2019 Breakout Speakers

 

Ayelia Ali

Educator
North Texas Alliance to Reduce Unintended Pregnancy in Teens (NTARUPT)

Ayelia Ali was raised in the DFW community and developed an interest for public health during her time at Austin College. As a Fulbright Scholar, Ayelia spent time abroad teaching. As an educator, Ayelia is responsible for delivering evidence-based, teen pregnancy prevention programs. Her hope is for her students to make the best, informed decisions for themselves.

 

Rachael Asman, MEd

Director of Teen Parent Program
New Journey Press

Rachel Asman earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, with a minor in Child Development, from the University of California, Irvine and her Masters in Education - Cross Cultural Teaching, from National University. She has coordinated the California School Age Families Education (Cal-SAFE) Program Escondido for expectant/parenting teens for the past 13 years, serving almost 3,000 students. With a passion for working with at-risk youth, she grew the small program serving 60 students in the district and 9 children in the Child Development Center, to a high of 235 students and 55 children served in the Early Childhood Education Center. The average graduation rate for Cal-SAFE Escondido students is 80%. Working with community partners has been key to assisting credit deficient students make up units to graduate.

 

Meera Beharry, MD

Adolescent Medicine Section Chief
McLane Childrens Medical Center, Baylor Scott & White

Dr. Meera Beharry is a leader in the field of adolescent medicine with special interests in issues facing pregnant and parenting teens, homeless youth and youth with chronic illness. Dr. Beharry completed her Adolescent Medicine fellowship in 2009 at the world renowned Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles. After fellowship, she joined the faculty at the University of Rochester where she helped develop reproductive health services and strengthen services for high risk youth. In 2012, she moved to Texas to lead the Adolescent Medicine section in the department of Pediatrics at McLane Childrens Medical Center. She led the development of a Teen-Tot clinic for pregnant and parenting teens and their children. Dr. Beharry has published on a variety of adolescent health issues. She and Dr. Ceclia Neavel have a forth-coming book chapter focused on contraception for homeless youth.

 

Angelica Benton-Molina, (M.O.M.) Master's of Oriental Medicine

Public Health Educator
Austin Healthy Adolescent Program/Austin Public Health

Angelica Benton-Molina works within the Austin Healthy Adolescent Program (Austin Public Health) as a Public Health Educator. Her work is with young people in schools and community organizations around the topic of sexual health. Austin Public Health and other City of Austin offices are working on bringing awareness to the topic of systemic racism so that we can better work with the communities we serve in.

 

Jennifer Biundo, MPAff

Policy and Data Analyst
Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Jennifer Biundo is a policy and data analyst for the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. As a statistics wonk who loves few things more than a good data visualization, Jen works to develop evidence-based public policy priorities and foster collaboration with stakeholders and partners throughout the state. She served for five years as an analyst for the Legislative Budget Board, and previously was a newspaper reporter and editor in Hays County. Jen holds a master's degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

 

Samantha Bohrt, MPH

Community Health Education Manager
Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas

Samantha Bohrt is the Community Health Education Manager for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas in the North Texas region. She is responsible for coordinating health education opportunities, as well as establishing and maintaining partnerships in the Dallas/Fort Worth community. She received her Master of Public Health from the University of Texas Health Science Center, and has worked in the field of sexuality education for the past five years facilitating community education as well as professional development.

 

David Cabrera, MPA

Research Specialist
Public Policy Research Institute (PPRI), Texas A&M

David Cabrera began working for PPRI in June 2014. He graduated with a Master's in Public Administration from the Bush School at Texas A&M University in 2013, with a focus on state and local policy. Since joining PPRI, he has worked on numerous projects covering adolescent health, criminal justice and higher education, and has been an important asset in PPRI's work on various Title V Maternal and Child Health Services grants. David has participated on the THAI project since 2014. He is heavily involved in overall in implementation and evaluation of the program.

 

Jessica Chester, CLC, CHW

Communications Coordinator
Parkland Hospital

Jessica Chester is a Certified Community Health Worker (CHW) for the state of Texas. Subsequent to her collegiate internship with Parkland Health & Hospital System, Jessica was hired on as the Communications Coordinator for the hospital's Family Planning Outreach Grant. In this role, Jessica has been tasked with providing comprehensive and medically accurate education on topics such as family planning, reproduction, and sexual health to members of the Dallas County community.

 

Camille Clark, LMSC

Program Services Coordinator - Community Based Counseling
Lifeworks

 

Susana Contreras

Community Health Educator
Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas

Susana Contreras has been serving the community through Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas (PPGT) since 2016. She has worked directly with patients in PPGT's health centers as a medical assistant and is currently a Bilingual Community Health Educator, meeting Austinites where they are with the information and resources they need to stay safe and healthy.

