Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Consider Gender in Addressing Teen Pregnancy

Healthy Teen Network's 32nd annual conference
Earlier this month I attended Healthy Teen Network’s 32nd Annual Conference. The week was filled with thought provoking conversations surrounding gender. During the opening session, Keynote Speaker Elizabeth Schroeder, had us do a simple activity. She asked us to write down five roles we play. Next, she asked us to make note of how many had something to do with gender. That question set the tone for the conference. Over the next few days I attended session after session where presenters asked us to think of how much we ignore and focus on gender simultaneously.

The NRN Spartanburg Community Action Group chose male involvement as one of the determinates to target as part of the CDC Project. Therefore, I chose to attend breakout sessions specifically about that population. My favorite session was titled, "No Resources Left Untouched: Engaging Young Males and Men in the Effort to Build Healthy Families and Communities." 

As a music lover, getting tips on using music to encourage young men to talk about what being a man and becoming a father means to them was invaluable. There was one sentence in the conference booklet that I think spoke volumes to this subject. It read, “By not serving the needs of young men, programs can be complicit in reinforcing the ideal that young men are the problem and not part of the solution to preventing teen pregnancy.” 

One of the other breakout sessions I attended was "Engaging Young Male Athletes and Coaches to Prevent Sexual Violence." The presenters gave us an overview of a violence prevention program entitled “Coaching Boys into Men.” We had a discussion about how commonly used phrases such as “You are throwing like a girl. You are running like a sissy.” have an effect on adolescent male attitude towards the opposite sex. If you’d like to download the Coaching Boys into Men Coaches Kit visit Overall I was pleased with my first HTN conference and look forward to next year in Minneapolis, MN.

- Meredith M. Talford, MPH, CHES, is the Upstate Training and Technical Assistance Specialist. E-mail Meredith at

No comments:

Post a Comment