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:

Janaya Greene

Janaya Greene
Janaya Greene is a journalist and recent graduate of The Ohio State University. She currently works with healthcare business magazine, Modern Healthcare. Janaya has worked as a VICE Media and Center for Communication Summer 2016 Editorial Fellow and an Audio & Video Production intern with Dynasty Podcasts in Chicago. The Southside Chicago-native is dedicated to highlighting often ignored voices through her storytelling and multimedia reporting. Janaya also wrote a short film, Veracity, that was presenting on Hulu and Showtime networks; it’s now available on YouTube and Amazon Video. Follow her on Twitter at @janayagr.

Shawn Reilly

Shawn Reilly
Shawn Reilly recently graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Science in Human and Organizational Development, and is currently a master’s student at Vanderbilt in the Learning and Design program at Peabody College. As an undergraduate, Reilly was instrumental in a successful campaign to gain gender inclusive housing to support transgender and gender expansive students on campus. They formerly served as the Vanderbilt Office of LGBTQI Life’s first student spring break program coordinator, and for two years as a senior mentor with the Oasis Center’s Just Us program. Reilly is involved with a number of local organizations, and serves as the Student Engagement and Leadership Chair of GLSEN Tennessee, youth advisory board member of Healthy and Free Tennessee, and as a member of the TN Department of Health Transgender Task Force.

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.

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 that preventing HIV/AIDS transmission would catalyze his future in advocating for underserved communities through the use of technology and community partnership. Ryan has had experience designing and evaluating mobile applications for marginalized populations within domestic and international settings. While the applications have ranged from informing marginalized youth about HIV/AIDS transmission, as well as informing young adults about pregnancy-related information, Ryan is always excited to work with and ensure the needs of end users are heard throughout the development process of any technological intervention.

In May 2018, Ryan earned his Master of Health Informatics from the University of Michigan, with emphasis in User Experience, Health Behavior & Health Education, and Monitoring & Evaluation. Currently, Ryan is an Information Systems Associate at VillageReach in Seattle, Washington. In this role, Ryan supports the information and communication and health systems strengthening programs by conducting needs assessments and technology evaluations, developing monitoring and evaluation reports, as well as supporting functional and non-functional requirement gathering during in-country technical assistance.

During his free time, Ryan enjoys hiking, listening to Podcasts (This American Life and Serial are his favorite), and cuddling with his dog, Kylie. Please check out Ryan’s portfolio to stay up to date on his current and past projects.

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.

Ivan Garcia

Ivan Garcia is currently a freshman at Head-Royce School in Oakland. He is committed to serving youth in the Oakland community and beyond to ensure that they have the support, and resources to be able to create a positive impact in the world.

Ivan also played a key role in ensuring the March for Our Lives Oakland rally was a success and he is currently helping by using social media to mobilize young people around the Bay Area to advocate for gun reform. Additionally, Ivan’s a Youth Ambassador for Litterati, an app which makes it easy for anyone to create an environmental impact, around the world. Ivan has done a lot of work throughout the Oakland community especially, while using social media to propel the projects he is working on.Ivan Garcia is currently a sophomore at Head-Royce School in Oakland. Ivan is proud to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community, himself being a young, gay activist who has begun fighting for the rights of all people. Ivan came out when he was only thirteen, but he realizes that he wouldn’t have been able to do it without an amazing support system, and he therefore has focused on ensuring that every young person in his community feels like they are being properly supported and listened to.

Throughout organizing though, one thing has always stayed the same for Ivan. He continues to remain proud of his identity and believes that it is crucial for marginalized communities, like the queer community to speak up about the issues which are most important to them. Ivan hopes to inspire others to love themselves for who they are and fight for a better tomorrow.

Ankit Hirpara


Ankit Hirpara is a Junior at UC Berkeley majoring in Molecular & Cellular Biology. His passion for health care developed after his internship at Wockhardt Hospital, India where he helped physicians set up health camps in impoverished villages and provided lectures in Gujarati on HIV transmission. After this trip, he decided he wanted to impact medicine in as many ways possible, paying special attention to the social determinants of health care.

He currently serves on the Homeless Commission of the City of Berkeley, representing District 7, and has developed lasting relationships with many underserved persons on the streets of Berkeley. As a pre-med, Ankit intends to impact health care through his biomedical research, app development, grant-writing, policy making, and clinical work.

During his free time, Ankit likes to play basketball and football, and he also enjoys running and barbecuing.


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