 

Elaine Cray, MPHE

Project Manager
Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Elaine Cray is a Project Manager with the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. She leads the Texas Youth-Friendly Initiative, an evidence-based approach to helping healthcare centers across Texas effectively meet the needs of adolescents in their community. She brings four years of clinic-based experience and knowledge of the unique challenges faced by Texas health centers in effectively serving the adolescent patient population. Elaine has spearheaded public safety education and health service coordination initiatives for immigrant and refugee communities in Central Texas.

 

Ileana Cruz

Educator
North Texas Alliance to Reduce Unintended Pregnancy in Teens (NTARUPT)

Ileana Cruz is a Dallas Native and has a passion for helping out the communities she grew up in. She studied neuroscience and psychology at the University of Texas at Dallas and spent time previously working in a research lab studying the underlying mechanism of pain. Ileana hung up her lab coat after finding a passion for working with teens in the Dallas area. As an educator and a lover of science she combines the two to help empower students through resources and programs about the importance of healthy sexual decision to promote social change.

 

Evelyn Delgado

President/Executive Director
Healthy Futures of Texas

Evelyn Delgado has extensive experience as a senior-level executive leader in public health at the Texas Department of State Health Services, including overseeing women’s and children’s health programs. Using the principles of public health prevention and intervention, community health programs under her leadership served more than one million. With more than 20 years of public service, Delgado served in leadership roles on numerous quality improvement task forces, including the Executive Committee of the Texas Collaborative for Healthy Mothers and Babies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Network of Perinatal Quality Collaboratives, Texas Medical Association Committee on Reproductive, Women’s and Perinatal Health, and the Council on Children and Families. Delgado was also appointed to the National Advisory Council on Maternal, Infant and Fetal Nutrition by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, and on the National Campaign for the Prevention of Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, a state and local action advisory group.

 

Monica Faulkner, PhD, LMSW

Research Associate Professor, Director
The University of Texas at Austin/School of Social Work/Texas Institute for Child & Family Wellbeing

Dr. Monica Faulkner is the Director of the Texas Institute for Child & Family Wellbeing located within the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin. She has practical experience working with youth in foster care and clients who experienced domestic violence and/or sexual assault. Over the past three years, she has been working with a team to implement and evaluate teen pregnancy prevention curricula for youth in high-risk settings such as juvenile detention and foster care.

 

Tammi Fleming, PhD, CHES

The Annie E. Casey Foundation

 

Toddie Garcia, LMT, CCHW

Community Health Worker, Community Outreach
Matagorda Episcopal Health Outreach Program

Toddie Garcia currently serves in community outreach at the Matagorda Episcopal Health Outreach Program (MEHOP). In this role, she educates and advises Matagorda County and surrounding areas on health education topics and awareness. Toddie's main focus is on improving one's circumstance and knowledge through different resources, programs and services for children and adults of all ages. She forms part of MEHOP's Adolescent Champion Team and helped develop their Youth Advisory Team and Youth Advisory Council.

 

Leah Gonzalez, MSSW

Policy and Advocacy Associate
Healthy Futures of Texas

Leah Gonzalez has spent more than three years in her role as Policy and Advocacy Associate with Healthy Futures of Texas, primarily working for their project, the Texas Women's Healthcare Coalition. This work focuses on bringing together voices of organizations around Texas to advocate for access to preventive women's health. Leah has also worked to develop the leadership skills of San Antonio high school students through Healthy Futures' Youth Advocacy Council.

 

Manda Hall, M.D.

Associate Commissioner, Community Health Improvement Division
Texas Department of State Health Services

Dr. Manda Hall, is the Associate Commissioner for the Community Health Improvement (CHI) Division at the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). Dr. Hall graduated with her Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Lamar University and earner her Medical Degree from Texas A&M University Health Science Center College of Medicine. She completed residency and fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Allergy and Immunology.

 

Cory Hall-Martin, MSW

Prevention Specialist
Lifeworks

Cory Hall-Martin is a Prevention Specialist in the REAL Talk program through LifeWorks. She graduated with a Master of Social Work degree from Portland State University and last year decided to leave the Pacific Northwest to enjoy the Texas sunshine. Cory's background includes working with youth in a correctional facility, teaching first generation college students, and leading AmeriCorps members on service projects throughout the county. Cory's foundation and passion lies with integrating a trauma-informed approach into her work. Her hope is to help support other professionals in their journey to learn about how trauma impacts individuals, families and communities.

