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All workshops include components of the

National K-12 Sex Education Standards,

are online via Zoom, facilitated by MAHYC members, and open to MAHYC members.

Recordings and slides will be emailed to registrants pending speaker approval.



Stay tuned for future workshops!

What are you passionate about?

What is working well in your Sex Ed curriculum? 

Do you have best practices to share? 

If you would like to facilitate a workshop, 

email Beth at



Past events

November 16, 2022


Reflections from a nurse leader on why passing the Healthy Youth Act is an urgent priority

Suzanne Allen, MSN, C-PNP, Adolescent Medicine, UMass Children's Medical Center

Ms. Allen will talk to the MAHYC about her role as a nurse practitioner taking care of teens through difficult times including events such as unintended pregnancy, rape, diagnosing and treating sexually transmitted diseases, managing eating disorders, teaching sexual health practices and managing contraception. Through this lens, she advocates for wellness policies to be prioritized at the highest levels of the school district that she helps lead. Her reflections remind us of why passing comprehensive sex ed for all students in Massachusetts is an urgent priority.

June 21, 2022


School Nurse: Sex Education Teacher and Policy Implementer

Elizabeth Lynne Dickson, PhD, RN, University of New Mexico College of Nursing

School nurses are often asked to teach sexual health education in the classroom, but do they know they are implementing policy?  We’ll explore the challenges school nurses face as frontline implementers of school health policy. We’ll also examine the critical factors that support nurses balancing student needs and sexual health education requirements, while considering competing priorities and limited resources.

May 26, 2022


HYA from the Screen to the Page to the Hands of Students and Academics

Maria Cappellucci (they/them), UMass Boston’s Women, Gender, and Sexualities Studies;

Getting to Zero’s Activist Academy

During this event, Activist Academy graduate Maria Cappellucci will be discussing their team’s project and goals. The end result of the project was an educational zine on the HYA and the sex education experiences of those in the community. They will share the virtual zine and offer hard copies to anyone who wants to make them available to their students, administrators, and district members. Ideally the zine will help people realize the importance of advocating for the passage and implementation of the Healthy Youth Act within their school and community. You can learn more about Activist Academy here: and about our project here:


April 11, 2022


What About Me? Representation and Reproductive Justice in Sexual Health Education

Natasha Ramsey MD, MPH, Founder, Gorjus Doc, LLC

The sexual health education system has failed. Even though we know comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) is effective, there’s still lots of work to be done. CSE has failed to incorporate the stories of those who are marginalized and those who are often forgotten. Using a reproductive justice frame is critical to creating change in sexual health education. Data shows that most sexual health curricula do not include information about racism, ableism, and sexism although we know that there is a long history of these wrongs in the medical system and education system. We also know that sexual health education is critical in the fight for reproductive justice because access to information has impacts on health outcomes. This workshop is meant to define reproductive justice, why it’s important for sexual health education, and develop strategies for incorporating racism and reproductive justice including utilizing social media.

March 2, 2022


Opposition to Sex Education: It’s not a New Story—and its Tactics Haven’t Changed!

Lessons I’ve learned from Writing the History of Sex Education

Ellen S. More, Ph.D. (she/her), Emeritus Professor

Department of Psychiatry, UMass Medical School

This workshop will tell the story of a forgotten pioneer of sex education, Dr. Mary Calderone, and the battles triggered by her fight to destigmatize sex education from the 1960s onward. Her opponents targeted Calderone personally as well as the organization she led, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the US (SIECUS). The tactics faced by Calderone and her successor, Debra Haffner (who spearheaded the first comprehensive sex education initiatives), are still in use today.


February 22, 2022


Talking to Youth About Sex Without Talking About Sex 

Courtney Brame, Founder, Executive Director, Podcast Host, Something Positive for Positive People

Dr. Evelin Dacker, Sex-Positive Integrative Primary Care Physician

Dr. Evelin Dacker and Courtney Brame will be joining us for a workshop on how to reframe sexual health discussions with youth beyond "don't have sex". Introducing a framework for navigating all relationships is fundamental to the development of youth's transition into sexual exploration. In this talk, we'll use the STARS approach to talk to youth about sex without talking about sex, fostering healthy communication skills that translate into healthy sexual communication.

