Plenaries & Program Highlights 2017


Opening Plenary

Morning Plenary (Day-2)

Closing Plenary

Breakout and Poster Sessions

Opening Plenary

Sunday, May 7, 2017 2:00PM

Youth-centered design: Global Lessons and Local Innovation

We are excited to announce the line-up of youth leaders, sex-ed experts and YouTubers at our YTH Live Conference opening plenary on May 7, 2017 (2pm-4:30PM PT). Highlights include Charis Denison, Youth Advocate and Sex Educator Extraordinaire; Daysha Edewi, Youtuber at BuzzFeed; Olivia Poretta, Youth Animator for; Shawn Reilly, YTH Youth Advisory Board member and YTH Live 2017 Emcee; Molly Pilloton, YTH Youth-centered Health Designer; Lucinda Holt, Communication Director for Answer; and YTH youth leaders!

Named one of the best non-profit conferences of 2017, YTH Live features a true youth led event where young people lead, moderate and facilitate the sessions. Experience how innovation, technology and new media are creating health impact with youth and get a first glance at cutting-edge technologies and research across healthcare and wellness, ranging from prevention and management to analytics and more.

Join the opening plenary to hear how young people are using digital technology for sexual and reproductive health and rights, learn about mobile application penetration in the youth health and wellness sphere and participate in the West coast launch of Amaze.

Master of Ceremonies

Shawn Reilly Shawn Reilly, YTH Youth Advisory Board | Shawn is an advocate for LGBTQ people in Nashville, Tennessee. They run a young person’s LGBT support group, Mobius, and a social justice art collective, Creative Resistance. They work as a program coordinator for the PENCIL foundation, and are currently leading a campaign for living wage for dining workers at Vanderbilt University.
Shawn is in their final year at Vanderbilt University, majoring in social justice, arts and education studies. While at Vanderbilt, they have been instrumental in a campaign for gender-inclusive housing and support for transgender and gender expansive students on campus through the institutionalization of pronouns, and trainings for faculty and students on transgender issues.
They formerly served as a college mentor for the Just Us program at Oasis Center, Inc, where they advised a group of high school activists on social justice projects that are implemented in the Nashville Area. They are a former blog coordinator and fellow for Young People For (YP4), and Transgender and Genderqueer Collective Liberation Co-Chair for United students Against Sweatshops. They continue to be a Posse scholar and NASPA fellow.

Part 1: Youth Digital Landscape

Kicking off the YTH Live 2017 conference will be the sharing of new evidence, data, and statistics on the digital landscape of youth health. For the first time, get the latest trends and data from our TECHsex 2017 report: a collection of data, statistics, stories, and perspectives on the experiences of youth, and how they interact with social media and technology, specifically related to their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Through a national survey, interviews with key stakeholders, and focus groups with youth from all over the country, YTH presents a collection of data, current and relevant statistics that will redefine our understanding of the digital landscape of youth. Beyond SRHR, youth share how their lives are influenced by social media and technology, as much of their lives have moved into digital spaces, like flirting, dating, and even bullying. In addition, take a deep dive into the world of mobile phone applications trends brought to you by Answer: the “Reaching Teens Where They Are” report covers 19 sexual and reproductive health apps and web-based tools and offers recommendations for how best to reach young people online with sexual health information.


Molly-Pilloton Molly Pilloton, YTH Program Officer | 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.

martevia-bledsoeMartevia Bledsoe, YTH Youth Advisory Board Member | Martevia Bledsoe is a college student, activist, and student leader. She is currently a Senior majoring in public health with a minor in medical sociology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She strives to improve health education and access among marginalized populations by working closely with the UAB Division of Preventative Medicine where she works with the Birmingham REACH for Better Health Project that is funded through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Martevia is a very active student leader on her campus and is relentlessly passionate about serving as a resource and empowering others to reach their highest potential. Her dedication has earned her the title of the Undergraduate Distinguished Service Leader of the Year for 2016 at UAB. When she isn’t thinking of a master plan on how to save the world, you can probably find her satisfying her taste buds by trying different restaurants around town or seizing the day.

lucinda-holt-headshotLucinda Holt, Director of Communications
Answer |
Lucinda Holt oversees Answer’s media relationships and external communications, including all aspects of Sex, Etc., our national, award-winning print and online resource produced by the organization’s teen editorial staff. In addition to overseeing the editing and design of Sex, Etc., Ms. Holt ensures that teen voices are kept in the forefront of our national work by providing the teen staff with writing and media training. She has worked for Condé Nast Publications and youth organizations such as Prep for Prep and the Columbia University Liberty Partnership Program. Ms. Holt holds a Master of Arts in anthropology from Columbia University.

