in the digital world, as well as strategies to addresses these challenges.

View the presentations from the New York State provider meeting.