About This Work
NIRH has a long history of lifting up the voices of young people advocating for the sexual health information they need, supporting partners across the country.
From working in coalition to successfully advocate for a package of bills to improve sexual health education in New York City to working with a cohort of young people in Oregon to create spaces where teens can access confidential reproductive health care and contraception, NIRH is dedicated to working with youth to advance comprehensive sex education that is medically-accurate, age-appropriate, culturally competent, and LGBTQ-inclusive.
NIRH believes that focusing on the use of evidence-based curriculum and reducing disparities are central to improving the health and well-being of children and young adults.
The members of the Youth Advisory Council (YAC) at the Inukai Family Boys & Girls Club are changemakers in their community, and in 2016, NIRH was proud to support them as they work towards their goal of increasing access to teen-friendly reproductive health care. In the first quarter of 2016, the Hillsboro School Board voted 4-3 to deny a policy that would have allowed the town’s school-based health center to dispense and prescribe contraceptives to students, despite advocacy by the YAC urging them to support the policy. Undeterred, the young people turned to a partnership with Washington County Public Health [...]
Far too often, LGBT youth are overlooked in the development and delivery of sexuality education programs, with the result that they lack the information and tools they need to make healthy, informed decisions about their sexuality and reproductive health. In 2017, NIRH partnered with the Family Health Council of Central Pennsylvania and the LGBT Center of Central Pennsylvania to provide LGBT-centered comprehensive sexuality education to a cohort of students, as well as to provide them with advocacy training so they would be able to call for this sort of curriculum in their high schools. After receiving their training, staff at [...]
In New York City, NIRH chairs the Sexuality Education Alliance of New York City (SEANYC), a long-standing coalition of parents, students, educators, direct service providers, and advocacy organizations, all fighting for comprehensive, K-12 sexuality education that meets the National Sexuality Education Standards for all NYC youth. Since 2011, New York City Department of Education (DOE) has required students to receive sexuality education as part of their mandatory single semesters of health education in both middle and high school, but reports from students, educators, and DOE itself show that even this minimal requirement is not being effectively implemented. In February 2016, [...]
SisterReach Releases First Report in Tennessee to Center the Voices of People of Color on Comprehensive Sexuality Education
Tennessee’s abstinence-only education policies are harmful to communities across the state, and that is especially clear in Shelby County, where STI rates are much higher than the national average and rising. One of Tennessee’s laws, known as the “Gateway Sexual Activity” law, forbids individuals or organizations from discussing “non-abstinence as an appropriate or acceptable behavior” and enables parents to sue institutions for damages if they feel the school has done so. Fearful of the law’s implications, the Shelby County School Board responded to this policy by making their sex education “opt in.” As a result, very few students in Shelby [...]