The work of Healthy Teen Network is made possible by a dedicated core of 10 Board of Directors members and a mighty force of 14 professional staff members, who possess a wide range of professional and academic experiences. Read more about our staff in our biographies, below.
Questions or Comments? We are here to help!
- General Administration & Other Questions: Please direct all general administration and other questions to Shanise Taylor.
- Capacity-Building Assistance: Please direct all questions regarding our capacity-building assistance and professional development services to our Capacity and Evaluation Department.
- Communications, Media, Website, & Technology: Please direct all media, communications, website, and technology questions to Gina Desiderio.
- Membership, Conference, & Exhibiting: Please direct all general membership, conference, and exhibiting questions to Allison Tomai Felsen.
Janet Max, MPH, CHES, is the Interim President and CEO of Healthy Teen Network. During her 17-year tenure with Healthy Teen Network, Janet has collaborated with public, private, and individual funders to conceptualize, design, implement, and evaluate programs and services to empower youth to thrive. As a result, Janet has launched over 25 projects, ranging in scope and totaling over $6.5 million. Janet provides vision and senior-level oversight for Healthy Teen Network’s capacity building activities, resource development, and multiple collaborative projects related to adolescent sexual and reproductive health. Janet mentors and fosters staff development and believes high quality staff retention is a key aspect to organizational success.
As a proficient capacity-building assistance provider, Janet has convened expert panels, advisory groups, and various national-level federal conferences, as well as Healthy Teen Network’s annual national conference. She has served as a public health advocate and leader for more than 20 years. Janet is a known presenter for national, state, and local groups and can speak on topics ranging from adolescent development to supportive housing programs for pregnant and parenting teens.
Prior to coming to Healthy Teen Network, Janet worked as a health educator at New York University’s Health Promotion Office and for Planned Parenthood, New York City. Janet is a Certified Health Education Specialist and holds a Master of Public Health from New York University (with a concentration in community public health) and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Tulane University.
Shanise Taylor, Administrative & Executive Coordinator, joined Healthy Teen Network in April 2008. In her current capacity, Shanise provides support to the President/CEO, Director of Fiscal Operations, Board of Directors, and the Capacity Building and Education, and Innovation and Research departments. She implements systems to maintain inventory and manages Continuing Education credit processing. Shanise also oversees internal office communications, manages meeting and event logistics, provides travel coordination, the donor database in Salesforce CRM, conducts vendor analysis, and supports the annual national conference. She assesses and manages supports for Fee-For-Service trainings and assists with accounts payable tasks.
Shanise came to Healthy Teen Network with a background in educational administrative support. Working various jobs within the Baltimore City Public School System, Shanise also has experience in higher education as she previously supported the Dean’s Office, College of Liberal Arts Morgan State University. Shanise attended University of Maryland Eastern Shore from August 1994 until October 1998. She is a proud alumnus of Baltimore City College High School.
When she is not extolling the virtues of her charming city, Shanise can be seen cavorting around Baltimore’s dining scene as a five-year Yelp Elite. With her vast knowledge of all things Baltimore, she is often called upon to provide recommendations when it comes to exploring her city.
Capacity Building & Evaluation
Valerie Sedivy, PhD, Healthy Teen Network Director of Capacity Building and Evaluation, has over 25 years of experience in the sexual health field and currently supports professionals to provide programs and services that empower youth to thrive. Her experience in multiple roles including program provider, researcher, evaluator, capacity-building assistance provider, resource developer, and project manager has instilled a passion for sharing practical resources with professionals who serve adolescents.
During her 12-year tenure at Healthy Teen Network, Valerie has served as an evaluator, project manager, trainer, and technical assistance provider. In her current role as Director of Capacity Building and Evaluation, Valerie leads the strategic direction of this department along with managing our Fee-For-Service program. She serves on the Sex Education Collaborative, a group of national and state-based training organizations that has developed the Professional Learning Standards for Sex Education. She has also managed a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Division of Adolescent School Health (DASH), building the capacity of school districts to implement sexual health education. She is skilled at designing and implementing in-person trainings, distance learning opportunities, and providing expertise on topics including program selection, evidence-based interventions, instructor capacity, and continuous quality improvement.
