Dr. Konnie McCaffree: Adjunct Spotlight

Dr. Konnie McCaffree could be called the godmother of our program. Starting as an adjunct at the University of Pennsylvania HSED program when she was a high school sexuality educator, Dr. McCaffree was one of the people, with Dr. Bill Stayton, brought our program from Penn to Widener. She has taught sexuality education methods to generations of Penn and Widener graduates, having created the 625, 626, 718 (now 618), and Practicum course sequence, which was taken by Dr. Dyson, Dr. Sitron,  Dr. Schroeder, Dr. Green, and actually everyone who has taught those classes after her. If you have not had the pleasure of being her student, let us introduce you.

A Certified Sexuality Educator and Supervisor  (AASECT and the National Council of Family Relations). Dr. McCaffree is an Adjunct Professor and the original educational methods developer for Widener University’s Center for Human Sexuality Studies. She also has served as an adjunct Professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education working with elementary and secondary classroom teachers.  A 30-year veteran of public school teaching, she began her work in supervision when she was asked to supervise student teachers in health/sexuality education from local university teacher training programs. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) and as President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS). She is active in the American Association of Sexuality Education, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) serving as its Treasurer and President. She has worked with various research groups to develop curricula to prevent HIV/AIDS, unplanned pregnancy, and other health and social issues among adolescents. She is the co-author of the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) Research to Classroom and has promoted award-winning curricula for minority youth, Be Proud! Be Responsible! (BPBR), Making Proud Choices (MPC), Making A Difference (MAD) and Promoting Health Among Teens! (PHAT)

Outside of her organizational work, Dr. McCaffree conducts workshops both within the US and internationally on childhood/teen sexuality issues to assist educators, parents, and community organizations improve their skills in teaching sexuality education. In recent years she has developed curricula and implemented training programs for educators and other health professionals in South Africa, Zambia, Nigeria and the Philippines. She is co-author of the curriculum adopted by the Federal Ministry of Nigeria for implementation in all schools. Dr. McCaffree has spent the last ten years as either the president of SSSS or AASECT and is currently in the process of completing her last year in professional organization leadership, where she serves as the Immediate Past President of AASECT.

In addition, she continues to supervise and mentor students in the area of sexuality education. Along with continuing to review curricula, Dr. McCaffree gives presentations on effective sexuality education and mostly enjoy teaching to a different audience: her dogs. They are involved in competitive sports such as agility, tracking, obedience, nose work, and some protection.

Chaz Wampold: Alumni Spotlight

Dr. Charles “Chaz” Wampold received his M. Ed. in Human Sexuality Education in 2014 and Ph.D. in 2016. And now, he is happy to report that his dissertation has spawned an Invited Commentary, which was published online by the Archives of Sexual Behavior (ASB)! You can read it at this link: http://rdcu.be/xF9h.

The subject of Wampold’s dissertation, the Fraternal Birth Order Effect, has been an area of sexual orientation research since the 1930s. Interest in the topic dwindled over the decades but was revived 25 years ago by Ray Blanchard, a psychologist at the University of Toronto. Earlier this year, ASB published Blanchard’s big meta-analysis covering fraternal birth order studies during the last 25 years and then invited a few fraternal birth order mavens to publish commentaries. Happily, Chaz’s dissertation also came to the attention of the Editors at ASB, resulting in an invitation for him to publish a commentary as well. His study examined whether the fraternal birth order effect is a general predictor of same-sex attraction in men or whether it is associated with a specific erotic preference for receptive anal intercourse. Read his article to learn more!

Chaz is extremely grateful for the professors at Widener’s Center for Human Sexuality Studies who offered their support throughout this process. His dissertation committee was Dr. Dyson, Chair, Dr. Wells and Dr. Koch. For information on how Chaz started this journey, see our previous blog post at:http://www.widenersexualitystudies.org/alumni-spotlight/chaz-wampold-alumni-spotlight/

Michaela Finley: Current Student Spotlight

After working for the CHSS as a Graduate Assistant, Michaela Finley is now the newly hired Program Coordinator for the Interdisciplinary Sexuality Research Collaboration. Michaela was born and raised in New Mexico and attended the University of New Mexico. There she was on the Board of Directors for the Agora Crisis Center, where her passion was working in suicide prevention. She recently completed a suicide awareness & prevention course designed for non-clinical people and became a certified QPR gatekeeper trainer. In addition to being the Program Coordinator, Michaela is enrolled in the online MSW/M.Ed. dual degree program in the sex therapy track. After she receives her degree she would like to set up a private practice assisting couples, families, and individuals with a variety of psychological stressors.

