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.

, May 2nd, is the 11th Annual National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and we hope that everyone concerned about teen pregnancy will do what they can to promote this year's fun and informative online activities, including taking the National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy's popular National Day Quiz!

On the National Day and throughout May, teens nationwide can visit to participate in a number of online activities-including the new Stay Teen CRUSH! game that delivers teen pregnancy prevention messages and challenges youth to think carefully about what they might do "in the moment."  


The message of the National Day is straightforward: Sex has consequences. In 2011, more than a half-million people participated in the tenth annual National Day! The National Campaign hopes that the National Day will help teens think carefully about sex, relationships, contraception, the possibility of pregnancy, and the lifelong challenges of being a parent.  


So don't forget, take the National Day Quiz NOW! 


If you have any specific questions about the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, please contact Michael Rosst at 202-478-8507 or To receive timely updates about the results of the 2012 National Day, please sign up for the National Day Notification Network.
Denese Headshot
Congratulations to IWES Co-Founder/CEO, Denese Shervington, M.D., MPH, for winning the 2012 Jeanne Spurlock Minority Fellowship Achievement Award from the American Psychiatric Association (APA)!!

The Jeanne Spurlock Minority Fellowship Achievement Award recognizes the outstanding achievements of alumnae and alumni of the APA minority fellowships and encourages continued involvement in the fellowship program. The Minority Fellowships Program (MFP) endeavors to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in mental health and substance abuse care by providing specialized training to psychiatry residents and medical students interested in serving minority communities. Dr. Shervington joins the ranks of fellow physicians that have previously received this award such as Drs. Irma Bland, William Lawson, Patricia Ordorica, Mindy Fullilove, Robert T.M. Phillips, Michelle Clark, Yvonne Ferguson, Ikwunga Wonodi and Kenneth Rogers.


In honor of National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, on Friday, May 18, IWES will host the Teen Pregnancy Prevention MARCH TO ZERO Talent Showcase from 5:30pm-9:00pm at the Joy Theater (1200 Canal St.)

FREE & Open to the public, this event will be a chance to  enjoy wonderful performances from middle and high-school aged youth and receive teen pregnancy prevention information in a fun, interactive manner.

ALL Ages are welcome, youth are ENCOURAGED!

Stay tuned for updates with further event information!
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Featured IWES Film
Superlife Trailer

Superlife Trailer

This trailer was created as a summary of the Superlife/HIR  program (see below for HIR updates). The footage is compiled from Chaka Khan's visit to the April 2012 monthly meeting as well as other monthly meetings and events.

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 YEAH-NOLA Team! 

Jennifer Glick, MPH
 Program Manager

Jennifer joined IWES in 2007 to coordinate the Pillow Talk program and went on to manage the Media Advocates for Prevention (MAP) program. She now serves as the Youth Eradicating HIV/AIDS - New Orleans, LA (YEAH-NOLA) Program Director, ensuring the effective implementation of multiple youth HIV prevention programs and projects for IWES. Jennifer has worked in various sectors of the Public Health field, exploring the ways that Social Justice issues intersect. Her areas of experience include HIV & sexual health, positive youth development, reproductive justice, post-disaster recovery, program development and implementation, monitoring & evaluation, and international development. Jennifer received her Masters of Public Health from Tulane University in International Health and Development and her BA from NYU in Anthropology.
 Email Jennifer at

Iman Shervington, MFA Director of Media/
Program Coordinator

Iman joined IWES as a Media Consultant in 2008 and became a Program Coordinator in 2009. She received her BA from the University of Southern California in International Relations (2005) and her Masters of Fine Arts in Directing from Columbia University (2010) and now serves as a videographer/ photographer/editor for IWES projects and events. She has experience in script development, cinematography, directing, producing, and editing narrative and non-narrative films. She is also a Program Coordinator for the Media Advocates for Prevention program and works with local African American high school aged youth to develop media projects to advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention among their peers. Iman served as the Program Coordinator for the STOP program, where she helped develop and maintain a social marketing media campaign. Iman has experience in social marketing, sexual health and HIV prevention, curriculum development, focus group facilitation, positive youth development, and media literacy. Email Iman at

Melanie Powers
FOY Program Coordinator

Melanie  joined IWES as the Administrative Officer in August 2009. Born and raised in New Orleans, she received her BA from Louisiana State University in International Studies (2007), through which she was provided the incredible opportunity to study abroad in Chile, learn a new language, and experience a wonderful culture. She is currently enrolled in  Louisiana State University's Public Health Masters program.