Valerie has also provided capacity-building assistance on several other federal projects, including (1) CDC, Division of Reproductive Health (DRH) Integrating Services, Programs, and Strategies through Community-Wide Initiatives; (2) HHS OAH Pregnancy Assistance Fund (PAF); and (3) Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) State Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP).
In her previous work as an evaluator, she designed and implemented several quantitative and qualitative studies, and she has developed tools to support performance management. Notably, she designed and implemented a national-level evaluation of eight diverse adolescent pregnancy prevention programs, using the result to produce a guide for programs to assess evaluation readiness. Valerie also served for two years as the Healthy Teen Network evaluator on the CDC Division of Reproductive Health Project, Promoting Science-Based Approaches. While completing her PhD in Population and Family Health at Johns Hopkins University, School of Public Health, Valerie designed and implemented research studies on sexual health services to teens.
Previously, Valerie managed an investment program, developed community research capacity-building plans, and developed organization-wide goals and objectives with the Cancer Council of South Australia. She also conducted a randomized controlled trial of Nicotine Replacement Therapy for low-income smokers and provided technical assistance to smoking cessation programs. In her early work as a direct service provider, she provided health education and reproductive health counseling while managing a Teen Services Center operated by Planned Parenthood of Central Ohio.
Deborah Chilcoat, MEd, brings over 17 years of experience in adolescent sexual and reproductive health and an unyielding commitment to improving the health and well-being of young people as Senior Manager at Healthy Teen Network. Deb’s extensive experience in project management, capacity-building assistance, collaborative partnerships, as well as evidence-based and innovative approaches has served to meet the needs of diverse youth and communities across the U.S.
Deb is a nationally recognized trainer and capacity-building professional who designs and delivers engaging and interactive learning events that bolster the knowledge and skills of learners on a variety of topics such as working with youth, program planning, training adults, and evidence-based interventions. Since joining Healthy Teen Network in March 2008, Deb has delivered well over 100 learning events nationwide including the U.S. Virgin Islands and Hawaii. Deb has also provided capacity-building assistance including training, technical assistance, and resource development across a variety of federal projects for many years, including: (1) HHS OAH Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative; (2) HHS OAH Pregnancy Assistance Fund; (3) ACF FYSB adolescent pregnancy prevention programs; and (4) two previous CDC DRH projects.
In additional to her national work, Ms. Chilcoat has managed and provided capacity building as part of a portfolio of projects in Baltimore including the U Choose Evidence-Based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, a three-year project of the Baltimore City Health Department; a one-year grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation; the Baltimore City Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative for Youth in Out-of-Home Placement, in which she collaborates with project partners to design, implement, and continuously improve the adult training component; and the Coppin Advocates, Researches, and Educates on Safer Sex, a program funded by Baltimore City’s Personal Responsibility Education Program on the campus of Coppin State University.
Previously, Deb served as the project director for the CDC DRH Integrating Services, Programs, and Strategies through Community-Wide Initiatives project and managed aspects of the Promoting Science-Based Approaches project. Deb also serves as the content lead for Healthy Teen Network’s annual conference, an event that attracts hundreds of professionals, working together to advance the field of adolescent sexual and reproductive health.
Prior to joining Healthy Teen Network, Deb worked at Planned Parenthood of Maryland, where she developed and delivered education programs and provided the instructional design and training for local and state education agencies, community-based organizations, and healthcare providers. She served on several county school health councils and teen pregnancy prevention coalitions, and she contributed to the development of the Maryland Voluntary State Curriculum in Health Education.
