Taryn Gal, MPH, CPH, CHES, (Ann Arbor) is the Managing Director MOASH and has been with the organization since 2011. She has worked in the sexual health promotion field for the past ten years. She has assisted with the development and dissemination of an evidence-based curriculum through the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Replicating Effective Programs (REP), which was focused on HIV/STI risk reduction among adolescents. Taryn is a certified HIV test counselor and has volunteered and interned at several local nonprofit organizations working to do community outreach and promote sexuality education. She looks forward to opportunities at MOASH to further educate and empower youth in regards to sexual health promotion and risk reduction.
email Brittany at firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex L. Cicalese (Kalamazoo) is a GSA Organizational Development Specialist at MOASH. His background is primarily in human services with a focus on youth development and includes a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from York College of Pennsylvania as well as master’s degree in counseling from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. He has worked in violence prevention and emotion education with at-risk youth, has facilitated LGBTQ youth groups, provided individual counseling for university students, and works with a youth advisory board dedicated to the system of care in Kalamazoo. He is thrilled to bring his commitment to youth voice and experience in youth directed programming to support Michigan GSAs in creating a better local and national landscape for LGBTQ youth.
email Alex at email@example.com
Stephanie DiPonio, MSW, (Lansing) is the Program and Outreach Manager for MOASH. Stephanie graduated from Michigan State University with a BA degree in Anthropology, minor in Women and Gender Studies, and a specialization in Peace and Justice Studies. Thereafter, Stephanie received a MSW from the University of Michigan focusing on Community Organizing. In addition, she has a strong background in gender and sexuality issues, women’s health, as well as sexual and interpersonal violence issues. She looks forward to bring her passion and interests to the MOASH team.
email Stephanie at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lacey Slay (Detroit) is the BAMM GSAs 2.0 Program Coordinator. A Detroit native, Lacey returned to the city in 2010 after completing a B.A. in English at Spelman College. Also a graduate of Wayne State University with an M.A. in English, her studies focused on using critical literary theory to examine systemic racial and socio-economic inequities in the metro-Detroit area. Lacey has since been actively working in Detroit’s non-profit sector, particularly focusing on education and youth development. Throughout her years working with and advocating for vulnerable youth populations, she found comprehensive sexual education, reproductive rights advocacy, and access to sexual health care to be huge deficits in school curriculums across the region. She hopes to help bridge that gap at MOASH.
Email Lacey at email@example.com
MOASH Staff 2017
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PRESIDENT: SooJi Min, MA, MSJ, (Ann Arbor) is a nonprofit executive with more than 10 years of experience in management, development, policy, research, advocacy and direct service. Currently, she is the executive director of Temple Beth Emeth in Ann Arbor and a nonprofit consultant. Ms. Min served for five years as the executive director of the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH), a nonprofit policy and advocacy organization that focuses on adolescent sexual health and parenting. At ICAH, Ms. Min focused the agency’s programming to develop leadership among youth from communities of color; advocate for community, institutional, societal, and policy changes impacting low-income and marginalized communities; and build a grassroots network of allied social justice organizations. She advocates for sexuality education — comprehensive, age appropriate and medically accurate — that empowers youth and nurtures healthy relationships.
VICE PRESIDENT: Craig VanKempen, MPH, LMSW, (Ypsilanti) is a health educator and clinical social worker with the Corner Health Center in Ypsilanti. He works with adolescents on mental, physical, and sexual health in both the treatment and prevention realms. His professional interests include HIV prevention and treatment, healthy relationships, comprehensive sexuality education, LGBTQA issues, and using the arts to help change health behaviors in youth.
