The Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies is a national non-profit organization founded in 1993 in response to the overwhelming health disparities among women of color.
Our organization is dedicated to improving the physical, mental and spiritual health and quality of life of women of color and their families, especially those who are socio-economically disadvantaged.

A Legacy Deferred: The role of males in overcoming adversity and promoting community resilience  

On Saturday, January 21, 2012 MPC!-NOLA!, the New Orleans Chapter of the Children's Defense Fund, Xavier University, and the Black Men & Boys Initiative sponsored "A Legacy Deferred", a half day Men's Conference, attended by more than 70 males ages 12-65.

The conference was designed to continue the work with male youth who graduated from the program, and also hear from fathers of the youth, community leaders, educators and other males from the Greater New Orleans area about their shared life experiences and stories that affect the role of males in the Black community. The goal of the conference was to gather information to help inform public policy, research, and programming.  


The conference began with opening remarks from Mary Joseph of the Children's Defense Fund. Subsequently, IWES founder & CEO, Dr. Denese Shervington,  conducted a presentation on the concept of "Male Hunger" followed by small group discussions in a break-out format. After lunch, the men watched the short documentary film Close Ties: Tying On A New Tradition, followed by a Q&A with one of the film's producers, Dr. Andre Perry. At the end of the Q&A, the main themes from the small group discussions were reported to the larger group. The conference concluded with a compelling closing statement from Dr. Kimberly Chandler of Xavier University that was received with a standing ovation.   

Proceedings from the conference are being compiled and will be translated into a paper to inform those conducting work with males within the Black community. IWES will notify everyone upon the release of this document.


MPC!-NOLA! and the rest of the IWES staff would like to thank the dedicated facilitators of the breakout sessions:


Dr. Arnold H. James, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Tulane University


Oliver M. Thomas, Jr., Outreach Director at Abide Healthcare


Gregory N. Rattler, Jr., Fatherhood Consortium at Loyola University  


Trupania "Trap" Bonner, Moving Forward Gulf Coast


Jarvis DeBerry, Times Picayune


Luther C. Davis, Delgado Community College 


On Saturday, March 10th, IWES will host a gathering in honor of National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day with fun events for the whole family...and men, too!

Past IWES W&G events have had performances from local poets, brass bands, African dancers, and MORE mixed into our eclectic mix of health and wellness services (such as acupuncture, HIV & diabetes screenings, healthy food demos, etc.).

This year will be even better with the addition of a talent show featuring performances from youth artists as well as a youth HIV essay contest!

Stay tuned for updates with further event information!
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Dr. Q Show

Featured IWES Film

Dr. Q Show
The Dr. Q Show was created by Peer Advocates from the Media Advocates for Prevention (MAP) program. The "show" is a day time talk show parody created to highlight the consequences that can come from unprotected sex amongst a group of friends and acquaintances.

Follow the link below to check out our Iwesnola YouTube Channel to see more IWES films.

View our videos on YouTube
Visit the IWES website
for helpful links and resources and to get more information about our mission, staff, and programs.
Meet the TOP Team! 

Ragan Collins
TOP Program Manager

Ragan Collins joined IWES in December 2010 to serve as Program Coordinator for the 4Real Health/Orleans Teen Pregnancy Prevention Project. Ragan also serves as Program Manager for the Wyman's Teen Outreach Program (TOP). Ragan received her Masters of Public Health from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in Health Systems Management (2003) and her BA in Psychology from Clark Atlanta University (2001). In Ragan's previous work experience, she served as Program Monitor for the Department of Health and Hospitals Office of Public Health Family Planning Program. She has experience implementing policies and procedures and ensuring family planning service sites are in accordance with federal guidelines. She has extensive experience with outreach coordination and continuous monitoring of statewide quality assurance and improvement activities, as well. Ragan's interests include educating the community on strategies to prevent teen pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections.