 

Tracy Harper, MSN, RN, CNL

US Medical Affairs - Bayer Women's Health Care

 

Jennifer Hernandez, CHW

Health Educator
North Texas Alliance to Reduce Unintended Pregnancy in Teens (NTARUPT)

Jenifer Hernandez grew up in Mexico and later moved to Dallas where she has been engaged in community development and advocacy among minority populations. As a facilitator for the Concilio, Jenifer worked in various settings throughout Dallas/Fort Worth including schools, churches and clinics providing health education programming. As a Certified Community Health Worker (CHW), Jenifer knows the importance of overcoming cultural and linguistic barriers to expand care and improve health outcomes. Jenifer is also a mom of two teenagers and two elementary school aged children.

 

Taiya Jones-Castillo, LBSW, CHWI

Maternal & Child Health Program Specialist, Community Health Improvement Section
TDSHS, Public Health Region 1

 

Ariel Kirklen, MPH, CHES

Community Health Educator
Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas

Ariel Kirklen is a Certified Health Education Specialist that has worked with Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas as a Community Health Educator for two years. She received her Master of Public Health with a concentration in Community Health Practice from the University of Texas Health Science Center. Ariel's experience in the field of public health has included focus areas of infection prevention and control, maternal and child health, and sex education.

 

Maribel Lopez, LMSW

ACE Program Coordinator
Santa Rosa ISD

My experience includes working in settings such as a battered women's shelter, hospice, and the school setting.

 

Jessica Mejia

Motivational Facilitator
Texas State University

Jessica Mejia is the only teen parent graduate from Texas Bible Institute's Leadership Training Course. She earned a BA in Communication Studies at Texas State University. She devotes her life serving teen parent communities as a social worker. As a motivational facilitator and founder of her organization, My ParenTEEN Life she creatively documents her life on a social media platform. One of her life's missions is to prevent teen pregnancy and repeat pregnancies by educating teens on how to love themselves first. As a teen parent outreach advocate in Texas for more than 20 years, she has spoken at jobs corps, church camps, youth conferences, and a women’s leadership conference. Jessica shares how community resources and caring adults impacted her success story. She credits how the works of Og Mandino enabled her to be a healthy teen parent and a healthy adult. She is currently writing a book about her and her son's journey.

 

Mindy Menn, Ph.D., MCHES

Assistant Professor
Texas Woman's University

Dr. Mindy Menn is an Assistant Professor in the School of Health Promotion and Kinesiology at Texas Woman's University (TWU) in Denton, Texas. She is the lead instructor for the health informatics program in health studies at TWU, is an emerging expert on using big data and social media analytics to examine the health risks of youth, has delivered more than 50 professional presentations, and has authored or co-authored 14 professional papers.

 

Joan Miller

Executive Director
Uplift

An eighth-generation Texan, Joan Miller graduated from Brown University with a concentration in sociology and moved back to her home state as soon as she could. She is passionate about anti-sexual violence work, particularly online, leading her to co-found Uplift. She has been working in the sex education field for five years.

 

Melissa Munsell, MEd

Instructional Specialist
North East ISD

Melissa Munsell has been a teacher and coach since 1993 and currently serves as an Instructional Specialist for the North East ISD. She is actively involved in the NEISD School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) and was instrumental in writing and implementing curriculum for grades K-12 in P.E. and Health Education. She also is the co-author of Essential Health and Comprehensive Health textbooks, published by Goodheart-Wilcox Publishing Company.

 

Emily Naiser, MPH

Project Director
Public Policy Research Institute at Texas A&M University (PPRI)

For more than ten years, Emily Naiser has collaborated on projects in a range of disciplines at PPRI, including public health, K-12 education and higher education. She has utilized both qualitative and quantitative analysis methods to ascertain program effectiveness and develop best practice recommendations to state-level policymakers. Emily has been critical in PPRI's work on various Title V Maternal and Child Health Services grants. She has conducted community needs assessments and evaluations of various programs aiming to improve the health and well-being of women and children. Emily participated in the THAI program evaluation from 2015-2018, and has been heavily involved in the overall design and implementation of the new iteration of THAI called the Texas Youth Action Network. This experience gives her a unique perspective on the strengths and challenges of the two models and the rationale behind the program choices made.

