the awards

step into the spotlight

We want to celebrate you and all of the great work you are doing! We know you’re out there, every day, providing honest, affirming care and education, and empowering the next generation to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

So tell us about it!

Each year, Healthy Teen Network recognizes individuals and organizations for their achievements in adolescent sexual and reproductive health.

We will be accepting nominations for #HealthyTeen24 Awards in the Spring of 2024. Sign up for our email updates to be sure to get the call for the awards announcement.

Learn more about our awards and previous awardees, below.

#StandingStrong Award

Oregon Department of Education logo
The Menstrual Dignity for Students Program

The Menstrual Dignity for Students Program from the Oregon Department of Education requires that schools provide products and dispensers in a safe, private, accessible, and gender-affirming manner. The program also guarantees that education must cover menstrual health as a positive part of being human, without shame, and in a way that is affirming and accessible for all students of all genders. To assist school districts with implementation and requirements, program staff created the Menstrual Dignity for Students Toolkit to support educators and administrators to hold student equity and menstrual dignity at the center, so all students have the opportunity for safe, dignified self-care. Read more…

Outstanding Former Teen Parent Award

photo of Marlen Ramirez
Marlen Ramirez

Coming from a culture that usually does not have conversations about health education or reproductive health was what led Marlen Ramirez to become a Community Health Worker and a Community Health Worker Instructor in Texas. She was a teen parent whose strength and perseverance earned her B.S. in Social Sciences from Sul Ross State University and cemented her future in the helping professions. In 2016, she launched Better Futures Forever which trains teens as ambassadors to reduce teen pregnancy in southwest Texas. Currently, Better Futures Forever is one of the only training centers to provide certification to high schools in southwest Texas, by certifying one of the youngest cohorts of high school students in her Texas hometown. Read more…


Raphael House of Portland logo
Confidential Advocacy Services in Schools Program

Raphael House of Portland’s mission is to engage their entire community in non-violent living through advocacy, education, and community outreach, and by providing a safe haven from domestic violence. They are driven to provide a foundation of hope for a future free from domestic violence. For over 46 years their shelter and wraparound services have helped families escaping abuse build the safe, stable, independent lives they deserve. Read more…

all about the awards

Outstanding Former Young Parent Award

From day one, when Healthy Teen Network was founded in 1979 as the National Organization for Adolescent Pregnancy and Parenting (NOAPP), we have not only affirmed but often been one of but few voices standing with young families.

Being inclusive of and affirming young people who are pregnant or parenting ensures equity for all youth.

With the Outstanding Former Young Parent Award, we recognize a former young parent who has risen to the challenges of early parenting, has achieved extraordinary personal and/or professional success, and demonstrates phenomenal leadership.

The Outstanding Former Young Parent Award not only recognizes young parents, it celebrates them and their accomplishments, for themselves, and for their families.

#StandingStrong Award

The #StandingStrong Award celebrates individuals or organizations who are champions, standing up with and for the rights of all young people.

Our nation’s young people face continued and escalating attacks on their sexual and reproductive health rights, driven by ideology and partisan agendas. Adolescent sexual and reproductive health is essential to the well-being of our nation, but it takes a legion of us, #StandingStrong, to create a world where every young person can realize their right to live their authentic sexuality.

That means making decisions about their own body and relationships—and feeling good doing it. Decisions about if, when, and how to parent—or not. And the freedom to become who they want to be.

The #StandingStrong Award recognizes those who fight for young people’s access to inclusive, affirming, and truthful sexual and reproductive healthcare services and education. 

Innovation Award

The Innovation Award is near and dear to our hearts here at Healthy Teen Network because innovation helps us create solutions to meet the ever-changing lives of young people.

With the Innovation Award, Healthy Teen Network recognizes innovation and achievements in adolescent sexual and reproductive health. We celebrate creative and youth-centered approaches to problem-solving that start with young people and end with innovative solutions tailor-made to meet their needs.

There are so many different kinds of innovative solutions—from helping young people get the answers they need, to finding the right care, to feeling good about their sexuality, and so much more.

The Innovation Award honors individuals or organizations committed to holistic and innovative approaches to promote equity, reduce health disparities, and be inclusive and affirming of the needs of all young people. 

award faqs

What Are We Looking For?

  • Nominees should have made outstanding contributions in the field of adolescent sexual and reproductive health. See the award descriptions above for more information on each award.
  • Nominees should have demonstrated leadership, creativity, and effectiveness.
  • All awardees must make a commitment to attend the annual Healthy Teen Network Conference on the day they are to receive their award, at a minimum.
  • Organizations and agencies employing Healthy Teen Network board members are not eligible nominees.