When she is not building the capacity of organizations across the country, Deb is savoring every moment with her incredibly fun family, Scott, Audra, and Owen, and her ridiculously high-energy German Shorthaired Pointer, Olive Luna.
Minyan Watson-Faulkner is a new addition to Healthy Teen Network, having joined us in June 2019. As Program Coordinator, Minyan supports the department of Capacity Building and Evaluation by developing and maintaining design templates, resources, and production lists for trainings. She is also responsible for providing technical support by coordinating training logistics and material dissemination. Minyan will be supporting a variety of projects, events, evaluations, and instructional designs.
Prior to joining Healthy Teen Network, Minyan served as a Health Educator for the Baltimore City Health Department. In this capacity, she worked in many school-based health centers, facilitating an evidence-based program called Seventeen Days. She also has experience in higher education as she previously supported the Dean’s Office, School of Education and Urban Studies at Morgan State University.
Minyan graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and is currently pursuing her Master of Public Health at Morgan State University. During her undergraduate tenure, Minyan volunteered in Haiti at Generations of Hope, developing and facilitating a teen pregnancy prevention program as well as a community health clinic.
When she is not being a student or maneuvering through the challenges of adulthood, Minyan enjoys vacationing at the beach or spending time with family and friends.
Gina Desiderio, MA, Healthy Teen Network Director of Communications, has over 10 years of capacity building and project management experience, supporting professionals to provide programs and services to empower youth to thrive. She is skilled at developing and disseminating accessible, quality resources across to translate research to practice.
Gina leads the organization’s communications strategies. Her responsibilities include oversight of branding and quality assurance; resource development and dissemination; graphic design; social media marketing; elearning; membership recruitment and retention; conference event planning; as well as contributing to fund development and grant writing. Gina leads the initiative to develop and disseminate Healthy Teen Network’s Youth 360⁰ initiative, encouraging health promotion to integrate the range of factors that influence health outcomes. Additionally, she manages the strategic planning and implementation of Healthy Teen Network’s technology infrastructure, including oversight of the website, Salesforce customer relationship management (CRM) and project management platform, learning management system (LMS), IT support, and other organizational systems.
Since joining Healthy Teen Network in 2006, Gina has facilitated more than 100 trainings, workshops, and webinars at the national, state, and local levels, related to adolescent sexual and reproductive health. In her tenure with the organization, Gina has applied her diverse skill set in many roles, developing resources and providing training and technical assistance on supportive housing for pregnant and parenting teens, evidence-based approaches and programs, and program planning and implementation frameworks.
Previously, Gina coordinated the sexual violence outreach and education under the Violence against Women Act campus grant for the Virginia Tech Women’s Center. As an adjunct instructor and a graduate teaching assistant, she taught courses on composition, technical communication, and Women’s Studies at Virginia Tech and New River Community College. As a high school teacher, she has taught English and Journalism, advising the yearbook and school newspaper.
Gina volunteers as a member of the Virginia Tech English Department Distinguished Alumni Board, where she earned a Master of Arts degree in English, with a certificate in Women’s Studies. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Education from the University of Delaware. Gina completed the Georgetown University Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate program and the Technology Leadership Academy with the Nonprofit Technology Network.
Working at Healthy Teen Network has sometimes prepared Gina for spontaneous sex positive conversations with her two young sons. When she’s not too busy answering the tough questions, she enjoys sailing with and photographing her family.
Allison Tomai Felsen has experience providing administrative support, office management, and technology management. As Communications Manager, Allison manages Healthy Teen Network’s website, blog, and other online communications. Allison is also responsible for the content of the weekly member Egram and the monthly Spotlight. She also manages the organizational Salesforce CRM database, membership services, and conference. Allison also provides bookkeeping services through QuickBooks and Click & Pledge.
Prior to Healthy Teen Network, Allison worked as an Administrative Assistant in the public sector where she also managed store operations for Deli Fresh, Inc. Allison graduated in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of Maryland, College Park. Allison’s two dogs, Belle and Rogue, can often be found in the office ready for treats and snuggles.