Part 2: Sex Ed in the YouTube Era

Young people will always have questions about sex, relationships,their changing bodies, and more. Today’s 10-14 year olds – Gen Z – with more technology at their fingerprints than at any other point of history, conduct most of their lives online. Naturally, when they have questions about sex, they search online first. Since there isn’t enough high-quality or age appropriate content online for this age group, that’s where it can get messy viewing content that’s just not meant for them. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and mandate unplugging entirely. But as public health professionals, we meet people where they are. We are among a new group of content creators, sexuality educators and young animators that are using the incredible reach and creativity of the digital world, from YouTube to social media, to more directly provide quality sex ed to young people where they are.

Welcome to More Info, Less Weird

AMAZE takes the awkward out of sex ed. Real info in fun, animated videos that give you all the answers you actually want to know about sex, your body and relationships. Hear from the youth who designed these exciting videos and content, and learn from sex educator and content experts from the classroom to YouTube itself.

Join our opening plenary for a frank and creative discussion on how we can raise the standard of good and entertaining sex ed and meet the needs of the newest generation of young people.


charis-denison-prajna-consulting-03Charis Denison, Sex Educator Prajna Consulting | Charis Denison is a Youth Advocate and expert in, Human Development, Ethics, and Social Justice & Community Involvement. She has built her experience primarily partnering with schools and non-profits for the past 23 years. She has received national recognition for her work in several of these fields. Charis has been on the faculty of the Urban School of San Francisco, Branson School, and Marin Academy in San Rafael CA. Charis currently runs Prajna Consulting. Through Prajna, she partners with schools, teens, families, organizations, and communities around the issues of Human Development, Social Justice, and Ethics. Her work as a youth advocate emphasizes empowering young people to make choices that end in honor and joy rather than guilt, shame or regret.

Daysha Edewi, YouTuber | Daysha Veronica Edwei is a writer, director, producer, and social media influencer who currently works for BuzzFeed as a Video Producer. While at BuzzFeed, Ms. Edewi produces viral short-form video content, with a focus on gender and race politics, and body positivity. Her videos have been featured on The Huffington Post, Bustle, and Refinery29, among other media outlets. Prior to BuzzFeed, she graduated Cum Laude from Scripps College with a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies and Psychology. She has been the recipient of numerous artistic awards– both from the Claremont Colleges and around the nation.

Olivia PorettaOlivia Poretta, Youth Animator for | Olivia Porretta is a 17 year old high school student currently residing in Connecticut. She is an animator, voice actor, director, producer, and writer. She loves cartoons and animated films, and wants to keep on producing animated stuff. Being an animator with Amaze was her first job!


Rachel CookeRachel Cooke, Associate Director of Communications, Advocates for Youth | Rachel Cooke works directly with the media to add the voice of young people in the conversation about adolescent reproductive sexual health; promotes the organization, its programs and campaigns; leads media trainings; and engages external audiences with Advocates’ various social media properties. A native Washingtonian, Rachel graduated from The George Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Communications. Prior to joining Advocates she was a Senior Account Executive at GolinHarris, a global PR agency, was the Communications Assistant at the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, and worked at Strauss Radio Strategies and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Part 3: YTH Live 2017 Design Challenge

Brought to you by FHI360, YTH and, The YTH Live 2017 design challenge is an opportunity for attendees to flex their creative muscles and compete in the design challenge to learn design skills and apply them in a fast paced process to come up with an innovative solution to influence young people’s health. At the opening plenary, we will announce the challenge and provide interested attendees the details on forming design teams, participating in design flash workshops and rapid prototyping as well as the prizes and future opportunities for winning teams.


Heather VahdatHeather Vahdat, FHI 360 Associate Director, Contraceptive Technology Innovation Department

Jessa Blades Jessa Blades, Senior Program Director of’s Health XO Program | is the Senior Program Director of’s Health XO program, which focuses on designing sexual and reproductive health solutions for teens. She acts as vision mapper, team builder, partner evangelizer, and design catalyzer. Before joining, Jessa was a Business Designer at IDEO where she worked at the intersection of strategy, service, and organizational design. She has helped build an affordable and scalable school model in Peru, prototyped business models for consumer health products in Indonesia, and created paths to market for textile producers in Ethiopia. Jessa has a background in nonprofit strategy consulting and
entrepreneurship, has worked in Addis Ababa, London, and Vancouver, and holds an MBA from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

Morning Plenary

Monday, May 8, 2017 9:00AM

Youth-centered design: Global Lessons and Local Innovation
If you are designing programs with youth at the center, you will definitely be excited to attend our Monday (May 8) morning plenary. You will get to hear from the global leader in design,, PSI’s Adolescent360 program and The National Campaign’s InnovationNext initiative, programs that are developing deep understanding of what youth want and using those insights to develop innovative solutions.