Dr. Jane Fleishman: Alumni Spotlight

Jane Fleishman, Ph.D. – 2016 Education Track graduate

After the elation she felt following her 2016 Widener graduation (and after removing her cap and gown), Dr. Jane Fleishman has been busy, to the say the least. Continuing to follow her passion in sexuality & aging in the LGBTQ community, she is in the process of turning her dissertation into a book. The work is titled “Coming of Age at the Time of Stonewall,” which is a memoir about sexuality, politics, and aging. She is also the author of numerous academic publications and has recently become AASECT certified.

She has also taken over a podcast called “Our Better Half” with fellow Widener alum Dr. Ashley Mader, who is also in Northampton, MA where she resides. The podcast focuses on what sexuality becomes for people over the age of 50 and attempts to dispel the common myth that sexuality becomes somehow unimportant the later in life one is. In addition to these accomplishments, Dr. Fleishman continues to consult and speak with professionals who work with aging populations.

It has been a whirlwind year for Dr. Fleishman, but she would love to connect with more Widener people doing similar work. She wrote that she feels incredibly grateful to be a part of the Widener community.

Organization: Speaking About Sex

Organization home page: www.janefleishman.com

Podcast link: http://www.ourbetterhalf.net

Advanced Training Program in Transgender Mental Health

Transgender, gender non-binary and gender expansive children, youth, and adults are finding their voices and seeking support to live authentically. Many will seek out a therapist or counselor to provide support in addressing a spectrum of life challenges and promote their health and well-being. Few, if any, master’s and/or PhD counseling programs offer information and training specific to supporting the needs of transgender individuals.

Please visit our web page for more information.

http://www.widener.edu/academics/schools/shsp/hss/degrees/advanced_training.aspx

ISRC Receives Grant

Sharing this update from a Widener news release:

The Interdisciplinary Sexuality Research Collaborative (ISRC) in the Center for Human Sexuality Studies has received a grant for $350,000 from ViiV Healthcare, a global specialist HIV company dedicated to delivering advances in treatment and care for people living with HIV. The award is for the first of two years that the ISRC will develop community education and outreach programming in Baltimore and Jackson, Mississippi.

The outreach program is aligned with the national HIV/AIDS strategy. ViiV Healthcare’s ACCELERATE! program is a four-year, $10 million commitment to fund innovative projects that support the health and well-being of black gay men in the cities with the highest rate of those infected with HIV.

“HIV rates are increasing among black gay men,” said Dr. Justin Sitron, associate dean in the School of Human Service Professions, director of the ISRC and the Center for Human Sexuality Studies. “The majority of new HIV infections are among black gay men. While HIV prevention and treatment communities have worked to reduce infections among white gay men, there are systemic inequities in the healthcare and community engagement systems that create barriers for black gay men. Our program aims to train providers and support men to foster their sexual well-being.”

Through the ACCELERATE! program, ViiV will provide communities with education and resources to increase awareness of the current HIV treatment guidelines and standards of care in the United States. Currently, one in three black gay men live with HIV in the U.S. The efforts of the ISRC will be to develop sexuality education tools so that providers and community organizations are better equipped to provide services that meet the needs of the men they aim to serve.

“This is one of the world’s wicked problems,” Sitron said. “We want to help solve the problem before it gets worse by making sexuality education relevant for black gay men with enhanced content that can be delivered in person and online.”

Widener’s involvement includes a multi-tiered approach, from building partnerships this summer in both Baltimore and Jackson with community-based organizations that serve these communities. A key aspect of the project is developing an online tool that allows community members to connect with one another around health and wellness goals.

“There are many challenges around getting relevant programming to the community, which is why we need to collaborate with community-based organizations from the start,” Sitron said.

Dr. Linda Hawkins, a co-investigator on the grant and an adjunct professor in the Center for Human Sexuality Studies, has worked as a therapist for adolescents that have become HIV infected and understands how to adapt tools to specific communities. She will be working with Sitron and Javontae Williams, an applied research scientist for the ISRC, as well as additional faculty and students on the developing the programming for Baltimore and Jackson.

“We recognize the impact of an approach that empowers and engages the community,” Williams said. “We want providers to understand the stigma some black gay men face so that they can improve the health care environment and become advocates.”

At the end of the program, the ISRC hopes to have three dozen providers trained, evaluation processes in place and a dynamic online community where men can experience social support.

The Center for Human Sexuality Studies, already a leading national training center for sexuality education and sex therapy, established the ISRC to support interdisciplinary research endeavors focused on topics related to human sexuality. The ISRC is comprised of faculty, staff, and both graduate and undergraduate students, and is equipped to execute research projects of various scopes and sizes.