Bob Reeg, MPA, CVA, Program Development and Public Policy Consultant, is an accomplished nonprofit organization program director and public policy analyst and advocate, and an emerging social purpose entrepreneur. With over 25 years in the nonprofit sector, Bob has held positions in public policy, program development, and national service project management with organizations supporting diverse beneficiaries ranging from people experiencing homelessness and marginalized youth to military veterans and their families. Bob has a proven track record of developing comprehensive mission and program delivery strategies, leading complex systems and operations, and producing complex analytical and instructional publications.
In Bob’s program development capacity with Healthy Teen Network, he manages the organization’s health education project to increase adolescent and young adult men’s access to and utilization of primary care, sexual and reproductive, and other health and human services. He also supports the organization’s funding proposal development activities. In his public policy role, Bob advises the organization on public policy priorities and strategy. He oversees the development and implementation of organizational public policy positions and strategies, including development of public policy statements, organizational representation before Congress, the Executive branch, and with coalitions, and communications on public policy matters with Healthy Teen Network members.
In addition to consulting for Healthy Teen Network, Bob is the founder and part-time chief executive officer for Peace Through Action USA, a national nonprofit social purpose organization missioned to achieve peace between people and within communities in the United States of America by activating and mobilizing citizens to resist violence and aggression and instead choose peaceful action.
Bob holds a Master of Public Administration from The George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University. Bob is designated Certified in Volunteer Administration (CVA). He is an alumnus of the American Express Leadership Academy, a leadership development program for emerging social purpose leaders.
Bob is an active regular volunteer at his church, a community health center, and various theater arts organizations. He is the recipient of a Daily Point of Light Award in recognition for his service to military service members, veterans, and their families.
Innovation & Research
Genevieve Martínez García, PhD, Director of Innovation and Research at Healthy Teen Network, is a health educator committed to bringing innovation to the field of sexual and reproductive health. She has over 14 years of experience researching adolescent sexual and reproductive health issues such as mHealth, fertility, social determinants of health, cultural and economic barriers to health care access among minority populations, health media literacy, characteristics of programs for pregnant and parenting teens, and Latino youth pregnancy intentions.
More recently, Genevieve’s research has focused on teen use of mobile technology for sexual health education, which has led her to develop two mobile interventions to improve sexual health among minority young women. She is the Principal Investigator of two large randomized controlled trials with over 1,000 girls nationwide to test the efficacy of these two interventions in increasing contraception use and utilization of clinical services among young women. She is currently designing an innovative program for youth who are pregnant and parenting.
Genevieve is an experienced qualitative and quantitative researcher with strong expertise in interview and focus group methods, including development, implementation, and analysis, ethnographic methods, and formative research. She has expertise in designing face-to-face and digital surveys, survey translation, and cognitive interviews. She has conducted extensive research with multiple cultural minorities (diverse Latino populations in Latin America and the U.S., over 13 Asian American communities, urban Black youth, and Native American communities). She is keenly aware of multi-cultural interpretations of data collection instruments, and has expertise in developing age, culturally and linguistically sensitive instruments. As a Latina and Spanish-dominant researcher, she pays close attention to cultural differences among Latino groups when conducting research with this population.
Genevieve has led the evaluation of capacity-building activities in large-scale multi-year federal projects funded by the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Reproductive Health (DRH) and Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH). She trains on social determinants of health and on the social-ecological model. She has developed multiple evaluation instruments for federal grantees and provides technical assistance on selecting and using evaluation data, and communicating evaluation data to different stakeholders.
Previously, Genevieve conducted multiple evaluation projects in Latin America, including evaluating a media literacy program and cancer research media coverage, and evaluated an obstetric nurse training program in El Salvador and a micro-finance program in Central America. She has extensive university-level teaching experience on sexual health and community health.