SECRETARY: Heather Alberda, BA (Holland) has been a Sexuality Educator with the Ottawa County Health Department for the past 13 years. She received her BA in Criminal Justice from Grand Valley State University and recently completed the University of Michigan Sexual Health Certification Program. Her passion for the community, youth and sexual health has taken on many facets throughout the years. She began her career teaching prenatal classes and coordinating a peer education program entitled Mothers Know Best. Her focus over the years has included STI/teen pregnancy prevention, providing parents with the power and information to encourage healthy sexual conversations as well as chairing the local sexual health coalition. Heather’s passion lies within empowering youth and encouraging them to seek correct information about sexuality. In 2007, Heather attended a Sex and Technology conference in San Francisco which sparked her passion of reaching youth and promoting healthy sexuality through technology. Out of this passion grew piloted efforts on MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, and other texting initiatives, a Photo Voice Project that will integrate YouTube and QR codes and most recently a county wide condom distribution program. Heather also currently serves on the executive committee for the Michigan Coalition of Adolescent Sexual Health, which is currently working on developing an Adolescent Health Sexual Health state wide action plan. She is a current member of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. Locally, Heather is a member of GLC-SOPHE (Great Lakes Chapter). There she has held the positions of President, Past President, Secretary and National Delegate. On a more personal note, Heather is married to Ryan and they have 3 children Tyler (20), Elliot (12) and Olivia (10).
Reverend Elizabeth Barnum (Grand Rapids) is Associate Minister for Education & Pastoral Care at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids, MI. She is an ordained minister with standing in the United Church of Christ and previously served in positions at Barrington Congregational Church in Rhode Island, St. Michael’s Uniting Church in Melbourne, Australia, and the Exeter Congregational Church in New Hampshire. Her teaching credentials include MA state educator licensure and she has taught at several secondary schools, including in the Religion Department at Phillips Exeter Academy and as a chaplaincy intern at Northfield Mount Hermon School. Her formal education includes earning degrees from Harvard Divinity School and the University of New Hampshire. In 2012, Rev. Barnum was one of the faith leaders who participated in the Faith & Reproductive Justice Leadership Institute of the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. She is trained to teach the elementary and secondary levels of Our Whole Lives, a lifespan comprehensive sexuality education curriculm developed by the United Church of Christ and Unitarian Universalist Association. She is also a trainer of facilitators for the young adult/adult level of Our Whole Lives. As a minister, educator, and advocate, she is honored to support the statewide initiatives of MOASH as a board member.
Laurie Bechhofer, MPH, (Lansing) has been an advocate, champion and change agent on adolescent sexual health and effective HIV/STD and sex education programs for the past 25 years. She believes in the power and strength of young people to make informed decisions about their relationships, their sexual health, and their future. She has been the HIV/STD Education Consultant with the Michigan Department of Education since 1996, working closely with schools, parents, and communities to promote HIV/STD programs for youth that are consistent with student needs, community norms, the law, and research and best practice. She is the project director for a five-year grant from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Adolescent and School Health to promote exemplary sexual health education, access to sexual health services, and safe and supportive school environments for all students. Laurie leads a statewide initiative, A Silent Crisis: Creating Safe Schools for Sexual Minority Youth. In 2008, she co-founded the Michigan Organization on Adolescent Sexual Health (MOASH). She has been invited to serve on numerous national panels including the National Sexuality Education Standards Committee, and to speak at a sex education briefing on Capitol Hill.
Laurie is the President for the Society of State Leaders of Health and Physical Education, a Fellow with the American School Health Association, and co-authored a chapter in the book, Case Studies in Global School Health Promotion. She is the proud parent of a teenage son, Noah. She earned her M.P.H. from the University of Michigan and her B.A. in Psychology from Cornell University.