Cristen Kennedy: Education Track Alumni Highlight 3 of 3

Cristen Kennedy, MEd
Program Coordinator for Prevention Education, Barnard College
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

 Tell us a little about your new role:
I am the Program Coordinator for Prevention Education at Barnard College. In my role here I oversee the Being Barnard initiative that was created to address sexual and intimate partner violence prevention in a more holistic way. Working with a number of campus partners, such as the Title IX office and Student Life, the initiative produces programming that helps students engage in ongoing personal development and skill building across the areas of Intervention, Social Identities & Social Power, Violence Education, Relationships, and Wellness. In addition to working on the Being Barnard initiative, I also work with the Primary Care clinical team as a sexuality educator. I provide sexual health consultation, sexual risk management counseling after an STI diagnosis, and I train with our team to develop best practices for addressing sexual health concerns across our student population.

What is your favorite part of your new job?:

In my role with the Primary Care clinical team I am able to do one on one sexual health consultations with students, which is so important as it integrates sexuality into the wider health discussion and provides students a safe place to ask questions and receive education that they may not have gotten in their earlier schooling. The one on one sessions have a profound impact on me because it really drives home the importance of what we do as sexuality educators.

How are you using what you learned at CHSS in your new role?:
Curriculum and lesson plan writing are a large part of my day-to-day job and the education I received on how to do that effectively has been invaluable to me.

What advice would you offer to current or future Education Track Students?:
The sexuality field, though it doesn’t feel like it, is really very small. The people from this program – students and teachers – will be your colleagues as you move forward. I currently work closely with a member of my cohort (Joli) because she does similar work to me at Columbia (our sister university). That connection was partly why I got my job at Barnard. Forge meaningful relationships while you are in the program and keep in touch with folks – they can be a wonderful support system and can also open up opportunities for jobs and networking.

Joli Ienuso: Education Track Alumni Highlight 2 of 3

Joli Ienuso, MEd,
Violence Prevention Educator, 
Sexual Violence Response & Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center, Columbia University
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Tell us a little about your new role:

My title is Violence Prevention Educator (VPE). I work for Sexual Violence Response & Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center (SVR for short) at Columbia University. My position is grant funded by the Enough is Enough grant via the Department of Health of New York State. SVR provides advocacy, prevention, and outreach for all affiliate schools of Columbia University. As the VPE I am tasked with performing all three, which is a unique position for SVR. This means I provide direct services to Columbia University students as a certified rape crisis counselor via the 24-hour/year round HelpLine; sexual violence prevention training programs in the areas of bystander intervention, healthy relationships, communication, intersectionality, microagressions, and more; and perform student and community facing outreach. A major component of my position, fueled by the requirements of the Enough is Enough grant, is to foster partnerships with administrators of other colleges and universities in New York City and host training of trainer (ToT) workshop series’ in order to prepare Title IX Coordinators and other designated administrators in the dynamics of sexual violence, and how to comply with federal and state legislation.

As part of my position, I am also a member of the OutSmart NYC Collective and Curriculum Committee. OutSmart consists of nightlife staff, community-based organizations, and higher education representatives who have come together to develop and implement a training program to promote sexual violence prevention in nightlife spaces– especially those surrounding college campuses. I am also the co-chair of the Manhattan Sexual Assault Task Force (MSATF) College Campus Subcommittee, a group of law enforcement officials, college/university administrators, and community-based organization representatives who come together to discuss and problem-solve issues involving campus sexual violence.

What is your favorite part of your new job?:
My favorite part about being the Violence Prevention Educator is every opportunity I have to teach. If I had to name a favorite population, I think my ToT’s would “take the cake.” Throughout my time in the MEd program at Widener I fell in love with education, so being able to begin conversations that evoke education theory with a room full of administrative peers is particularly rewarding.

How are you using what you learned at CHSS in your new role?:

I use what I learned in the program every day. I have a small library of books at my desk that I reference every day. It truly is all about #RationaleRationaleRationale, knowing your audience, and molding programming to meet people where they are. My workshops for graduate students at Teacher’s College are different than those for graduate students at the Medical Center, which are different than those for first-years, international students, and so on. I go back to those basic tenants all the time, and I keep the books that house them close!

What advice would you offer to current or future Education Track Students?:

If I can impart one piece of advice it is to be your own best advocate by developing good habits sooner rather than later. Read every word of the syllabus, get started on that assignment early (and save it often), use all the resources available to you (there is so much information on the CHSS Campus Cruiser page), ask informed questions, network often, assume everyone you meet in the program (including professors) will be future co-workers and that . may determine the impression you intend to leave, identify your learning edges and push them, respond to emails quickly, and of course, learn what it means for you to take care of yourself and make that a priority. All of these things which you can begin to do (or fine-tune) as a graduate student directly translate to being in a traditional workforce– especially if you are interested in working for or with higher education.