Melanie serves as the Program Coordinator for the Focus on Youth + ImPACT program, which works with African American youth aged 12-15 to provide them with the skills, knowledge, and self-esteem necessary to protect themselves from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Melanie has experience in program implementation (with fidelity), sexual health and HIV prevention programming, curriculum development, focus group facilitation, and positive youth development. Email Melanie at

Katherine Eyster
HIV Program Assistant

Katherine joined the IWES staff in August 2011 through AmeriCorps as the HIV Program Assistant. After graduating from Wesleyan University with a degree in American History, she was awarded a Ford Fellowship in Wesleyan's Writing Programs. Passionate about social justice, she has long been involved in prison education, health and reproductive justice, and work with underserved youth. She is thrilled to be at IWES where she can focus her energy on HIV prevention amongst youth. Katherine assists in implementing the YEAH- NOLA program, helping to train high-school aged HIV prevention Peer Advocates. As a facilitator for Making Proud Choices! - NOLA, she also has the opportunity to work with younger students. Katherine is grateful for the chance to learn from the dedicated IWES staff and the inspiring youth of New Orleans. Email Katherine at

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. 


In March, MAP Peer Advocates performed community engagement and advocacy throughout the city! PAs tabled at the Red Umbrella March, the Dreams are Weapons youth event, and the 9th Ward Global Youth Festival! Additionally, a Peer Advocate was invited to speak on the Faith In Action Network's HIV prevention panel.

Peer Advocates also had a strong showing in IWES's Youth HIV Prevention Essay Contest, which asked New Orleans youth what they could do to turn the tide of HIV/AIDS to ZERO! MAP PA Seandr� Napoleon won first place, while PAs Anika Butler, Naijha Dailey, and Keiandr� Hall received honorable mentions.
Essay Contest WINNER, Seandr� Napoleon, posing with MAP Program Manager, Jennifer Glick at the 9th Ward Global Youth Festival.
Peer Advocates and MAP staff are developing a social marketing campaign promoting HIV testing amongst bisexual youth of color in New Orleans. In preparation, PAs were trained on social marketing campaign development and LGBTQ cultural competency. They are currently assisting staff in formative research. Look forward to the campaign kick-off this summer!

Meanwhile, PAs are also developing new Role Model Stories and creating a script for an original MAP film. Look out for new, BLUE, MAP kits with new Role Model Stories in the upcoming months!


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. 


SBHC led an Advocacy/ Leadership training at Walter L. Cohen High School and New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School. Twenty-three students completed the training this April! These trained leaders had the opportunity to utilize their newly acquired skills during the SBHC Awareness Day at the Louisiana State Capitol on Wednesday, April 25, 2012. The Advocacy Day was conducted in partnership with LPHI's School Health Connection and the Louisiana Assembly on School-Based Health Care (LASBHC). An additional in-depth training was conducted for the SBHC Youth Media Work Group to prepare them for the day. Students were given an overview of what to expect during their legislative visit  and practiced their communication skills, particularly geared toward communicating with legislators.

Youth at the Louisiana State Capitol participating in Advocacy Day on Wednesday, April 25th, 2012.

A total of 33 students participated in the Advocacy Day from John Ehret High School, Warren Easton High School, Eleanor McMain Secondary School, New Orleans Charter Science & Mathematics High School, Walter L. Cohen High School, and O. Perry Walker High School. Students and adult allies educated legislators on teen health issues, such as support for the passage of HB 820 (Comprehensive Sexuality Education Bill) and HB 816 (Youth Risk Behavior Survey Question Bill), both proposed by Representative Patricia Smith. Youth observed a live Criminal Justice committee meeting and took a tour of the Capitol building. Jo'Shanique Anderson (Warren Easton), Anika Butler (Sci High), Jeremy Tauriac (Warren Easton), and Bre'Aisha Warren (Warren Easton) also gave testimony in support of House Bill 820 in the Education committee meeting.

Anika Butler and Bre'Aisha Warren speaking in favor of House Bill 820.

 Other activities SBHC staff have recently participated in include: attending the 2012 LASBHC conference, CAC meetings, Warren Easton's Wellness Fair and committee meetings, and Connect to Protect meetings.

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).  


FOY is proud to continue its partnership with the Youth Empowerment Project. This April FOY conducted its first boys group with 10 male participants from the YEP after school program. The group began April 11 and will continue through the end of May. As FOY continues to work with the young men of YEP, it is also recruiting for two summer sessions.  


FOY is currently recruiting for summer cohorts of 10-12 boys or girls (all boys or all 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.