 

Jonis Nava

Teen Ambassador
AFROTC Inspector General and Airforce Cadet
Texas State University

Jonis Nava is a Bobcat Airman and Geography Major at Texas State University. Throughout high school, he was a former Teen Ambassador for Healthy Futures of Texas serving under the leadership of Dr. Janet Realini. Jonis shares a unique perspective as a male role model and shares his experiences as a motivational speaker impacting young men to be the best versions of themselves. He implements integrity first principals, mentorship and engagement in small groups or by speaking to large audiences in between his current Airforce training and college schedule. He has spoken at Healthy Futures annual luncheons for the Mayor of San Antonio and has been interviewed volunteering with Project Worth, a youth initiative in San Antonio. Jonis speaks about his life raised in a single and teen parent home, how sex education and volunteer work drove him to change the statistics and break the cycle predetermined by research, and the importance to wait to have a family when one is financially and emotionally ready.

 

Rachel Naylor, MEd

Director for Physical Education, Health, and Athletics
North East ISD

Rachel Naylor has been the Director for Physical Education, Health, and Athletics for the North East ISD since 2011. She first came to North East ISD in 1999 as an elementary school physical educator and has served in a variety of roles with the district during her tenure. From 2016-2018 she served as President of the Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (TAHPERD). She is a graduate of Texas A&M University and Houston Baptist University.

 

Eleni Pacheco

Health Educator
Healthy Futures of Texas

During Eleni Pacheco’s undergraduate career, they focused on sex, gender, and reproduction from both biological and multicultural perspectives. Now, as a Health Educator, Eleni works to empower young people through body literacy and deeper understandings of their personal and intimate relationships. Eleni believes that a sense of community is the backbone to a better future, which is why they are passionate about engaging the next generation in civic commitment and advocacy work.

 

Tracy Parks

Programs and Partnerships Coordinator
EngenderHealth

As Programs and Partnerships Coordinator for EngenderHealth's Re:MIX project, Tracy Parks implements the organization's peer educator program and supports two parenting young adults in Austin, while also building and maintaining partnerships with community advocates and partners. Her work in youth programs and services includes curriculum development, career planning and teen counseling with gender-responsive, culturally inclusive and trauma-informed care approaches. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2013 and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, a minor in Psychology, and a certificate in Multicultural Studies. After college, Parks completed a year of service on Oahu, Hawaii as an Americorps VISTA on a capacity building initiative to create and deliver a culturally-relevant financial literacy curriculum to the indigenous Hawaiian youth.

 

Aida Ponce

Chief Outreach Wellness Officer
Project Vida Health Center

Aida Ponce is the Chief Outreach and Wellness Officer at Project Vida Health Center, and is a Certified Community Health Worker Instructor. She seeks to promote the overall wellness and wellbeing of the individual in order to generate a positive change in the community. To achieve this purpose, she has implemented a variety of programs such as: teen pregnancy prevention, sexual and reproductive health education, outreach events, diabetes management education, chronic disease support groups, LGBT inclusivity, and physical activities.

 

Marlen Ramirez

Community Health Worker
Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coordinator
Maverick County Hospital District

Marlen Ramirez received her Associates of Arts and CNA certificate from Southwest Texas Junior College. While working as a CNA, Ms. Ramirez found a passion for helping others and returned to her studies to receive her Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences from Sul Ross State University. Ms. Ramirez has extensive outreach experience within the community as well as experience in post-second education due to her previous work with Texas A&M International University. Ms. Ramirez's background in social sciences has allowed her to work with projects under local, state, and federal funding. With her education, personal experiences, as well as previous employment, Ms. Ramirez currently serves the community by overseeing the Juntos Podemos Program from Maverick County Hospital District a collaborated effort with Texas A&M University and The Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Her works consist of working alongside with local community-based organizations and health providers to raise a

 

Veronica Ray Whitehead, MEd, CHES

Director of Programs
North Texas Alliance to Reduce Unintended Pregnancy in Teens (NTARUPT)

Veronica Whitehead is currently the Director of Programs at the North Texas Alliance to Reduce Unintended Pregnancy in Teens. In this role she oversees all education programming including a Tier 1B Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) Grant from the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) and the Dallas Young Women's Advisory Council in partnership with the Dallas Women's Foundation.

 

Janet Realini, MD, MPH

Founder and PI, OAH Big Decisions Study
Healthy Futures of Texas

Dr. Janet Realini is the Founder of Healthy Futures of Texas. Dr. Realini is the author of Big Decisions, a Texas-friendly "Abstinence-Plus" program for teens. She also was the founding Chair of the Steering Committee of the Texas Women's Healthcare Coalition (TWHC). Dr. Realini taught Family Medicine for 18 years at the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio, and helped to found Project WORTH, the City of San Antonio's teen pregnancy prevention program.