Della Wright
Program Coordinator

Della Wright originally joined the IWES staff as an Americorps member in August 2010. She received her BA in International Development at McGill University, and then decided to pursue a more local approach to health disparities and social justice issues in New Orleans. After her Americorps term, Della shifted positions to Program Coordinator for the Teen Outreach Program (TOP) and the Becoming a Responsible Team (BART) program, where she is enjoying working with the youth of New Orleans to develop knowledge and skills in the areas of sexual health, healthy relationships, communication, mental health, and other areas that support the holistic development of young people. Della is also currently pursuing her Masters of Public Health at Tulane University.

Gabrielle Freels
Program Assistant

After being a member of the Media Advocates for Prevention (MAP) program for three years, Gabby has taken on new roles within the organization. She started out as the MAP Youth Coordinator and is currently the Program Assistant for both MPC!-NOLA! and TOP. Through this new position, Gabby has taken on new roles and responsibilities, such as administrative support, event coordination, and curriculum facilitation. She currently attends the University of New Orleans (UNO) as a Marketing major and plans on opening a marketing firm to help up and coming businesses. Gabby's passion is to continue to serve the youth of New Orleans and spread awareness and important health information.

Welcome to the Institute Of Women And Ethnic Studies' Quarterly E-Blast. Every November, February, May, and August, look out for this E-Blast to update you on our programs and events.  


Thanks for continuing to be a part of the IWES family!

Media Advocates for Prevention

MAP is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded program adapted from the evidence-based Community PROMISE model. MAP works with a core group of Peer Advocates (PAs) ages 15-18 to develop HIV prevention messages for youth in New Orleans. 


After 4 months of training, the PAs have nearly completed the MAP curriculum, which focuses on comprehensive sexuality education, HIV & social justice, leadership, community engagement, and media literacy. Several PAs were also involved in an IWES film, participating first-hand in acting and film production.


With the help of IWES' media director, the PAs collaborated on a podcast aimed at raising awareness about HIV prevention entitled "What will YOU DO to Turn The Tide?" The podcast won first place in YAHAnet's Global Student Podcast Competition in the 15-18 year old category and was aired on Montreal's CKUT radio station on January 17th! Follow this link to hear the winning podcast. 


Meanwhile, MAP staff presented sexual health workshops to students across the city. In December, MAP presented at both Warren Easton's Challenge Day and NOPLAY, leading conversations on HIV/STI prevention, teen pregnancy, and self-esteem. MAP is excited to partner with more schools & youth programs in the coming year. 


As the MAP curriculum wraps up, PAs continue to engage their peers in-person and through social media. This spring they will design a social marketing campaign aimed at promoting HIV testing amongst youth. Look out for this campaign, as well as new MAP media!  


Follow us on Twitter

Follow @map_nola on Twitter for daily sexual health tips.


Like us on Facebook

 Like MAP on Facebook to keep up with MAP videos and events and to receive sexual health information and ask any sexual health questions you may have!


 If you or someone you know is a youth aged 12-18, e-mail MAP to receive a FREE MAP kit, or ASK A PA!

School-Based Health Center Engagement Project
The SBHC Engagement Project, a youth health advocacy and leadership development program to increase awareness and utilization of participating SBHCs, is implemented in partnership with the Louisiana Public Health Institute's (LPHI) School Health Connection Program. 


IWES staff has begun implementing an advocacy curriculum in New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School and Walter L. Cohen High School. Thus far, IWES staff has conducted 3 training sessions at each school with a total of 24 participating students. The advocacy training will wrap up with a trip to the capitol in Baton Rouge this spring for the annual SBHC Advocacy Day.  


This February, SBHC staff and students from Eleanor McMain High School will be highlighted in a local television news story celebrating School-Based Health Care Awareness month.  


With the help of the SBHC Media Work group, students have designed a t-shirt and wristband that will be distributed within all School-Based Health Centers of Orleans Parish. These marketing tools will be used within the schools to increase utilization of SBHCs, while helping to spread the word of the valuable resources that are available in the centers.