What Do I Need to Nominate?

Complete the Award Nomination Form below by June 15, 2023, 11:59 PM ET. You will need to provide:

  • A headshot/photo of the nominee (PNG, GIF, JPG, or JPEG files, 2MB maximum, 500×500 pixels minimum). This photo will be used in the award announcement, in marketing materials, on the conference website, on social media, and on the conference app.
  • A brief bio of the nominee. If applicable, a brief history of the nominee’s involvement in the field, including a summary of their focus.
  • Clearly stated reasons for proposing this nominee.
  • Three letters of support for the nomination, two of which must come from outside the nominee’s organization/agency.
  • Optional: Any other supportive materials (e.g., websites, news articles, brochures, etc.) as hyperlinks or PDF/Word documents.

What Happens Now?

  • The Healthy Teen Network Conference Committee reviews awardee applications and recommends award recipients.
  • Healthy Teen Network staff make the final selection of award recipients.
  • We will notify awardees no fewer than 60 days prior to the first day of the conference.

What If I Am the Awardee?

  • Awards will be announced on the Healthy Teen Network website and social media channels in the weeks leading up to the conference.
  • Awards will be presented at the Healthy Teen Network conference, Take Care and Take Action, in Portland, October 2-4, 2023 (exact date of award presentation TBD).
  • Awardees will be welcomed to accept their award and share a few short remarks during a general conference session.
  • Awardees will be provided with a travel stipend, full conference registration, and one complimentary hotel night stay.

2024 awards nominations

Thank you for your interest! We will be accepting nominations for #HealthyTeen24 Awards in the Spring of 2024. Sign up for our email updates to be sure to get the call for the awards announcement.

previous awardees

Each year, we recognize programs, groups, and individuals who have contributed to promoting young people’s health and well-being through personal or professional efforts.  Congratulations to all our past awardees!

2018 Awardees

Pat Paluzzi, #StandingStrong Award

Nelly Vianna, Youth 360° Innovation Award

Miki Rutledge, Outstanding Former Teen Parent

Karin Coyle, Douglas B. Kirby Researcher of the Year

Tara Beeston, Chrissy Cmorik, & Rachel Miller, Spirit of Service Award

Shirley Nash Weber, Spirit of Service Award

2016 Awardees

Kristin Fairholm, Outstanding Former Teen Parent

Paula Braverman, Douglas B. Kirby Researcher of the Year

Young Women United, Youth 360° Innovation Award

Purple W.I.N.G.S., Spirit of Service Award

2014 Awardees

Susan Tortolero Emery, Douglas B. Kirby Adolescent Research Award

Jean Warren Lindsay, Spirit of Service Award

#NoTeenShame, Spirit of Service Award

Corey Jones, Outstanding Former Teen Parent Award

Georgia Public-Private Partnership to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (GCAPP), Outstanding Emerging Innovation Award

Mary Jo Podgurski, The Carol Mendez Cassell Award for Excellence in Sexuality Education

2012 Awardees

Peter L. Benson, Researcher of the Year Award

Leah Herbert, Outstanding Former Teen Parent Award

GENESISTER (Boulder County Public Health), Outstanding Emerging Innovation Award

Amy Schalet, The Carol Mendez Cassell Award for Excellence in Sexuality Education

2010 Awardees

Kristin Anderson Moore, Researcher of the Year Award

Janet P. Realini, Spirit of Service Award

Mark Strama, Spirit of Service Award

Laura Buxton, Outstanding Former Teen Parent Award

Michele Vaughn, Outstanding Former Teen Parent Award

BrdsNBz (SHIFT NC), Outstanding Emerging Innovation Award

Elizabeth Schroeder, The Carol Mendez Cassell Award for Excellence in Sexuality Education

Lorraine Vogel Klerman, Lifetime Achievement Award

2008 Awardees

Carol Cassell, Outstanding Researcher Award

Diane Denish, Spirit of Service Award

Alfredo Vigil, Spirit of Service Award

Linda Lopez, Spirit of Service Award

Kathy Harms, Outstanding Former Teen Parent Award

The Denver Teen Pregnancy Prevention Partnership, Outstanding Emerging Innovation Award

The Freshmen Focus Program (Palmetto Health Community Services of South Carolina), Outstanding Emerging Innovation Award

Elizabeth Schroeder, The Carol Mendez Cassell Award for Excellence in Sexuality Education

2006 Awardees

Claire D. Brindis, Outstanding Researcher Award

Lillian Harris, Outstanding Former Teen Parent Award

No Kidding: Straight Talk from Teen Parents, Outstanding Emerging Innovation Award

Wesley Shelter, Outstanding Intervention Program Award

SHINE Program, Outstanding Prevention Program

Juanita Weber, Outstanding Individual Professional

2021 Awardees

Although the world began to reopen in 2021, we still had concerns regarding the safety and well-being of both our staff and attendees. In light of these concerns, we made the decision to hold #HealthyTeen21 as a virtual event. As a result of our team’s efforts to redesign the conference, we also decided not to accept nominations for awards in 2021.