 

Sara Reeves, MS, CHES

Program Director
LifeWorks

Sara Reeves is a Program Director at LifeWorks, where she works to support a team of passionate educators in reaching their professional goals and increasing their impact in the community. She has worked in the field of adolescent sexual and reproductive health for nine years, and believes that all young people deserve quality sexuality education at home and at school. Sara is a Certified Health Education Specialist, and certified facilitator and trainer of several evidence-based sexual health curricula. She holds a MS in Health Education from Texas A&M University, where she graduated with honors, and a BA in Social Work from St. Edward's University.

 

Saul Rivas, MD, MSPH

Clinical Associate Professor
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology

Dr. Saul Rivas is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UTRGV. He is the Student Clerkship Director and involved in undergraduate and graduate medical education. Dr. Rivas is also the Director of the Immediate Postpartum Long Acting Reversible Contraception Program at the Women's Hospital at Renaissance and has been an invited speaker in several regional and national conferences on this topic.

 

Jennifer Salcedo, MD, MPH, MPP, FACOG

Associate Professor/Obstetrics & Gynecology Residency Program Director
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Dr. Jennifer Salcedo is an Associate Professor and Director of residency training in obstetrics & gynecology at UTRGV. She completed her fellowship in family planning and has taught health care systems at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Dr. Salcedo has served on national committees for the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, North American Society for Pediatric & Adolescent Gynecology, and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and authored more than 24 peer-reviewed publications in reproductive health.

 

Rebecca Shirsat

Evaluation Coordinator
EngenderHealth

Rebecca Shirsat is the Evaluation Coordinator at the Austin EngenderHealth office and supports on-site monitoring and evaluation activities on the Re:MIX program. With an interest in the intersection between evaluation data and program implementation, she enjoys working with program participants to find implementation solutions and improve delivery throughout the program. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Public Health and Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. She has previously volunteered with an organization called Peer Health Exchange and traveled to high schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, teaching sexual education and sexual decision-making.

 

Leticia Tenorio, CCHW

Pediatric Care Coordinator / Certified Community Health Worker
Matagorda Episcopal Health Outreach Program (MEHOP)

Leticia Tenorio currently serves as Pediatric Care Coordinator for Matagorda Episcopal Health Outreach Program (MEHOP). In this role, Letty educates and refers patients to specialists from referring providers. She also instructs classes on car seat installation and other community outreach passenger safety events. Her main focus is on educating pediatric patients' parents with health information and knowledge to improve their child's situation and outcome. Letty forms part of MEHOP's Adolescent Champion Team and helped develop their Youth Advisory Team and Youth Advisory Council.

 

Nancy Trevino-Schafer Ph.D.

County Extension Agent -Urban Youth Development
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

 

Brianne Walker, MEd

Homemaker

Brianne Walker works as a high school English teacher serving lower socioeconomic students in an effort to build strong literacy skills across cultures. She leads teachers through workshops, pre- and post-observation conferences that discuss curriculum and classroom management. She pursued her Masters because she knows she is called to leadership. Brianne mothers daughters Leah (10), and London (5 months). Navigating life through her womanhood is the journey she uses to paint the canvas of her blog.

 

David Wiley Ph.D., MCHES

Professor of Health Education, Retired
Texas State University

Dr. David Wiley, Professor of Health Education at Texas State University (retired) is a lifelong health educator who has focused his professional life on addressing health issues of adolescents. Dr. Wiley has authored or co-authored more than 35 peer-reviewed articles and has presented more than 150 keynote addresses and workshops across the United States and internationally on the role of schools in creating healthy children and healthy communities. He is also the founder of the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. He is the father of one daughter (Lisa) and grandfather of two (Rachel and Andrew).

 

Alicia Young

President
New Journey Press

Alicia Young pursued a teaching career with the intent of working with teen parents. She has since worked with high school youth, first in a conventional classroom, and with expectant and parenting youth for the past 20 years. She is the President of New Journey Press, a publishing company that provides curriculum for teen parents. Her goal is to provide methods for young parents and at-risk youth to find success and to make positive changes. When she is not working to inspire change in youth, she is working hard to train up her own four children, ages 7-13. Alica earned a Bachelor in Child Develoment and a secondary teaching credential, Master of Education.

 

Carmen Zuniga-Hernandez

Deputy Chief Outreach/Wellness Officer
Project Vida Health Center

Carmen Zuniga-Hernandez is currently the Deputy Outreach/Wellness Officer and the Program Manager of POWER 4Uth (Providing Opportunities While Establishing Resilience 4 Youth). She focuses on implementing culturally competent models that connect youth and their families to integrated health care services including sexual health and reproductive services