Focus on Youth with Informed Parents and Children Together

FOY + ImPACT is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded 8-session evidence-based small group education program that works with youth aged 12-15 to help them develop the skills and knowledge needed to protect themselves from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).  


During the months of November and December, IWES partnered with the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) to offer FOY to 14 young women from their afterschool program. They met weekly for two months and had the opportunity to work with the girls around topics including sexual health, HIV/STIs, and pregnancy prevention. Post-test assessments showed an increase in knowledge and skills amongst all participants! Parents and adult supporters came out to the FOY graduation to celebrate the accomplishments of the young women. IWES is excited about continued collaboration with YEP!   

FOY is currently recruiting for a new cohort of either boys or girls between the ages of 12-15. Please contact Melanie Powers for more details.

Making Proud Choices! - NOLA!  

IWES was one of six entities in Louisiana awarded monies to fund teen responsibility and pregnancy prevention programs through the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Adolescent Health's Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative. Through this initiative, IWES has created MPC!-NOLA!, which serves youth aged 11-13 through the utilization of the 8-module evidence-based Making Proud Choices  curriculum along with two additional modules developed by Dr. Denese Shervington which focus on emotional health and resiliency.


 Over the past several months Making Proud Choices has been implemented in various settings with almost 200 participants and graduates to date. MPC!-NOLA! completed implementations with:

If you're interested in having MPC!-NOLA! implemented at your site, please contact Chana Doreaux.



MPC!-NOLA! is excited about the success of their first men's mini-conference held along with the Children's Defense Fund, Xavier University, and the Black Men & Boys Initiative. "A Legacy Deferred: The role of males in overcoming adversity & promoting community resilience" attracted an inter-generational audience of more than 70 men eager to engage in discussion on the issues they face. Please see the feature on the side of this email for more information about the event. Check out an article in the Times-Picayune written by one of the event's facilitators, Jarvis DeBerry, about the event and the necessity of hope!  


MPC!-NOLA! is proud to announce that it has hired a new full-time staff member, Mario Jones, who has also been trained as a facilitator. Welcome, Mario, to the IWES family! 


Like us on Facebook

Like MPC!-NOLA! on Facebook for more information and regular updates about the program.

Teen Outreach Program
Through the Department of Health & Human Services' Office of Adolescent Health's Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, Office of Public Health Family Planning Program was awarded a grant to implement the evidence-based Teen Outreach Program (TOP) throughout the entire state of Louisiana. IWES was selected as one of the agencies qualified to implement TOP, making it the newest youth program at IWES.


TOP serves youth aged 12-18 through a 9-month program that focuses on teen pregnancy prevention and academic outcomes, including drop-out and course failure rates. The curriculum includes lessons on sexual health, values, goal-setting, relationships with friends and family, and other topics relevant to youth. TOP also includes a community service-learning component in which participants plan their own service projects, carry them out, and strategize sustainability.


TOP is successfully in it's first full year of implementation. IWES has started three TOP clubs that meet weekly at B.W. Cooper, Excel Star, and Dryades YMCA, serving a total of 48 youth in the Greater New Orleans Area. In the last few months, the clubs have been learning about establishing their own values, family dynamics, healthy relationships, and what it means to be a part of a community. They're gearing up to plan their community service projects, and the youth are excited to choose an area in which they can make a difference.


If you or your organization is interested in being a part of the Teen Outreach Program, contact Ragan Collins or Della Wright.

Becoming A Responsible Teen

In addition to implementing youth programs around the city, IWES also serves in a training, fidelity monitoring, and quality assurance role for the Health Education Program (HEP) component of the 4 Real Health
. 4 Real Health is one component of the
Louisiana Public Health Institute's Orleans Teen Pregnancy Prevention Project, and is implemented by two partner organizations,  Communities in Schools and Job 1.    


The Health Education Program encompasses sexual health, nutrition, and physical activity utilizing the evidence-based Becoming A Responsible Teen (BART) curriculum. These courses include information on communication skills, problem solving, and negotiation, as well as exercise, healthy eating, and nutrion. 4Real Health serves youth aged 15-18, and is currently implementing with several groups of young people.