Genevieve holds a Bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies from Tulane University, a Master’s degree in International Development and Global Health from George Washington University, and a doctoral degree in Public Health and Education from the University of Maryland.
Milagros Garrido, MS, Associate Director of Innovation and Research at Healthy Teen Network, is a dedicated and creative educator committed to helping individuals and communities to create, learn, use, and translate practical and innovative approaches to solve public health issues. Mila is especially interested in the intersection of economic development, technology, and public health practices. She has over 10 years of strategic planning, grant writing, capacity-building, and project management experience. In her current position, she provides leadership to conceptualize, develop, and implement the internal strategic vision of the Innovation and Research Department.
Mila identifies opportunities to strengthen the organizational impact of Healthy Teen Network and promotes the use of innovation in the field of sexual and reproductive health (SRH). She also provides vital organizational strategic planning and sustainability support, including pursuing opportunities to advance the organization’s mission.
Mila enjoys developing complex strategies, especially for projects with many moving pieces. These types of projects inspire her to come up with new and unorthodox solutions. Regardless of her specific work, she thrives in work that is meaningful, challenging, and multifaceted. Mila’s trajectory into the public health field was not a straight line; her work has been very diverse. She has worked in economic development, international exports, medical repatriation, and teaching. She has several years of experience working with multidisciplinary teams in research, higher education, product development, and clinical care. Mila’s expertise spans the breadth of sexual and reproductive health, working with state and local communities, clinics, and schools to implement evidence-based approaches. She has extensive experience working with diverse youth and communities, including Latinx youth, LGBTQ+ youth, American Indian youth and communities, HIV-positive individuals, and youth who are pregnant or parenting.
Mila is currently manages two multi-year projects: a five-year cooperative agreement funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) Teen Pregnancy Prevention Tier 2B grant to rigorously evaluate new or innovative approaches to prevent teen pregnancy; and a five-year federal IDIQ Task Order Sub-contract funded by HHS Administration for Children and Families (ACF). In addition, Mila provides oversight and management of Healthy Teen Network’s fee-for-service program. Through these initiatives, she works with a wide variety of partners and consultants working in different disciplines and types of institutions (e.g., research institutions, technology firms).
Mila completed her master’s thesis researching Latina women’s attitudes and beliefs toward reproductive health. She holds a BA in International Affairs and Economics, Post-Baccalaureate in Family Professional Collaboration, and an MS in Social Science from Towson University.
Nicholas Sufrinko, Digital Health Communications Specialist at Healthy Teen Network, is a designer, writer, and educator whose work occupies the intersection of public health, advertising, and technology. He has over five years of experience designing and implementing public health communications campaigns and promoting inclusive, comprehensive sexuality education through coalition building and grants management.
Since joining Healthy Teen Network in February of 2017, Nick’s work has centered on two randomized controlled trials aimed at testing the effects of sexual health mobile applications on young women’s use of clinics and effective birth control methods. To this end, Nick creates, implements, and analyzes text message-based educational messaging and internet advertising campaigns across a number of platforms to recruit trial participants.
Prior to joining Healthy Teen Network, he served as the Manager of Reproductive Health Special Projects and Communications at Maternal and Family Health Services (MFHS), a women’s health not-for-profit organization headquartered in the mid-sized, rustbelt city of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Holding numerous positions during his tenure at MFHS, Nick led the organization’s education, advertising, and outreach efforts to vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations, including adolescents, young men and the LGBTQ+ community. He wrote for, received, and managed government and foundation grants; served as both lead copywriter and art director for multiple grant-funded reproductive health communications campaigns; and improved organizational capacity to serve new populations through training and education. Nick expanded LGBTQ+-inclusive, comprehensive sexuality education and counseling to at-risk youth across culturally conservative and high-need region of northeastern Pennsylvania. His efforts led to a rapid expansion in reach for the organization’s statewide adolescent reproductive health information campaign, SafeTeens.org and the 2014 introduction of Pennsylvania’s first statewide adolescent health textline, SafeTeens Answers!.