IWES has partnered with the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC) to implement MPC! - NOLA! during the 2012 summer session. NORDC Summer Camp Registration is still open! Registration will be held Saturday, May 19 from 9am to 1pm at the Annunciation Center (800 Race Street).


A list of NORDC kiddie camp locations, schedules and costs can be found here.

The Louisiana Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition (LATPPC) is hosting a state-wide Essay Contest for youth ages 11-19 in Louisiana about what WE (yourself, community leaders, parents, etc.) can do to prevent teen pregnancy. Please see the flyer below for more details and mail in your submission to by 11:59pm on Monday, May 14, 2012! 

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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 its first full year of implementation! IWES has started three TOP clubs that meet weekly at B.W. CooperExcel Star, and Dryades YMCA, serving a total of 49 youth in the Greater New Orleans Area. In the last few months, the clubs have been learning about sexual health, relationship building, communication, goal setting, and decision making. They have also been involved in several community service projects, including assisting IWES with outreach for National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day as well as recruiting participants for an essay contest. They have also volunteered at a community event in their neighborhood. In the next few weeks, the clubs will be having a celebration to honor their efforts in community service.


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

4 Real Health

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.


4 Real Health is wrapping up the Spring Cohort and gearing up for the Summer Cohort to be held at several sites throughout New Orleans. IWES staff developed an interview process to be utilized in hiring new health educators. Interviewees are required to conduct an oral presentation, then they are scored by the panel utilizing a scoring rubric that assesses knowledge of topic, organization, and other professional areas.

IWES staff is also planning a training for current and newly hired health educators in May. The training agenda will include an overview of sexual and reproductive health, BART curriculum and the Healthy Living curriculum. IWES staff also continues to provide fidelity monitoring, technical assistance and training to the 4 Real Health Program.


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.  


This quarter's YPAB meeting addressing youth physical fitness in the Greater New Orleans Area was held on April 12, 2012 at the Central City Renaissance Alliance. IWES hosted a panel discussion moderated by Kathleen Whalen, LCSW, M.Ed. Our panelists included: Jen Bleier, MA, Alliance for a Healthier Generation; Stephanie O'Brien, Girls on the Run; Denali Lander, Youth Run NOLA; and Rashad Bailey, Youth Run NOLA.  


The rich panel discussion covered some of the following topics: the various programs' successes and lessons learned; strategies for engaging youth with varied interests and keeping them motivated; barriers they faced; and, experiences working with schools, parents and adult supporters.   


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.  

Collective for Healthy Community *NEW PROGRAM*
CHC is a W.K. Kellogg Foundation funded program. It was designed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to respond to the lack of spaces for community members to come together to share their stories, learn about the impact of traumatic stress, learn to practice self-care and positive thinking techniques, and participate in activities for renewal and revival. In an attempt to address the aforementioned concerns, IWES has developed several projects; namely, the HIM/Fatherhood Consortium and Community Based Listening Circles.

The HIM/Fatherhood Consortium Project was designed to provide a space for African-American male leaders in the community, of varying educational backgrounds and career trajectories, to share and work through their experiences as an African-American male. The goal is to gather information to help inform public policy, research, and programming through this experiential process. To date, IWES has hosted two successful events for this project and is in the planning phase of a retreat for the participants.

Additionally, IWES will be conducting Community Based Listening Circles to identify what children feel that they need from their school, home, and communities to foster emotional resilience. Three individual Listening Circles will be held throughout the summer, beginning in June.

CHC is working to provide community healing for leaders, youth, parents/caretakers, educators, mental health providers, and lay community members in order to create an environment that fosters the development of an emotionally resilient community!
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.


As the HIR program year comes close to an end, many of the HIR participants have taken concrete steps towards, if not succeeded in reaching the goals that they set for themselves at the beginning of the program. Some of the participants have purchased homes, enrolled in school, begun to repair their credit, found employment, and started businesses. In these few months, the group has grown tremendously together into a close-knit family and created a visible sense of cohesion and support. 


On April 2, Chaka Khan made a special visit to the HIR monthly meeting. Participants got the opportunity to share their accomplishments with Ms. Khan in a lovely, intimate setting. At this meeting they were also able to discuss future plans and begin discussing the upcoming graduation to be held in July.   


Please see this Quarter's featured video (above on the left panel) to watch a short trailer detailing highlights from this year's program. 




IWES and the HIR project would like to thank Tommye Myric at The JuJu Bag Cafe, Chuck Perkins & Suleyman Aydin of Cafe Istanbul, and Jennifer Williams of the George & Leah McKenna Museum of African American Art for hosting Healing is the Revolution meetings.  


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.