Youth Advisory Board

The Youth Advisory Board works with the YTH team to tackle sexual health disparities among youth and young adults. These talented, passionate, and diverse young leaders are involved in projects for youth health around the country, and they influence the development, scope, and design of our projects. The board provides guidance and feedback, as well as contributing their stories and experiences on YTH’s blog.

Or, to put it more simply: they are inspiring.

Meet our Youth Advisory Board:

Brooke Roberts

Brooke Roberts
Brooke Roberts has a strong passion for helping others. Through her continued internship with The Life of a Scholar, she has been able to motivate fellow and future scholars through social media outlets including Facebook and Instagram. Brooke focuses on improving the health and well-being of women who have been domestically abused, in addition to assisting young girls who struggle with self-esteem. She is also determined to find positive and productive ways to keep youth out of trouble, with an emphasis on young black men who are exposed to gun violence.

Brooke believes in selflessness and allowing yourself to become vulnerable in order to benefit others—a quality she wants to instill in today’s youth, especially in her hometown of Gaston, NC. She is extremely involved in extracurricular activities at Elizabeth City State University and loves to volunteer at the local food bank, nursing home, and elementary school. During her spare time, she is addicted to her two favorite shows on Netflix—House and The Office!

Janaya Greene

Janaya Greene
Janaya Greene is a journalist, photographer and student who majors in Public Affairs Journalism with minors in Media Production and Analysis, and African American and African Studies at The Ohio State University. She currently is a Journalism Intern with Ohio State’s College of Public Health. Janaya worked as a VICE Media and Center for Communication Summer 2016 Editorial Fellow and most recently worked as an Audio & Video Production intern with Dynasty Podcasts in Chicago this summer. The Southside Chicago-native is dedicated to giving voices to forgotten communities and those deemed voiceless through her multimedia reporting. Janaya also wrote a short film, Veracity, that was presenting on Hulu and Showtime networks.

She enjoys reading comic books and studying crystal healing to promote spiritual growth in her free time. Read Janaya’s writing and follow her on Twitter at @janayagr.

Monique Nguyen

Monique Nguyen
Last year as a San Francisco Fellow, Monique chose a project to enhance the quality of coordinated healthcare services with the Department of Public Health. She streamlined data processes and visualizations for reduced hospital stay expenditures and for improved quality and scope of services. Hearing personal testimonies from the providers and patients, further grounded her purpose: to empower people and data-driven innovation in the presence of convoluted systems and policies for efficient resource utilization while considering the impact on individuals, social threads, and sustainable solutions.

Monique currently conducts research at Stanford’s Center for Policy, Outcomes, and Prevention to assess how health policy and technology, mobile communications, and the Internet of Things can improve marginalized populations’ access to quality, inclusive, preventive health services. Monique especially finds meaning in projects related to sustainable healthcare innovation and improving healthcare access and education. In her free time, you can find Monique playing volleyball, making abstract art with conventional and unconventional materials, volunteering, or eating homemade snacks. She attempts to make funny puns, but please excuse her if they are terribly corny. Her last name is commonly pronounced “win:” with her puns, she wins some, she loses some. Connect with her on LinkedIN.

Muluba Habanyama

Muluba Habanyama

Muluba Habanyama was born HIV positive, and 22 years later she is now a youth HIV/AIDS advocate. Since disclosing her status on YouTube in December 2014, Muluba has been featured in various Canadian publications including The Toronto Star, The Ottawa Valley, and more. She also wrote her own feature with MTV’s Staying Alive Foundation. Muluba was recently awarded a Black Women Moving Forward award for her advocacy work. She was also chosen as the Honourary Chair for the Peel 2015 AIDS Walk and is the national ambassador for Kisses 4 CANFAR.

Muluba continues to volunteer for various organizations including the Peel HIV/AIDS Network and Women’s Health in Women’s Hands. She currently studies journalism at the Sheridan College Institute of Technology. Through public speaking, social media, and a passion for educating, engaging, and empowering youth, Muluba brings a unique and valuable perspective to the YTH Youth Advisory Board.

Shawn Reilly

Shawn Reilly
While at Vanderbilt, they have been instrumental in successful campaigns to gain gender inclusive bathrooms, housing, and other accommodations to support transgender and gender expansive students on campus. In Nashville, Shawn helps to coordinate the Nashville Feminist Youth Collective, and a young people’s LGBTQI group, Mobius. Reilly is a Posse scholar, Healthy Free TN Youth Advisory Board Member, and GLSEN Middle TN Chapter Leader. They have served on the Youth+Tech+Health Youth Advisory Board for three years, and served as the YTH Live 2017 Master of Ceremonies.

Other than organizing efforts, Reilly enjoys creating and crafting, watching documentaries, raising succulents, and hanging with their cats, Camus and Frankenstein. You can find Shawn on Twitter at @sjshawnreilly.

Vianey Twyford

Vianey Twyford

Vianey Twyford is a peer educator, artist and musician who advocates for universal access to physical and mental health services. She is attending the University of California San Diego and majoring in Public Health with a focus on sexual and reproductive education. Vianey is passionate about helping disadvantaged communities and promoting discussion between parents and their children about sexual health. As a Mexican American, she is interested in researching how cultural identity can impact the sexual health discussion among Latinx communities.

As a former TeenSource Multimedia Peer Educator for the California Family Health Council she used social media platforms to create blogs focusing on sexual and reproductive health education. Through this experience she has become passionate about the accessibility of sexual health information that influences unplanned pregnancies, healthy relationships, and STIs. Vianey also serves on the California School-Based Health Alliance Youth Advisory Board and plans on becoming active in the San Diego public health community.

