Team

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


Bhupendra Sheoran

Cara SilvaJay Lykens
Erin McKelleLaiah Idelson photo
Julie Tinker photoJosh Bettenhausen photo
Caryn Graves photoEmma S photoJaclyn 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

Research Manager

[email protected]
jay-lykensJay comes to YTH with extensive experience in research, usability, and engagement. He’s especially interested in reducing health disparities and improving lives through technology. As YTH’s Research Manager, Jay works as a researcher on a number of programs, from development to analysis.

Jay received his masters from San Francisco State University with an emphasis in psychology. He is also a Study Director at San Francisco State University, and leads many projects at CREGS. 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, data, 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.

Laiah Idelson

Strategic Partnerships and Innovation Lead

[email protected] | @laiahjo
Laiah Idelson photo

Laiah Idelson has worked in the US and abroad in the areas of mobile health, health education, and youth empowerment. As the Strategic Partnerships and Innovation Lead, Laiah supports new business development and provides leadership for the YTH’s innovative digital health programming. Prior to YTH, Laiah worked at the Center for Interfaith Action, FHI 360, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs on a variety of health behavior change programs in sub-Saharan Africa related to family planning, maternal health, HIV, and malaria. She has also worked at the Alameda County Public Health Department leading health equity projects and communications, and has served as a public health consultant for Glow, a US-based mobile application designed to help women track and understand their fertility. She received her MSPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Follow her on Twitter @laiahjo.

Mariela Uribe

Program Officer

[email protected]
Mariela is an Oakland native and is passionate about using innovation to address public health issues. As a Program Officer for YTH, Mariela provides leadership and support to YTH projects, youth engagement, and in developing local partnerships.

Mariela has extensive experience facilitating community capacity building efforts, multi-sector partnerships, strategic planning, program management, and experience working with underserved communities. Mariela comes to YTH after four years leading health equity projects at the Alameda County Public Health Department. Additionally, she has experience working as college advisor in the Oakland Unified School District.

Mariela obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley. She is an avid traveler and reader. In her free time she enjoys being outdoors, watching “bad” TV, painting, and spending time with her family and friends.

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 Coordinator

[email protected]
Emma S photo
Emma is a Program Coordinator and supports both YTH programs and new fund development. She contributes to a variety of YTH programs related to teen pregnancy prevention and substance abuse, such as Fresno-based In the Know, an app for trans-spectrum youth; they2ze, a mobile application for transgender-spectrum youth; and the Spanish-language site for educational sexual education material on Amaze.org. Emma is passionate about the intersection of mental health, sexual health, and substance abuse. She has studied in both Ireland and Argentina, two countries with very restrictive reproductive rights, inspiring her passion for reproductive justice.

Prior to working at YTH, Emma held many direct service positions, including working with young people with autism, Latino men struggling with substance abuse, and Spanish-speaking preschoolers. Most recently, Emma worked at Exhale, the country’s first and only after-abortion talkline.

Emma graduated from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with a BA in Sociology and Spanish Literature. She serves on the NMAC New ERAdication of HIV: Youth Navigation Program (YNP) Advisory Board, and volunteers some of her free time supporting people experiencing domestic and interpersonal violence through the La Casa de Las Madres as a California-certified Domestic Violence Counselor and Advocate. Emma also enjoys exploring new Bay Area destinations, eating her way through the Ferry Building farmer’s market every Saturday, and following more dogs than actual people on Instagram.

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.

Josh Bettenhausen

Lead Technology & Marketing Officer

[email protected]
Josh-headshot
This is Josh’s second stay at YTH.
His first stay contributed to early YTH youth successes like the launch of Sex::Tech Just/Us, and Get Live, Stay Live.
In between YTH stints, Josh has been a part of Oakland business development, and rock n roll art departments. He can also be found at your favorite grocery store.

Jaclyn Shea

Program Officer

[email protected]
Josh-headshot
As a Program Officer for YTH, Jaclyn provides leadership and support to YTH projects and youth engagement. Jaclyn’s passionate about issues relating to sexual health, HIV, youth, and LGBTQ+ communities. She’s contributed to the design and evaluation of youth sex education programs, digital health interventions for those at risk and living with HIV, and biomedical HIV prevention products (including a vaginal ring and arm implant) in the US, sub Saharan Africa, and Vietnam. While in graduate school she led a qualitative study with female sex workers in Malawi exploring the acceptability and preferred delivery of PrEP and for her Capstone project her team analyzed the health and violence impacts of HB2 (known as the “bathroom bill”) on the lives of transgender and LGBTQ+ youth in North Carolina. She received her MPH from the Gillings School of Global Public Health in the Department of Health Behavior at UNC Chapel Hill. In her free time Jaclyn enjoys doing flying trapeze, hiking, dancing, savoring delicious food, and exploring the bay.

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


INNOVATE: NEXT
NEXT is a mobile responsive website to facilitate access to preventive services, including STD prevention, sexual health resources, and other social services for youth exiting supervised care systems (YESCS) like foster care and/or the juvenile justice system.
Learn more about this YTH project