January 19, 2022


Worcester’s Path to Passage of Comprehensive Sex Ed

Planning, Politics, Persistence


Laurie Ross, Ph.D., Professor of Community Development and Planning, Clark University. 

Shelley Rodman, Community Advocate, Worcester Youth Deserve Comprehensive Sex Ed


The City of Worcester is New England’s second largest city with over 206,000 residents and 24,000 students enrolled in public school. Learn from Worcester community advocates about the long, bumpy, journey to the public school system’s recent adoption of an inclusive, medically-accurate, K-12 Sexual Health Curriculum (Advocates for Youth’s 3R’s). Hear, too, how advocacy continues in the face of well-organized opposition to the curriculum’s implementation.

November 17, 2021


At the Root of the Problem: Healthy Relationship Education Prevents Domestic Violence 

Molly Pistrang-Gomes, M.Ed., Youth Education Specialist, (she/her) and

Lauren Nackel, Community Engagement Specialist (she/her),

REACH Beyond Domestic Violence, Inc. 

In this workshop, members of the Prevention and Education team at REACH Beyond Domestic Violence will explore how teaching young people about consent, healthy and unhealthy relationships, LGBTQ relationships, identity, and power- all the things that the Healthy Youth Act aims to standardize- is an integral part to preventing domestic violence and dating abuse. However, lasting behavior change often doesn’t happen when an outsider drops in and demands change, but rather when a community embodies the desired change from within. As educators, we are poised to create that change. 

November 11, 2021


Making Caring Common: Relationship Mapping

Glenn Manning, M.Ed. (he/him)

Senior Project Manager, Making Caring Common
Harvard Graduate School of Education

There may be nothing more important in a child’s life than a positive and stable relationship with a caring adult. For students, a positive connection to at least one school adult — whether a teacher, counselor, sports coach, or other school staff member — can have tremendous benefits that include reduced bullying, lower drop-out rates, and improved social emotional capacities. Rather than leave these connections to chance, learn to use relationship mapping and invest time in making sure that every student is known by at least one adult.


November 9, 2021


Bringing Comprehensive, Medically Accurate Sexuality Education to the Elementary Level

Justine Uhlenbrock, BSN, MPH (she/her)

School Nurse & Sexuality Educator

Arlington Public Schools

This workshop will focus on how elementary educators can begin conversations about sexuality within their school communities. Justine will offer tips for making changes to existing sex ed programs or starting a new program entirely. We will discuss which stakeholders to invite when planning, how to bring parents on board, the benefits of mixed gender student groups, and where to begin in building accessible and inclusive content. 

November 1, 2021


Female Genital Mutilation Cutting in the Classroom:

The Importance of Education as a Tool for Prevention

Mariya Taher, MSW, MFA

Sahiyo Co-founder, U.S. Executive Director

Catherine Cox 

Sahiyo Programs Coordinator 

Amela Tokić

Sahiyo Programs Intern

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (or FGM/C) affects over 200 million girls and women globally, with many more at risk of undergoing the harmful practice each year. A CDC study in 2012 found that half a million women and girls have undergone or were at risk of FGM/C in the United States alone. During this workshop, you will have the opportunity to learn about FGM/C, hear from advocates on the importance of FGM/C being taught in schools across the U.S. and how teachers can become advocates to end FGM/C.

October 26, 2021


Sexuality Education Legislation and Policy:

A State-by-State Comparison of Health Indicators

Special Guest Speaker:

Healthy Youth Act Cosponsor Senator Jason M. Lewis, Democrat - Fifth Middlesex;

Chairperson, Joint Committee on Education

Senator Lewis will speak about the importance of Sex Ed and passing The Healthy Youth Act. 

Rebekah Rollston, MD, MPH  (she/her)

Family Medicine Physician, Cambridge Health Alliance

Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Editor-in-Chief, Harvard Medical School Primary Care Review

Family Medicine Physician, Rosebud Hospital, Indian Health Service

Rural Health Leadership Fellowship, Massachusetts General Hospital

This workshop will feature the recently published sex education policy, research, and story map. The story map explores sexuality education legislation and policies by state, compared to each state’s respective health indicators, including sexual violence, physical dating violence, bullying/harassment, suicide, teen birth rate, contraceptive prevalence rate, and STI rate. This story map can be used as a visually accessible advocacy tool to demonstrate the need for improved sexuality education in the United States.