Part 1: Power of Design: The plenary will launch with an introduction to human-centered design by and the power of design in the youth-health sector both in the US and globally. designs products, services, and experiences to improve the lives of people in poor and vulnerable communities. They practice human-centered design, a creative approach to problem solving that starts with people and arrives at new solutions tailored to meet their lives. We will get to hear about their work and successes. IDEO is also the common group that has worked closely with both A360 and InnovationNext and provides the foundational theory and practice on human-centered design that’s at the crux of both these programs.


Jessa Blades Jessa Blades, Senior Program Director of’s Health XO Program | is the Senior Program Director of’s Health XO program, which focuses on designing sexual and reproductive health solutions for teens. She acts as vision mapper, team builder, partner evangelizer, and design catalyzer. Before joining, Jessa was a Business Designer at IDEO where she worked at the intersection of strategy, service, and organizational design. She has helped build an affordable and scalable school model in Peru, prototyped business models for consumer health products in Indonesia, and created paths to market for textile producers in Ethiopia. Jessa has a background in nonprofit strategy consulting and
entrepreneurship, has worked in Addis Ababa, London, and Vancouver, and holds an MBA from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

Part 2: Adolescents 360: My fertility and school is a risky bet: Find out why adolescent-focused activities might not be working!
By applying a user-centered approach, with youth involvement throughout, the Adolescents 360 initiative aims to increase voluntary, modern contraceptive use and reduce unintended pregnancy among adolescent girls between the ages of 15 and 19 in developing countries. The four-year $30 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, is implemented by PSI and consortium members:, the Center on the Developing Adolescent from the University of California, Berkeley, Triggerise and Ogilvy & Mather Africa. Working in three focus countries with PSI/Ethiopia, PSI/Tanzania and Society for Family Health, the initiative will develop cost-effective solutions to delivering high quality, affordable and accessible voluntary contraceptive information and services to adolescent girls.


Manya DotsonManya Dotson, Project Director, Adolescents 360, Population Services International | Creative and passionate about innovative programming, Manya Dotson, Director of the exciting Adolescents 360 project has been designing and leading public health initiatives with young people in Sub-Saharan Africa for more than 16 years. Young people and health have always been Manya’s focus, whether writing the “Sex and Your Body” column as a young editor at Seventeen Magazine, establishing a drop-in center for adolescent sex workers at PSI in Togo, or leading Jhpiego’s first programs focusing on adolescents. A closet designer, Manya feels so lucky to be back at PSI bringing her lifelong loves together in service of young Ethiopians, Nigerians and Tanzanians. Manya, who has just moved back to the U.S. after 16 years in Africa, has an MBA in Global Management, four children ranging in age from 11-20 years old, and an adolescent sense of humor.

Eden Bekele: Youth Designer, Adolescents 360

Part 3: Innovation Next: Innovation Next is The National Campaign’s cutting edge initiative, which uses design thinking to stimulate innovation in teen pregnancy prevention. We’ll be sharing experiences from the program and addressing the question, “How do we catalyze innovation using technology?” Our answer may surprise as it has more to do with getting to know your audience through a process called human-centered design than anything having to do with technology, per se. We’ll talk to a few of the winning teams that are now working on building products for audiences of teens and the people who play a part in their lives. We’ll end with a special announcement about another round of funding!


Laura LloydLaura Lloyd, Assistant Director, Digital Media, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy | Laura Lloyd is the Assistant Director of Digital Media at The National Campaign and part of the team behind Bedsider, the Campaign’s birth control support network for young adults. Her current focus is on provider outreach, which consists of getting Bedsider’s tools and content into the hands of health care providers, maintaining the Bedsider Providers website, and gathering feedback to determine how Bedsider can work best in clinical settings. Laura joined The National Campaign in 2008 with over 10 years of experience in public health research, primarily in the areas of STI and HIV prevention and with an ever-increasing focus on the use of digital technology in the field. She received a BA in Psychology and Sociology from University of Colorado, an MPH from Emory University, and an MS in Human-Computer Interaction Design from Indiana University’s School of Informatics, all with the common theme of better understanding human behavior. Laura lives with her husband and two young daughters in San Diego, CA and tries really hard not to gloat about the weather.

InnovationNext Finalists:

  1. Breione St. Claire: Essential Access Health
  2. Liz Chen: MyHealthEd, Inc
  3. Liz Romer: Children’s Hospital Colorado
  4. Lauren Butts: Bound Agency
  5. Amelia Holstrom: Boink

Moderator: Cara Silva, Director of Programs YTH

Closing Plenary

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 10:30AM

Inspire, Innovate and Ignite
Join us on Day 3 of YTH Live 2017 to recognize and celebrate innovation and to engage with key funders to hear what the future of youth health funding looks like.

