Team

YTH’s team is headquartered in Oakland, California, with contributors in Brooklyn, NY, Portland, OR and around the country.

Bhupendra SheoranCara SilvaJay Lykens
Erin McKelleMolly PillotonLaiah Idelson photo
Jimmy Rogers photoJulie Tinker photoCaryn Graves photo
Emma S photoChris B photo

Bhupendra Sheoran

Executive Director

[email protected] | @SheoranYTH
Bhupendra Sheoran
Bhupendra Sheoran has over 13 years experience working with youth and young adults, starting in 2000 when he worked with teenage mothers to provide them with nutrition education.

As executive director of YTH, Sheoran leads the organization, involving himself in grant writing, strategic planning, and representing YTH to the community and stakeholders. He works with the program team to design new media and technology programs. He has designed, implemented, and evaluated text messaging campaigns and conducted social media outreach to reach at-risk and hard to reach populations. He also provides capacity building assistance to agencies that want to apply these technologies to their work especially in sexual and reproductive health focusing on youth.

Now based in Oakland, California, Sheoran began his career as a medical doctor in India. He subsequently moved into public health and got an MBA in health management. He has since worked in South and Southeast Asia and the U.S. in varying roles with nonprofit agencies, the United Nations, and in academic institutions addressing the health needs of diverse populations including LGBTQ, Native Americans, and Asian and Pacific Islanders. His responsibilities have included strategic planning, designing and implementing social marketing campaigns, research, and program design.

Sheoran has published articles in the Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care and the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. His work has been featured in both online and print media including POZ magazine, Aegis, and BAR.

Sheoran likes to bring a combination of clinical and public health knowledge and experience to address health issues at both individual and population level. He believes in compassion, respect, and humility and these are the values he continues to incorporate in his work at YTH.

Cara Lynn Silva

Director of Programs

[email protected]

Cara SilvaA seasoned public health professional, Cara Silva has spent the past sixteen years working with youth and young adults around sexual health promotion and disease prevention. As the Director of Programs, Cara has worked with YTH providing leadership and management of YTH’s programs, including youth-centered health design, digital innovation, youth alliances, technical and mobile development, and research. She has been with YTH staff since 2010.

Cara has a Master of Public Health (MPH) in global health from Loma Linda University, a post-baccalaureate Certificate of Humanitarian Assistance, and sixteen years of field epidemiology and program management experience in state and county public health systems. She has further served in leadership roles for community-based and faith-based nonprofit public health organizations in local, national, and international settings.

Her passion for HIV prevention and, ultimately, her career in public health has been inspired by the late Ryan White. One of the first faces of the AIDS crisis, Ryan White altered public perception of the disease and demonstrated—to Cara and many others—the remarkable power of a youth voice.

Jay Lykens

Program Coordinator

[email protected]
jay-lykensJay comes to YTH with extensive experience in research and youth engagement. As an advocate for LGBTQ sexual health and rights, he’s especially interested in reducing trans/genderqueer health disparities and improving health care access. As YTH’s Program Coordinator, Jay works as a researcher on a number of programs and as a coordinator for the annual YTH Live conference.

Jay received his masters from San Francisco State University with a masters in sexuality studies with an emphasis in psychology. He also works as a research technician with San Francisco State University’s Project AFFIRM, a study on gender identity development and resilience. He received his BA in psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he worked with a number of community organizations for LGBTQ youth.

Jay is originally from the South and is a nerd at heart. He loves sci-fi/fantasy, plants, video games, and getting lost in bookstores. Jay is passionate about furthering YTH’s mission and hopes to see more scholars and advocates make use of technology-based health interventions.

Erin McKelle

Communications Associate

[email protected]
Erin McKelle
Erin McKelle is a digital media consultant, freelance coach, feminist blogger, entrepreneur, and creative evangelist. She divides her time between working as a consultant for clients ranging from startups to small non-profits, writing for popular online publications, and building her empire.

Erin has worked for many organizations as a staff member, community manager, editor, and youth leader, including Scenarios USA, Adios Barbie, Everyday Feminism, and The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. Her work as a writer has been featured everywhere from independent blogs to national publications, such as Bustle, Fearless Press, RH Reality Check, and Huffington Post. A Midwesterner at heart, Erin currently lives in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.

When not engaged in a passion project, Erin can usually be found reading a book, cooking up a new recipe, or obsessing over pop-culture.

Molly Pilloton

Program Officer, Youth Innovation

[email protected]
Molly Pilloton photo

Molly has worn many hats in the public health field, and the central thread throughout her career is her dedication to youth. Molly comes to YTH with seven years of experience in curriculum design, research, and program management. As a Program Officer in Youth Innovation, Molly leads research projects and works to develop youth leadership through local school partnerships and YTH’s internship program.

Molly graduated from Emory University and received her master’s in public health with a focus on global health and development. Her previous work includes coordinating health programs and developing health education curriculum for Berkeley, Oakland, and Chicago public schools; managing two HIV research projects out of the University of Chicago Infectious Disease unit; evaluation research for CARE International; and building partnerships with city, state, and national public health organizations.

When she isn’t hard at work, Molly can be found trail running, collecting vintage tools, reading non-fiction, or daydreaming about opening a pie shop by day, detective agency by night.