October 21, 2021


Sexual Ethics/Sexual Citizenship: Towards a New Goal for Sex Education


Sharon Lamb, Ed.D., Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Counseling and School Psychology

University of Massachusetts Boston

After the body parts are named, the condoms come off the bananas, and the class has learned the most basic and banal rules of consent, how do we teach kids to be caring and attentive sexual partners and sexual citizens? We do this through education that focuses on ethics, sexual violence prevention, compassion, mutuality, fairness, and justice. We focus not on how to prevent whatever calamity for ourselves but on how to treat other people and how to make society a better place for human flourishing. Dr. Lamb offers the SECS-C (Sexual Ethics for a Caring Society Curriculum) as well as HABIT (Humane Acts Bystander Intervention Training) to schools to help make sex education not only informative, but meaningful.

October 19, 2021


Context Influences Behavior. Period.


Alfredo Brown-Noguera, Housing Case Manager, AIDS Project Worcester

"It takes a village to raise a child" is an African proverb that means an entire community of people must provide for and interact positively with children for them to build experience and grow in a safe and healthy environment. What happens when a child discloses their sexual orientation? What if their caregivers, teachers, stakeholders, or legislators stigmatize individuals within the LGBTQ+ community? Let us take a deep dive into the levels of social development and their influences on a person's individualism and perspective of the world around them. The foundation of this presentation will be about the Ecological Systems Theory formulated by Urie Bronfenbrenner, in which he explains how social environments affect children's development. Has society's attitudes on LGBTQ+ rights and liberties been adequately addressed? We will be looking at how these attitudes are molded by policies passed or undecided within federal and state government legislation.

October 14, 2021


Creating Affirming Environments for LGBTQ+ Students in Sexuality Education


Chris Barcelos, PhD, MPPA

Assistant Professor, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Affiliate faculty, Critical Ethnic and Community Studies

University of Massachusetts Boston

Advocates and educators increasingly recognize the importance of including and affirming LGBTQ+ youth in sex education. This workshop will focus on strategies to advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusive and affirming sex education in schools as well as classroom practices around language, content, and visuals. We will approach sex education for LGBTQ+ youth through an intersectional lens that takes in account race/ethnicity, gender, class, disability, and so on. 


September 29, 2021

Minimizing Opposition to Sex Education- Proactively Assuring Students their Educational Rights to Comprehensive Sex Education

Greg West, M.Ed. 

Director, WEPS Education; Retired Health Education Teacher

Following a challenge to a public school’s sex education program, lessons learned formed a better way to minimize the risk of parental concern and prevent opponents’ influence. Learn a common, organized method used to implement comprehensive sex education and the design of a program established to inform parents and muster support of the school community.

August 26, 2021

3:30 - 5:00p

The Intersection of Sex Education & Self-Care 


Theresa Melito-Conners, Ph.D. (Dr. MC) 

Founder of Dr. MC’s Self-Care Cabaret & Special Education Administrator 


Self-Care is the daily, consistent, foundational way we care for our physical, mental, and emotional well-being to be the best version of ourselves. Therefore, it is critical as educators to understand the importance of caring for the self and teaching our students to do the same. Whether it is learning what a healthy relationship is, setting clear boundaries, or understanding the emotional component that accompanies being sexually active - it all boils down to authentic, genuine self-care. This workshop will help equip you with the basic tools you need and the reasons why these conversations are important. 


August 23, 2021

3:30 - 4:30p



Angela Scott

Executive Director, MEDIAGIRLS

Pronouns: she, her, hers


This workshop will focus on deconstructing the messaging girls consume on social media and reimaging a new relationship with these social platforms. MEDIAGIRLS is all about teaching girls to be REAL: Recognize unrealistic beauty and body standards and center self-worth on non-physical characteristics, Evaluate the social pressures that come with social media culture, and its effect on mental health, Assess behavior and ability to self-regulate relationships with social media, Learn how social media was designed by tech companies and how organizations use influencers as tools to sell products.