2019 Awardees

Cole Williams, Outstanding Former Teen Parent

Judith Herrman, Douglas B. Kirby Researcher of the Year

Youth Rebuilding New Orleans, Youth 360° Innovation Award

Deon Haywood, #Standing Strong Award

Patricia Haynes Smith, Spirit of Service Award

2017 Awardees

Joseph Yusef, Outstanding Former Teen Parent

Abraham Wandersman, Douglas B. Kirby Researcher of the Year

Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy, Youth 360° Innovation Award

Ariana B. Kelly, Spirit of Service Award

Delores Goodwin Kelly, Spirit of Service Award

2015 Awardees

Aisha Mix, Outstanding Former Teen Parent

Lesley Del Rio, Outstanding Former Teen Parent

Richard P. Barth, Douglas B. Kirby Researcher of the Year

University of Michigan Health System, Outstanding Emerging Innovation Award

Brandon Scott, Spirit of Service Award

B’More for Healthy Babies, Spirit of Service Award

Middle Grades Partnership Students, Spirit of Service Award


2013 Awardees

Ralph DiClemente, Douglas B. Kirby Adolescent Research Award

Otis S. Johnson, Spirit of Service Award

Lisa Carter, Outstanding Former Teen Parent Award

Gender Matters (EngenderHealth), Outstanding Emerging Innovation Award

Barbara Kemp Huberman, The Carol Mendez Cassell Award for Excellence in Sexuality Education

2011 Awardees

Freya Lund Sonenstein, Researcher of the Year Award

Chelsa Wagner, Spirit of Service Award

Lilah Fisher Wise, Spirit of Service Award

James Wagoner, Spirit of Service Award

Todae Charles, Outstanding Former Teen Parent Award

Afterschool Health and Sexuality Education Program (Planned Parenthood of New York City), Outstanding Emerging Innovation Award

Héctor Sánchez-Flores, The Carol Mendez Cassell Award for Excellence in Sexuality Education

2009 Awardees

John Santelli, Outstanding Researcher Award

Michael Carrera, Spirit of Service Award

Michele Ozumba, Spirit of Service Award

Tchernavia Ranesfore, Outstanding Former Teen Parent Award

The Lucas County, Ohio Youth Development/Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, Outstanding Emerging Innovation Award

Response-Ability Pregnant and Parenting Program (RAPPP), Outstanding Emerging Innovation Award

Sharon Rodine, Healthy Teen Network Pioneer Award

2007 Awardees

Laurie Schwab Zabin, Outstanding Researcher Award

Robert Chew accepting on behalf of HBO, Spirit of Service Award

Karen Pittman, Spirit of Service Award

Loren Harris, Outstanding Former Teen Parent Award

Future Promises, Outstanding Emerging Innovation for Young Families Award

2005 Awardees

Barbara W. Sugland, Outstanding Researcher Award

Ounce of Prevention Fund, Spirit of Service Award

Henry A. Waxman, Spirit of Service Award

Jo Lerberg, Outstanding Former Teen Parent Award

Home Based Contraception Program, Outstanding Emerging Innovation Award

Bette J. Gifford, Outstanding Individual Professional

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The “Must-Attend” Conference

We are the go-to network for connecting youth-supporting professionals with the opportunities, training, and tools they need to empower the next generation to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

Our vast membership network of more than 5,600 affiliates is made up of diverse adolescent sexual and reproductive health professionals.

We know youth-supporting professionals do their best when they’re connected to great opportunities and resources—and with others working in sexual and reproductive health. And when they are well-supported, we see more positive outcomes for the youth they serve.

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What We Have Heard

Don't just take our word for it. Straight from our attendees, here's what they have to say about the Healthy Teen Network annual national conference.

Premier Opportunities

Sponsorship is win-win for everyone. You get exposure to conference attendees; they get the capacity-building sessions and networking opportunities they need to provide the very best sexual health education and services. Learn more.

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looking ahead to #healthyteen25

Save the Date for October 6-9, 2025
Atlanta, GA

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