As a freelance creative director and graphic designer, Nick envisions and designs campaigns that tackle public health problems. One of his campaigns, SuperParks.org, casts his hometown region’s networks of trails and parks as superheroes in order to improve mental wellness. Seizing opportunities to design on larger scales, he completed an immersive, six-week urban design workshop at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design in 2013 to reimagine urbanity in the Boston-Cambridge-Somerville, Massachusetts area. Nick graduated from the Pennsylvania State University in 2011 with a Bachelor’s of Arts in English and Sociology.
Nick enjoys the great outdoors, and he occasionally volunteers at parks and natural areas as a tour guide.
Dawn Ireton brings over 30 years of experience providing senior-level fiscal and administrative management expertise to her position as Director of Operations at Healthy Teen Network. She has high-level accounting skills, experience planning and implementing financial systems and developing and executing protocols for many small businesses and nonprofits.
Dawn oversees the Operations Department, which supports the financial and administrative functions of the organization. Dawn manages the financial compliance of federal, state, and local contracts/grants reporting, development of Fee-for-Service contract billing, conference administrative staff functions, and Human Resources. Dawn has developed a tool used to track actual time spent within the organizations’ many funding streams, keeping them discrete and enabling improved project management. She compiles quarterly payroll returns, cash flow, annual budget preparations, travel expense report reconciliations, and proposal budget preparations. As the staff liaison on the Healthy Teen Network Board Audit Committee, Dawn boasts a consistent record of clean audits.
Prior to Healthy Teen Network, Dawn served as Staff Accountant, Director of Operations, and Chief Financial Officer at several national, local, and international nonprofit organizations, also serving as staff liaison with board members on the Strategic Planning Committee, Audit Committee, and Capital Campaign. Dawn served as Acting Executive Director for SARC in Harford County, MD. At SARC, she not only functioned as key financial person and acting Executive Director, she also served on a committee comprised of various organizations (SARC, Child Protective Services, Harford County Sheriff Office, and the State’s Attorney Office); its function was the adaptation of the Danger Assessment Instrument, a screening tool used by first responders for domestic violence situations. Dawn has also functioned as an emergency room rape companion and a hotline volunteer for sexual assault, domestic abuse, and suicide prevention.
Dawn has worked together with a federal/state/community partnership called Ticket to Work, and a programmer to set up the countywide database system to track activity. This program is designed to assist individuals with disabilities involving the Core Service Agency in Harford County, Social Security Administration, and Maryland Department of Mental Health and is committed to offering individuals with disabilities access to and maintaining meaningful employment through employment networks. She has organized the initial set up new nonprofits: SpinUSA and Sigma Sigma Sigma Hagerstown Alumnae Chapter. Dawn has assisted with the startup of museum data systems and has been a small part of civil war reenactment at Jerusalem Mill in Baltimore County, MD.
When Dawn is not busy managing and organizing, she loves to cruise in the Caribbean, with a Sudoku book in hand and no phone or computer.
Carol Partonen is a new addition to the Healthy Teen Network team, having joined in December 2016. With experience in accounting and administrative support, she assists to the Director of Finance and Operations, as well as the President and staff. She maintains accounts, pays bills, and completes reconciliations, as well as processes expense reports and supports human resources. She also provides research, transcription, and copy editing support for the rest of the staff, and she assists with various other projects as needed.
Originally from Southern Maryland, Carol earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD, only to wind up in Seattle, WA, at a small law firm specializing in worker’s compensation. She worked her way up from reception to form a new position at the firm as part administrative and legal assistant and part bookkeeper.
Though a long-time Maryland resident, Carol is new to Baltimore. She is enjoying exploring the city with her partner, particularly its food, museums, and parks. When not out and about, she can be found reading, listening to narrative/design/history podcasts, and devouring nature documentaries like the nerd that she is.