August 20, 2021

12:00 - 1:00p

A History of Sex Ed in The United States


Beth Williams-Breault, EdD Cand.,CSE, Founder and Director, Massachusetts Healthy Youth Consortium (MAHYC); Professor, Department of Human Services, Lesley University

Pronouns: she, her, hers

For over a century, sexuality education has been a very important and controversial public health and education issue in the United States. It is a complicated tapestry consisting of various definitions, goals, and philosophies. In this workshop we will discuss topics including the first sex ed class in 1913 in Chicago, the foundation of Planned Parenthood, SIECUS and the Guttmacher Institute, the introduction of the birth control pill, the current status of The Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Framework and how it all ties into The Healthy Youth Act.

August 16, 2021

3:30 - 4:30p

Healthy Youth Act: Fall Organizing Preview

Jaclyn Friedman, Author; Co-Chair, Healthy Youth Act Coalition


This workshop will include information about where things currently stand for the bill this session, a preview of the Coalition's plans for the fall, and the key role that educators can play in that plan. Bonus: As one of the people responsible for popularizing the Yes Means Yes standard of affirmative consent (named after her 2009 book, Yes Means Yes), Jaclyn will also take your questions about best practices in teaching consent.

August 13, 2021

10:30 - 11:30a

What High School Teachers Need to Know about Pornography

(An Evidence-Based Perspective)


Emily Rothman, ScD, Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health


The Truth About Pornography: A pornography literacy curriculum for high school students (as seen in the New York Times) is a nine-session class that is being used widely throughout the US to prevent dating and sexual violence. In this workshop, Dr. Rothman, a co-creator of the curriculum, will present research-informed background information that serves as the basis for the curriculum. Describing categories, types of sexually explicit media, prevalence of adolescent pornography use, and correlations and consequences of pornography use will be discussed. Dr. Rothman is one of the three co-authors of The Truth About Pornography porn literacy curriculum and uses a sex positive, non-judgmental perspective as captured in her TED Talk. Please bring your questions about pornography and porn literacy!

August 12, 2021


Normalizing Adolescent Love and Sexuality

Special Guest Speaker: Lead HYA Sponsor Senator Sal DiDomenico, Democrat - Middlesex and Suffolk


Senator DiDomenico will speak about the importance of Sex Ed and passing The Healthy Youth Act. 

Amy Schalet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a specialist on adolescent sexuality and culture. Her award-winning book, Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens, and the Culture of Sex, examines the regulation of adolescent sexuality in American and Dutch families. Parents, educators, and other youth-serving professionals can have positive impacts on young people's relational and sexual development. This workshop will include discussions of the different ways that girls and boys in the U.S. and the Netherlands negotiate sex, love, and growing up.

*Check out Dr. Schalet's podcast.

August 10, 2021

3:30 - 4:00p

Panel Discussion with the Healthy Youth Act Legislators

Join Lead Sponsor Representative Jim O'Day with Representatives Tram Nguyen, Lindsay Sabadosa and Sean Garballey for a panel discussion on the importance of Massachusetts educators and parents getting involved in the passing of the Healthy Youth Act.

4:00 - 4:30p

Developing Your Sex Education Program


Megara Bell

Director, Partners in Sex Education


Learn best practices for developing a sustainable, LGBTQ-inclusive, comprehensive sex education program consistent with the Healthy Youth Act. This workshop includes choosing a curriculum, teacher training, professional learning standards, engaging families, and providing ongoing support for teachers.

August 9, 2021

10:00 - 11:00a

It’s Time to Pass the Healthy Youth Act

Jamie Klufts, MPH,

Director of Communications & Strategic Initiatives, Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW-MA)

Pronouns: she, her, hers

Jessica Laverty, Eastern Massachusetts Organizer, Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund and Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts

Pronouns: she, her, hers


Lance Gordon, MSW(c), Intern, National Association of Social Workers Massachusetts Chapter; Graduate Student, Boston University School of Social Work

Pronouns: he, him, his


First filed over 10 years ago, the Healthy Youth Act is a piece of urgently needed legislation that would ensure that sex ed curricula being used in Massachusetts public schools are comprehensive, medically accurate, age appropriate, and LGBTQ-inclusive. The Healthy Youth Act will empower young people to curb STI transmissions, reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, engage in healthy relationships, prevent sexual assaults, and, ultimately, to thrive. This workshop will provide an overview of the bill and equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to ensure its passage. 


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