Laiah Idelson

Program Officer

[email protected] | @laiahjo
Laiah Idelson photo

Laiah Idelson is an experienced public health professional, having worked in the US and abroad, and is passionate about mobile technologies, health education, and mass media. As the Program Officer at YTH, Laiah provides leadership and support for YTH’s global and domestic mHealth and capacity building projects.

Most recently, Laiah worked at the Alameda County Public Health Department leading health equity projects and communications. She has also worked on health behavior change programs in sub-Saharan Africa related to family planning, maternal health, HIV, and malaria. She has served as a public health consultant for Glow, a US-based mobile application designed to help women track and understand their fertility.

Laiah has a MSPH in health communication and education with an emphasis in maternal child health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and is a proud Bay Area native. She enjoys spicy food, acquiring new passport stamps, and laughing at everything. Follow her on Twitter: @laiahjo.

Caryn Graves

Consultant

[email protected]
Caryn Graves photo
Caryn Graves has been working for YTH since 2005, performing the “nitty gritty” technical implementations that bring to fruition the end products out of initial concepts.

She has worked on numerous projects over the course of her years at YTH, such as websites for health clinics, STD partner notification, clinic locators, SMS reminders, online faxing of prescriptions, and social media campaigns. YTH has been an ideal outlet for her desire to apply the latest technologies in innovative ways for good social causes.

Caryn has a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering from USC and Master of Engineering in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Before joining YTH, she worked as a software engineer in the private sector.

When not helping to forge the frontiers of sexual health promotion, Caryn undertakes a challenge very different in nature but no less in magnitude—the parenting of her two school-aged children. She also enjoys science fiction, games, running, gardening, cooking, and a wide range of music.

Emma Schlamm

Program Assistant

[email protected]
Emma S photo
A recent East Coast transplant, Emma is enjoying exploring Oakland while working at YTH. This year, she graduated from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA with degrees in Spanish and sociology. At F&M, Emma volunteered at Pennsylvania’s first and only in-patient drug and alcohol rehabilitation center for Latino men and served as the Secretary of the Students for Autism Awareness Club. In her junior year of college, Emma lived in Argentina and researched obstetric violence and the significant role it plays in the ongoing struggle for women’s bodily autonomy.

In her free time, Emma enjoys exploring new Bay Area destinations, watching The Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network, and following more dogs than actual people on Instagram.

Chris Bannister

Program Coordinator

[email protected]
chris-headshot
Chris comes to YTH with years of experience in research and youth involvement. As an advocate of harm reduction policies, he’s especially interested in reducing the stigmas surrounding HIV transmission and intravenous injection drug use among young gay men. As YTH’s Program Coordinator, Chris coordinates a number of programs including PrEPTECH and they2ze.

Chris received his BA in Psychology from San Francisco State University in 2012. During his undergraduate career, he developed an interest in harm reduction for at risk populations within the LGBTQ community. Chris’ previous work focuses on prison rights advocacy and public health policy among sexually active incarcerated males. While enrolled in the Sexuality Master’s Program at San Francisco State University, the culmination of Chris’ work was presented as a qualitative exploration on the institutional erasure of consensual intercourse among male inmates.

Chris is originally from a small suburb located in Los Angeles but has been living in the Bay Area for close to ten years. When he’s not working at YTH, he likes to go to shows, read books, collect vinyls, and take his Fairdale Weekender Bike on long trips across the Bay.

Jimmy Rogers

Creative Digital Strategist

[email protected]
jimmy-headshot
Jimmy found his way to YTH after years of working in journalism, public relations, communications and marketing for a variety of organizations including the Sierra Club’s Sierra Magazine, Insomniac magazine, and at video game and tech companies like Capcom, Warner Brothers, EA, Bossa Studios, Improbable and more during his time at 47 Communications.

Now, as the Creative Digital Strategist at YTH, he works to further the health and wellness of young people by promoting the team’s innovative programs, working with press in tech and health to shine a light on YTH’s goals, writing/editing copy, managing editorial content, and finding new ways to engage with YTH’s growing community.

He is originally from Issaquah, Washington and graduated from Western Washington University with a combined major in journalism and environmental studies. In his free time he still writes as often as he can about environmental issues, brews hard ginger ale with his girlfriend and spends weekends lounging at Ocean Beach in SF.

Julie Tinker

Lead Visual Designer

[email protected] | [email protected]
julie-headshot
Julie is founder and principal of TinkerCo, a design studio specializing in technology, health, and cause-driven clients. With more than a decade of experience as a multimedia storyteller, designer, animator and producer, Julie works as Lead Visual Designer on a wide range of YTH projects, including digital innovation and mobile products like they2ze.

Julie has an MFA in design from The School of Visual Arts and an MA in Sociology from Stanford University. In her career, Julie has focused on the principle of human-centered design, which puts empathy, community and experimentation at the core of the creative process. Her clients have included Seventh Generation, the Kaiser Family Foundation, International Planned Parenthood, UCSF and the Discovery Channel.

When Julie is not deep in the world of design, she can be found exploring Oakland, camping, or making beautiful meals and messy art with her family.

Our thanks

We’d like to thank those others that have generously contributed their skills and passion to helping YTH take great strides in advancing youth health, including:

Arai Buendia, Jessica Ken, Jade Lopez, Joseph Negrido, Nick Newton, Zach Seidl, Jasmine Smith, Evonne Smith, Aileen So