Starting at 10:30AM, YTH Live closing plenary will begin with presentations and pitches by the finalists of the YTH Live Design Challenge. The pitches will be judged by a panel of designers, youth leaders and funders. The winners will get cash prizes and options to continue to work with FHI360 and YTH to further build their ideas. This will be followed by a powerful panel of speakers from six leading foundations and funders who are carving rapid responses and making strategic shifts in response to the challenges currently affecting organizations working in youth health.

Part 1: The Challenge Pitch Session

Sponsored by FHI360, YTH and, the YTH Live Design Challenge will culminate at the closing plenary. 3-4 teams will be selected to present their idea/prototype to a panel of judges. Each team will get 4 minutes to pitch and 4 minutes to respond to the judge’s questions. The winning team will be awarded $1,000 and the runner up will get $500 and they will both get the opportunity to pursue their idea with FHI360 and YTH.

Part 2: Funders Panel: The State of Youth-centered Approaches and Innovation: Now and Next

We are going through an unprecedented time of change with regards to funding for youth-centered approaches and innovation. Many organizations are adopting this approach and several funders are supporting them. At the same time, the non-profit sector is experiencing uncertainty and funding cuts reducing their ability to ensure that our communities continue to get the critical services and resources that they need to thrive. Funders and philanthropists are responding to this situation so they can develop rapid responses and shift strategies and priorities to address gaps. And more than ever before, there is an urgent need for both the sectors to communicate with each other.

At the YTH Live 2017 closing plenary, we will be doing just that. We have invited foundations and funders to come and share with you how they are responding to shifting needs and priorities, stimulating new innovations, engaging youth and addressing gaps to ensure that our most vulnerable communities do not get left behind.

Gain a far better understanding of strategic initiatives and best practice from expert colleagues. Be aware of the most common issues with regards to proposals that funders are currently seeing and gain knowledge with regards to funders approach to youth-centered initiatives.


Clarissa Lord Brundage Clarissa Brundage: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation | Clarissa Lord Brundage has ten years of public health-related experience and received a Master of Public Health degree at the University of Washington. She currently serves on the Seattle Women’s Commission and Planned Parenthood’s Board of Advocates. During her graduate career, she received a fully funded research assistantship to conduct evaluation activities with the Health Promotion Research Center. Ms. Brundage was the lead PI on a mixed-methods study examining access and provision of public-sector family planning services in Côte d’Ivoire. She served with the Peace Corps and has country experience in Côte d’Ivoire, France, Mali, Togo, and Uganda.

Teresa Kopp Teresa Kopp: The David and Lucile Packard Foundation | Program professional with over eight years of non-profit experience and a focus on increasing opportunities for young people through upstream, health-focused programs.

June Sugiyama June Sugiyama: Vodafone Americas Foundation | As Director of Vodafone Americas Foundation holding the corporate philanthropy role for over 15 years, June Sugiyama led the transition of the Foundation’s strategy towards technology for social impact. Her most notable achievement was to create the Foundation’s Wireless Innovation Project, a competition designed to seek the best wireless technology solutions to address critical global issues. The competition has identified cutting edge innovations in digital health monitoring, diagnosis, data collection, financial literacy, and economic development.

Kristi Mahoney Kristi Mahoney: WestWind Foundation | Program Officer for Reproductive Health and Rights, WestWind Foundation.

Erin Reilly Erin Reilly: VP Social Impact | As Vice President of Social Impact and General Manager of, Erin Reilly drives the virtuous cycle of business success and social impact at Twilio. She is focused on scaling the impact of nonprofits through communications and unlocking the potential for software developers to code a better world. Prior to Twilio, she helped launch new businesses in Africa and India to provide fast access to the Internet, engaged tens of millions of people in environmental programs, and raised millions of dollars for disaster response. She also has experience in the nonprofit sector at Business for Social Responsibility, is an Aspen Institute Catto Fellow, and started her career at the engineering firm Tetra Tech. She holds a BA in Human Biology / Environmental Management from Stanford University and an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley.

Mara Hildebrand Mara Hildebrand: Children’s Investment Fund Foundation | Since 2010, Mara has worked for national and international development organizations, specializing in community health and youth program development in the UK,
Zambia, and the US.

Moderator: Bhupendra Sheoran Executive Director YTH

ZonaSegura ZonaSegura is a trauma-informed youth-centered innovative mobile solution to address teen dating violence in Honduras. Learn more about ZonaSegura on our program page.