Jade Burns, PhD, RN, CPNP-PC, (Detroit) has undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing from the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania. She completed her PhD in Nursing at the University of Michigan School of Nursing in 2016. Her research interest is in African American adolescents and their use of social media. She is interested in examining the benefits of social media and how it may be a potential medium to educate African American adolescents (more specifically African American adolescent males) and encourage safer sexual health decisions/behaviors. Dr. Burns has ten years experience working with children and youth ages 0-21 in a variety of clinical and academic settings ranging from the emergency room to several public schools within Metro Detroit. She is the former Director of Healthy Teens Community Care Center, an adolescent school-linked clinic in the heart of Detroit. The clinic is part of a larger non-profit, Detroit Community Health Connection Inc. Her area of expertise in clinical practice as a pediatric nurse practitioner is adolescent health care, family planning, health promotion, and STI prevention. Dr. Burns was previously selected as a Paul Ambrose Scholar through the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research as well as a McNeil Scholar through the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners. She is active in many nursing and non-nursing organizations. Her hobbies in the past and present have included mentoring students, running, coaching cheerleading, and watching reality TV. She currently is an assistant professor at the University of Toledo College of Nursing where she continues to conduct her research and teach courses on community health, pediatrics, and interprofessional education among varied health disciplines.
Colby Spencer Cesaro, MPA, (Ann Arbor) is Vice President at the Michigan Independent Colleges and Universities association (MICU). She focuses on analyzing data on the contributions of higher education institutions, their students, and graduates to the economy and enhancing awareness of the importance of higher education to with policymakers and the public. Prior to coming to MICU, Ms. Spencer Cesaro was the Senior Director for Research & Strategy at the Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan. She is co-chair of the Arts Alliance board, a non-profit focused on arts advocacy throughout Washtenaw County and the state. With Arts Alliance, she works collaboratively with her co-chair and the organization on grant-writing, membership development, and communications.
Ms. Spencer Cesaro’s background, prior to her professional career in policy and economics, was in theatre, dance, and vocal performance. She produces shows and performs with Ann Arbor Musical Theatre Works, a regional musical theatre company with a mission focused on raising awareness and funds for social and medical issues facing the community. Ms. Spencer Cesaro holds a Bachelor of Science in elementary and special education from New York University with a concentration on vocal performance and music and Master of Public Administration in urban/social policy and econometric/quantitative analysis from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. She has taught in the District of Columbia Public Schools. She now serves as co-president of the Columbia University Alumni Association of Michigan.
Ms. Spencer Cesaro is passionate about issues pertaining to women’s health, education, and social justice and looks forward to sharing her knowledge, skills, and experience as a member of the Board of MOASH.
Natalie Holbrook, (Ypsilanti) is the director of the American Friends Service Committee’s Michigan Criminal Justice program. She is a prisoner rights advocate and social change activist. For the last 12 years, she has advocated for and with people held in Michigan’s prisons around issues related to their conditions of confinement including access to adequate health care and mental health care, solitary confinement, parole preparation and parole/commutation related issues. This direct advocacy work translates into larger systems reform work and public education campaigns. She is a founding member of the all-volunteer collective Bike Ypsi. She has a Master’s degree in Education from Eastern Michigan University. She has bicycled more than 15,000 miles in the last five years, mostly in and around her hometown of Ypsilanti.
Patrick M. Horton, MA, (Lapeer) received his Sexuality Education and Counseling training at Oakland University, as part of his MA degree in Youth and Adult Guidance and Counseling (1978). He is certified to teach the “Our Whole Lives: Sexuality and Our Faith” Unitarian Universalist and United Church of Christ sexual health curriculum for 7th-12th grade and the young adult/adult levels. Pat is also a past member of The American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. Prior to his retirement in 2011 Pat had just finished a four year commitment to Planned Parenthood of South Central Michigan, (Kalamazoo/Battle Creek) as the Outreach and Community Education Coordinator and co-coordinator of the Calhoun County Coalition for Inclusion (a youth LGBTQIA advocacy, educational and service collaborative funded by the ARCUS Foundation). Horton currently spends most of his time facilitating community discussions around the subject of evidence based human sexuality research and education aimed at youth and adults. Pat is serving as Co-Chair of Inclusive Justice/Together in Faith, an Ann Arbor based statewide, inter-faith and multi-cultural educational/advocacy/policy organization focused on Michigan’s LGBTQUI community. He hosts a small weekly internet radio show ( “The Sexual Literacy Project”) and is a recognized educator, public speaker, researcher, and counselor in the field of human sexuality, reproductive health, human rights, and gender focused social justice issues.