Jennifer Hinds: Education Track Alumni Highlight

One of the most common questions we get from potential applicants is “What are Education Track graduates doing with their degrees? What types of jobs are they getting?”  We reached out to three of our 2016 graduates to tell us a bit more about their post-graduation jobs, and to find out how the CHSS Education Track helped prepare them for their new roles.  Here is the first of a series of three responses. ___________________________________________________________________________

Jennifer Hinds, MEd

Curriculum Manager, A Woman’s Place

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Tell us a little about your new job:

I am the Curriculum Manager at A Woman’s Place (AWP), the domestic violence organization inBucks County, PA. I work for the Prevention Project at AWP that does education, outreach, and training throughout the county. We talk to children in elementary schools and other community settings about healthy friendships, self-worth, communication, and boundaries. We discuss teen dating violence and healthy relationships in middle and high school. We train medical professionals on how to screen for domestic violence in healthcare settings. We talk to various other groups of adults throughout the community about domestic violence: what it looks like, the warning signs, how to help someone, how to help yourself, and the services that we provide at AWP.

What is your favorite part of your new job?: 

My favorite part of my new job is the range of responsibilities and roles I take on. While my main role is to create, manage, and edit our curricula for our various programs, I also get to educate and train people of all ages, engage in community outreach, partner with other non-profits, put on conferences and a camp, as well as supervising our educators from our Prevention Project.

How are you using what you learned at CHSS in your new role?:

The rigorous training in lesson planning and curriculum writing at CHSS is what made it possible for me to obtain my position at AWP.  Knowing how to effectively craft a lesson plan and incorporate it into a whole curriculum based on solid goals and objectives isn’t something I would have been able to do before the CHSS program. Also, being culturally competent and bringing that into our curriculum is changing the direction of our prevention efforts at AWP.

What advice would you offer to current or future Education Track Students?:

  1. Enjoy those weekend classes because there are few other places where you will have experiences like that.
  2. Find a topic(s) in sexuality you are interested in and focus on that throughout the program so you have some sort of specialty in your expertise.
  3. Don’t procrastinate! Curriculum writing takes a lot of time and effort and doing it last minute will not produce quality work, which won’t help you in the end.

Celebrating Dr. Pat Koch!

On October 13, we will celebrate and appreciate Dr. Koch for her many years of service to our doctoral students and our program. If you know her and/or had classes with her, please join us if you can for dinner at the Springfield Country Club.  Sign up by clicking here. Bring a guest if you please :).

Whether you can attend or not, please share your memories of Dr. Koch at https://www.kudoboard.com/boards/Ua5Evbe3. Please comment on how she may have influenced your academic, professional, and/or personal development.

Recently retired, Patricia Barthalow Koch, Ph.D., served as a faculty member at the Pennsylvania State University (Professor of Biobiobehavioral Health; Health Education; Nursing Science, and Gender and Sexuality Studies) for over 40 years and an Adjunct Professor of Human Sexuality Studies at Widener University for over 15 years. She also was the Director of the Pennsylvania Learning Academy of Sexuality Education, a Faculty Scholar at the Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center (PSU), and a Visiting Scholar at the University of Sydney, Columbia University, Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions, the Japanese International HIV Cooperation Society, and a Sexology Delegate to the People’s Republic of China.

Dr. Koch served on 26 externally-funded and 36 internally-funded research projects on topics related to sexuality and women’s health, including the interaction of alcohol and sexual behaviors, negative sexual experience, sexuality education methodologies, menstrual health, and women’s sexuality as they age. She has authored/co-authored 105 scientific articles, book chapters, and research proceedings/reports and 3 books.

In addition, Dr. Koch is a dedicated and passionate educator, believing in Nelson Mandela’s statement that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” She developed and taught 25 different undergraduate courses at Penn State as well as 7 graduate and 9 Outreach/World Campus courses, and the two major doctoral courses for the Human Sexuality Studies Program at Widener. Dr. Koch always received the highest ratings of teaching excellence from her students. They note her depth and breadth of knowledge, enthusiasm, and creative and interactive teaching methods. She enjoys mentoring students and has served on 54 doctoral committees, 52 master’s committees, and has mentored over 300 undergraduate peer sexuality educators.

Dr. Koch has been a leader in the field of sexology for many decades, being a Fellow and Past President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality and a Past President of the Foundation for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, as well as an International Delegate to the World Association of Sexual Health. She has received many awards throughout her career. Some of which she is most proud include: the Hugo G. Beigel Award for Most Outstanding Research Report Published in the Journal of Sex Research (2006), The Points of Pride Award for Leadership and Scholarship in the Field of Sexology from Widener University, the President’s Award for Engagement with Students (PSU), Service to the Profession Award (SSSS), and an Alumni Teaching Fellow (PSU).

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Koch for her many years of service to our students, our program, and our field, and wish her well in her retirement. If you want to email her directly, use p3k@psu.edu