Vianey enjoys creating music, attending concerts, hiking, and creating visual art. She hopes to incorporate her art into a tool for education and works with digital art. When she’s not playing her guitar you can be positive that she’s snacking and spending time with family and friends.

Yaira Matos

Yaira Matos
Yaira Matos is an activist and organizer passionate about health equity and social medicine. Initially trained as a reproductive justice advocate, she continues to work towards political and material interventions for increasing access to health care for the most marginalized people in her community.

Yaira joined YTH’s Youth Advisory Board to creatively explore and use her perspective to build on the power of technology to create opportunities for expanded access to the knowledge and resources that individuals and communities need to be in control of their health.

Martevia Bledsoe

Martevia Bledsoe
Martevia is a recent graduate from University of Alabama at Birmingham with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health with a minor in Medical Sociology. Martevia is public health scholar and has worked with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Columbia University in New York through an intensive summer internship where she was involved with numerous programs and initiatives that targeted increasing access to resources that can decrease health disparities for minorities. As a health activist, her biggest passions include minority health, preventive medicine and health education as she advocates for better health outcomes in minority and disadvantaged populations as well as promotion of a healthier lifestyle and life choices. Martevia also served as a research assistant with the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) with the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health in New York where she conducted research that examines the health disparities that affect low-income families from a lack of coverage from state and national policies that concern paid and unpaid family leave, pregnancy discrimination, and breastfeeding accommodations.

Martevia is relentlessly passionate about serving as a resource and empowering others to reach their highest potential. From her undergraduate experience with community engagement and coordinating large-scale service and community projects through numerous executive leadership positions, she stands firm in her belief that being the change that you want to see in the world and investing in those around her is what makes every moment worth it. When she isn’t thinking of a master plan on how to save the world, you can probably find her freely satisfying her shopping habits and taste buds.

Joseph Negrido

joseph-negrido
Joseph Negrido is a Psychology student at UC Davis. Having worked at the SF Veterans Hospital, he found an interest in human health and behavior. As a returning member of the YTH board, he aims to be an important factor for everyone that he is involved with. Having lived in poverty before, Joseph aspires to make an impact in the health of those who are wearing the same shoes that he did. He hopes to someday find the link and to understand how being raised in poverty can affect health and behavior with the intent of using the knowledge to help those in need. Interning at YTH over the summer was a great first step in gaining more knowledge which made him excited to continue learning even more! Joseph’s leisure time usually consists of being an iPhone photographer, exploring nature, and playing the acoustic guitar.

Trey Courts

Trey Courts
Trey Courts is a recent graduate of Louisiana Tech University where he majored in Family and Child Studies with a concentration in Family Science. While at Louisiana Tech, he was a part of an undergraduate research team called SHIFT, Sexual Health In Families Team. He presented research at several regional and national conferences including the National Sex Ed Conference on age appropriate sex education for children. Some of the research that he has been a part of includes; understanding sexual communication in families, communities, and context, gender socialization in the Southern United States, and the cost of contraceptives in Ruston Louisiana.

Trey has also done an internship with D.A.R.T., the Domestic Abuse Resistance Team, and worked with children and in the community spreading awareness on Domestic Violence and Teen Dating Violence. He also did an internship at The Children’s Coalition of Northeast Louisiana, where he worked under the Youth Development Coordinator. During his time at the Children’s Coalition he worked closely with Louisiana Public Health Institute to try to get youth friendly services more available and comprehensive sex education. When he isn’t working you can catch him watching Neil DeGrasse Tyson videos on Youtube.

Ryan Freeland

Ryan Freeland
After watching the documentary How to Survive a Plague, directed by David France, Ryan knew HIV/AIDS Prevention was going to become his future career field, as he realized stigmatization against any sexually transmitted disease cannot and will not continue to be associated with anomalous behavior – especially among youth. As a Research Assistant at The Center for Sexuality & Health Disparities, Ryan learned how he could academically advocate for the reduction of HIV/AIDS-related and LGBTQ+-related stigma by assisting in manuscript development and publication, presenting at the Population Association of America Conference 2016, and assisting in writing a NIH-funded grant – all specifically focused on HIV/AIDS prevention among the LGBTQ+ community. With these opportunities being closely aligned with his passions, Ryan is excited to see the forthcoming path of his adulthood career.

Currently, Ryan is a Master of Health Informatics second-year student at the University of Michigan School of Information. After he graduates in April 2018, Ryan strives to continue with his passions, specifically within the UX field, to create safer and healthier on-line communities for the LGBTQ+ community. During his free time, Ryan enjoys hiking with his partner, listening to Podcasts (This American Life is his favorite), and cuddling with his dog, Kylie. Please check out Ryan’s portfolio to see where he goes next in his future!

Jarrod Jeffcoat

Jarrod Jeffcoat
Jarrod Jeffcoat is majoring in International Relations and minoring in Statistics at American University in Washington, DC. Despite his difficult childhood, which included a brief stint of homelessness, he has persevered by transforming his adverse experiences into opportunities to learn and grow. Interested in data collection, national security, and technology, Jarrod is currently working on a project investigating the viability of utilizing drones to map and evaluate neighborhood conditions in Washington, DC.

In high school, Jarrod led the fight against tobacco companies with the Truth Campaign and The Evolvement New Mexico. Additionally, Jarrod serves as a Vice-Chair for Model UN conferences at American University. A long-time resident of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Jarrod loves green chile, hiking, reading, and HBO’s Game of Thrones.