Naomi Khalil, (Farmington) is in the eighth year of serving as Director of Instructional Equity for the Farmington Public Schools. In this role, Ms. Khalil leads a number of initiatives, including but not limited to: district diversity initiatives (student lead diversity program, activities for staff and parents, Social Justice training, Minority Student Achievement Network representative, Farmington/Farmington Hills Multicultural Multiracial Council representative, Civil Rights compliance officer); federal programs and grants coordinator; section 504 district coordinator; career focused/career tech education director; and district student assistance program coordinator. Prior to coming to FPS, Ms. Khalil worked for two years as a Spanish HS teacher in Utica Community Schools before spending 11 years as a teacher, curriculum coordinator and principal of the Academy of the Americas school, a dual language immersion K-8 school in the Detroit Public School system. Ms. Khalil also develops and delivers professional development to educators in a number of areas, including privilege & oppression, whiteness, race politics, and gender identity. She roots these sessions in the needs of students as she works diligently to be an advocate for and ally to student voice.
In addition to her educational experience, Ms. Khalil is a champion of her middle eastern heritage, has native fluency in Spanish, and has lived and traveled extensively abroad. This vast experience, coupled with her life experiences that she shares with her wife and two children, allows Ms. Khalil to bring a unique, yet powerful perspective to the world of diversity work.
Marjie Rich, MPH, (Traverse City) earned her BA in Psychology from the University of Michigan and her MPH from Columbia University of New York. She currently works at the Women’s Resource Center where she directs the Doula Teen Parent Program, a five-county program that supports pregnant and parenting teenagers. In this capacity, she works directly with teen parents empowering them to graduate high school, delay subsequent pregnancies, become financially independent, and advocate for their children’s needs. The Doula Program combines her interests in public health and education, allowing her to advocate for social change at the societal level while grounding her with direct client care. She also chairs PHASE, a community task force focused on reducing teen pregnancies in the Grand Traverse area. Marjie’s original work centered on research of international health programs for women and children. Over the past twenty-five years, she has worked with programs addressing community health needs, breastfeeding support, teen pregnancy prevention, teen substance abuse prevention, and health education. Ms. Rich has served on several boards including six years on her local school board (two as president), and she is currently on the International Advisory Board of Northwestern Michigan College. Ms. Rich lives with her husband Roger Gerstle, and their three daughters Talia, Zoe and Lena.
Shan Parker, Ph.D., MPH, (Flint) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Michigan-Flint where she is also the Associate Director of Health Education. She received her doctorate in Health Education and Health Promotion jointly from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health (2000) where she also received her M.P.H. (1995). Her B.S. in Biology is from the University of South Alabama (1993). Dr. Parker has worked in the field of Health Education and Promotion over 22 years in addressing the sexual health needs of youth and young adults. Dr. Parker is a health promotionist who has focused her efforts on working with minority populations, specifically African Americans in addressing disease prevention. Her areas of interest include HIV/AIDS and STI prevention and reproductive and sexual health. Much of her work utilizes peer education and advocacy to impact behavior change among youth and young adults. In her commitment to addressing sexual health among youth, she firmly believes that it is essential to move beyond focusing on risks. “We need to embrace a comprehensive approach to looking sexual health providing adolescents with tools and resources needed to make healthy decisions early in their sexual lives which translates into healthy decisions and behaviors in adulthood.” She has worked in developing culturally sensitive interventions for minority populations including women, adolescents, and persons in substance abuse treatment. Dr. Parker is a researcher whose focus is community driven emphasizing social justice and providing access to health care services for all people. She is committed to working with her community to address health disparities improving health outcomes of the citizens of Flint.
Dr. Parker is a member of the Michigan HIV/AIDS Council and holds memberships several professional memberships in Health Education and Public Health.Back To Top