Team

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

Bhupendra SheoranCara SilvaAlex_center
Jay LykensErin McKelleJade Lopez
Molly PillotonLaiah Idelson photoCaryn Graves photo
David Begor photoBrianna Suslovic photo

Emma Pence photoKate Wilburn photoNick Newton photo


Bhupendra Sheoran

Executive Director

sheoran@yth.org | @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

cara@yth.org

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.

Alex Medina

Digital Communications Officer

alex@yth.org

Alex_centerAlex brings eight years of experience in web, social media and digital project management to the YTH team. As YTH’s digital communications officer, Alex oversees all organizational and programmatic web and social media platforms. He also provides training and technical support to clients and strategic partners in the development and execution of web and social media strategies that advance the health and wellness of young people.

Alex previously worked at Answer/Sex, Etc. and provided comprehensive sexuality education to young people online. He is proud of his work on a groundbreaking sex education game called Safer Sex Shuffle, winner of the 2013 Games for Change Game Design Competition, in addition to the redesign of Sexetc.org in 2012. Alex has also worked as a peer-to-peer counselor on sexuality and LGBTQ issues before graduating from Rutgers University with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology.

Alex has been an ally of YTH for years and a YTH Live panelist and programming committee member. He is a Jersey boy at heart and has dreamed of living in the Bay Area since his first time at YTH Live in 2011. Now based in Oakland, he lives with his partner and enjoys video games, NPR, Android and all things tech in his spare time.

Jay Lykens

Program Coordinator

james@yth.org
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

erin@yth.org
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.

Jade Lopez

Marketing and Administrative Coordinator

jade@yth.org | @jade_claire
Jade Lopez
Jade Lopez is a global health and development professional with over three years of experience living and working in Eastern Sub Saharan Africa, Southern Asia, and Europe. She plays a key role executing YTH’s communications strategy and supporting staff and programs to advance the health and wellness of young people.

Jade most recently developed primary healthcare programs in India. She is grateful for the opportunity to have taught secondary science as an education volunteer with the United States Peace Corps in Mozambique. While there, Jade implemented, monitored, and evaluated a hospital internship program, which was modeled after US pre-med internships and received a nomination for a United Nations Public Service Award. She also worked in Health Education at the Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center in San Francisco, assisting in the execution of novel, mobile, non-clinical, and free HIV testing. Jade graduated in 2011 pre-med from the University of California, Davis with a BS in biological sciences with an emphasis in neurology, physiology and behavior, and a minor in religious studies.

A Bay Area native, Jade is lucky to spend her time experiencing the idiosyncrasies of human cultures, celebrating her Puerto Rican and British dual heritage, practicing yoga and meditation, and creating water color sketches of her surroundings. If you want to talk about critical pedagogy in Portuguese, watch Star Wars, or know any terrific taquerias, please contact her on Twitter at @jade claire.

Molly Pilloton

Program Officer, Youth Innovation

molly@yth.org
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

laiah@yth.org | @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

Lead Engineer

caryn@yth.org
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.

David Begor

Consultant

david@yth.org | @MyQPlanet
David Begor photo
David Begor considers himself fortunate to have worked on amazing projects with YTH over the last 6 years, including YTH Live, Today is for Tomorrow, and Oregon Reminders to name just a few.

David enjoys each project for the different ways they educate and excite him. Being a part of YTH has allowed David to participate in the forefront of sexual health education among youth through the organization’s discovery of what works technologically. Each project is a new adventure.

David has worked in design and user experience for over 20 years, from visual merchandising at Saks Fifth Avenue to independent graphic, print, and web design for various companies throughout California. In 2002 David joined forces with his good friend Mike Ryan to create Cold Day in Hell Productions, a web development company focused on the gay community. In 2008 David, his (life) partner, and their son, and moved to Portland, Oregon where he started consulting on web and print projects for various companies, including YTH.

In his free time David is working towards finding the existential meaning to his life through humor, friendships, and self discovery. …Also World Peace.

Brianna Suslovic

Social Justic Ambassador

brianna@yth.org
Brianna Suslovic photo

Brianna Suslovic is a youth advocate for reproductive justice and is currently in her senior year at Harvard College. As a member of Advocates for Youth’s Young Women of Color Leadership Council, a board member of Sexual Health Education and Advocacy at Harvard College, and a Repeal Hyde Art Project Leader, Brianna works to bring sexual and reproductive health issues to the forefront of campus conversations. Brianna is also a Youth Advocate with her local Planned Parenthood affiliate, educating healthcare providers about how to deliver youth-friendly sexual and reproductive healthcare services.

Brianna’s organizing and advocacy at Harvard College led to the development of a comprehensive gender neutral housing policy, one that expands safe housing options for trans*, gender variant, and gender non-conforming students. Brianna currently writes a column titled “Yes Queen” for The Harvard Crimson, where she discusses intersectional feminist topics biweekly. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @bsuslovic, or at her website, briannasuslovic.com.

Emma Pence

Intern

emma@yth.org
Emma Pence photo

Emma is a third-year at Virginia Tech, double-majoring in human development and international studies with a concentration in global development. She is also minoring in Spanish and women and gender studies.

At her university she is a part of the Health Education Awareness Team (HEAT),a peer-education program serving the campus andthe surrounding community. Emma became passionate about youth health, and their sexual health in particular, through teaching programs where she witnessed youth developing and implementing their own initiatives to peers to promote increased health and wellness.

She is interested in learning more about how technology can be effectively integrated into programs for efficient education to reach such a tech-savvy generation.. In her free time, Emma enjoys exploring outside whether that be hiking, backpacking, or skiing.

Kate Wilburn

Intern

kate@yth.org
Kate Wilburn photo

Kate is excited to join the YTH team this summer as an intern. Coming from the University of Washington in Seattle, she is entering her senior year studying public health and global health with specific interests in reproductive, sexual, and mental health. She hopes to combine her public health knowledge with social justice advocacy for women and youth, both domestically and abroad.

At UW, Kate worked as a research assistant in the Division of Public Behavioral Health and Justice Policy and as a communications intern for the AIMS (Advancing Integrated Mental Health Solutions) Center. While studying abroad in northern India last fall, she also conducted research on community health workers with Aarohi, a local NGO.

This summer, she can be found exploring the hiking, biking, and eating the Bay Area has to offer!!

Nick Newton

Intern

nick@yth.org
Nick Newton photo

Nick is currently a graduate student at San Francisco State University in the sexuality studies department. Originally from a small farm town in California’s Central Valley, he graduated with a BA in psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2015. After several years of experience as a research assistant, he completed his undergraduate honors thesis on male sexual restrictiveness–otherwise known as one’s sociosexuality–and how it predicts a preference for feminine female faces in heterosexual and bisexual men. Along with his research experience, Nick also brings years of LGBTQ activism and community involvement to the YTH team.

Now in graduate school, Nick is using his master’s thesis to shed light on an important yet overlooked issue in the LGBTQ community—femininity shaming among gay men. His current study examines how feminine gay men conceptualize their femininity and experiences with femme-shaming and also looks at femme-shaming as a classed and racialized phenomena.

After getting his MA in sexuality studies, Nick plans to enter a sociology PhD program to continue his research on LGBTQ discrimination and well-being.

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, Zach Seidl, Jasmine Smith, Evonne Smith