Since October, IWES has trained two new health educators in BART as well as classroom management. The IWES 4 Real Health staff was also trained in the Healthy Living curriculum, which teaches how to identify nutrient rich foods, how to make a nutrition plan, and how to make healthy choices easy. In addition, IWES coordinated a training on mandatory reporting requirements in Louisiana that was conducted by Tyra Mercadel, Community Specialist/Program Coordinator of the Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services.  IWES 4 Real Health staff is looking forward to holding additional trainings on topics such as reproductive health, as well as conducting classroom observations with all of the new BART groups this spring and summer.

Youth Programs Advisory Board   

IWES staff convenes quarterly Youth Programs Advisory Board (YPAB) meetings with local youth, community stakeholders, and partners. These meetings have not only helped inform IWES youth programming, but they also serve as a place for youth advocates and supporters to come together and talk about local youth issues like juvenile justice and school food reform.  


The December YPAB meeting was an informative panel discussion that addressed the growing mental health challenges faced by New Orleans youth as well as the lack of comprehensive services. The panel of experts included: Dr. Cheryll Bowers-Stevens, MD, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist; Dr. Arnold James, PhD, MPH, Tulane Asst. Professor of Clinical Psychiatry; Tamia Randolph Alvarez, M.Ed., NCC, KIPP Renaissance High School Counselor; and Dr. Denese Shervington, MD, MPH, IWES CEO/Founder and Tulane Professor of Clinical Psychiatry. IWES is continuing to facilitate discussions and events around issues of mental health in New Orleans.   


If you're interested in participating in the next quarterly YPAB meeting, have relevant youth topics you would like us to focus on, or know of possible guest speakers, please email Melanie Powers.  

Healing Is The Revolution 
 In June 2011, IWES was approached by the Chaka Khan Foundation and Essence Communications Inc. to embark upon a new initiative with the aim of enhancing the resiliency and overall well-being of 50 African American women in New Orleans to support their achievement of a life-enhancing goal. This year-long initiative commenced during the 2011 Essence Music Festival with a Welcome Reception featuring Chaka Khan, a private empowerment session with Ms. Khan and author/inspirational speaker Ms. Iyanla Vanzant, and a VIP experience during Chaka's performance at the Music Festival.


Over the course of the year, up until the 2012 Essence Music Festival, the fifty women participate in monthly personal development workshops as well as bimonthly meetings with a mentor matched according to each woman's individual goal. In the monthly meetings they are exploring and developing personal strength and resiliency and with their mentors they work towards achievable steps toward their specific goals. Some examples of goals the women have chosen are first-time home ownership, furthering education, credit repair, and losing weight.


The HIR project is flourishing with plans for many new activities in the New Year including more small-group meetings, weekly exercise groups and ongoing monthly workshops. The young women involved in the program continue to dedicate themselves to their goals and to the support network they have created. By the end of 2011, many women had already met some of these goals including: finding housing for themselves and their children, finding employment in their field of interest, enrolling in school, graduating from college, and taking advantage of local services towards credit repair and first-time home ownership.   


To combat the holiday blues, the focus of the November meeting was "The Biology of Stress." After hearing a presentation from Dr. Shervington about how stress affects the body, participants were treated to acupuncture, acupressure, and light massage. The most recent meeting was held at the end of January to celebrate a new year and the continued efforts of this amazing group of women. Participants identified what a "healthier me" would look like and offered each other tips on how to be their healthiest selves. IWES also celebrated the circle of women leaders that serve as Champions for the project by providing mentorship and encouragement to the HIR participants.  


IWES and the HIR project would like to thank the George & Leah McKenna Museum of African American Art for hosting Healing is the Revolution each month!


For more information about the partnership, go to the Superlife Transformation website

Thanks for taking a moment to read our Quarterly E-Blast. If you ever have any questions, comments, or feedback, please feel free to email us.