Building Healthy Boys and Healthy Men Collaborative | City of Ideas

Posted 01/09/2013 by Collaborate Boston Application

Issue to be Addressed:
A study released by the Boston Medical Center in 2011 found that 55% of adolescents surveyed had been the victim of some form of dating violence and 59% reported perpetrating some type of violence toward their partner. Among those impacted were young African American and Latino males. Currently young men in Boston (ages 9-15) face a myriad of day-to-day challenges, including negotiating and engaging in healthy, productive relationships. Various and mixed messages about how they should behave in relationships is perpetuated by the media. These messages are exacerbated by peer pressure, racial stigma, and homophobia. Additionally,  many of these young males express frustration with the absence of positive male role models in their home. These challenges place brown and black boys at the nexus of relationship trauma and abuse. During an “Engaging Men and Boys” focus group conducted with 11-14 year olds, many of the young men mentioned the struggle to find role models, specifically those who remained in their lives for an extended length of time. As such, the proposed collaboration seeks to address the issue of relationship violence by promoting positive role modeling and healthy relationships among young brown and black boys.

Project Proposed:
The Building Healthy Boys and Healthy Men Collaborative seeks to promote self-efficacy, build leadership skills that rebuff negative stereotypes among black and brown boys. Boston Public Health Center (BPHC) will partner with Health Resources in Action (HRiA) and Emerson College’s eLEEP program to enhance leadership skill building, emulate role modeling, and deepen the civic engagement of 9-14 year old back and brown boys and young men. BPHC and two Boston Community Centers' staff will receive extensive training from HRiA in the Supporting Boys and Young Men curriculum to better support high school peer leaders and middle school boys. The peer leaders will then lead middle school boys at two Community Centers through positive self esteem building activities, focusing on healthy relationships and the development of positive messages about being a black or brown boy. The Emerson eLEEP program will work with the peer leaders and the middle school boys to articulate their healthy relationship narratives into a variety of media-oriented communication platforms. The positive messages in the boys’ voices will reach their communities through digital messaging and social media. Thus the collaborative will focus on positive role modeling, healthy relationships, and skill building for the boys, peer leaders and community.

Role of Collaboration:
HRiA will be the lead partner of this collaboration. As expert training providers in the youth development approach, peer leadership and public health topics like violence prevention, HRiA has provided training for BPHC’s Peer Leadership Institute for the past four years. HRiA will train youth workers from two elected Community Center sites and other BPHC youth workers in Supporting Boys and Young Men, a youth development based curriculum. HRiA will also train BPHC/Start Strong peer leaders in the development of young male identity. Finally, we will administer the fiscal resources and maintain communication with grantee partners. 

BPHC will coordinate the 2013 Peer Leadership Institute training peer leaders in teen dating violence prevention, healthy relationship promotion, and media literacy (HRiA and Emerson are training partners). BPHC staff will work with the 10-15 year old male high school aged peer leaders to conduct two ongoing boys’ groups with 30-40 middle school students from two Boston Community Centers during the 2013-2012 school year.  BPHC will also facilitate the creation of a communication strategy to disseminate the peer leaders’ and middle school participants’ designed products. Products might  include PSAs, community events, digital stories and/or digital manuals. 

Emerson College’s Literacy Education and Empowerment Project (eLEEP) will be an instrumental collaborator by providing media and health literacy training as it relates to civic engagement and empowering black and brown boys’ voices. eLEEP will recruit college undergraduate mentors with expertise in media, communication and culture to mentor and work with the youth as they develop digital media relevant to their life experiences and healthy relationships. Emerson College will also provide classroom space, computer technology, video equipment and training to help facilitate professional products that are youth-specific with messages that promote healthy relationships.

The three partners have a strong ongoing partnership. During the 2012 BPHC Summer Peer Leadership Training Institute, the partners trained 11 male peer leaders in peer leadership skills and healthy relationships topics, while the peer leaders created a series of Public Service Announcements with Emerson’s support. During the school year, the peer leaders conduct weekly workshops at three community centers leading co-ed and gender specific programs about healthy relationships, gender norms and media influences for middle school students in the Mattapan and Roxbury neighborhoods.  In the next collaborative year, we  plan to teach the middle school aged young men how to create media messaging about relationships to positively impact their communities. The funding will allow us to increase the number of young men and boys served and to expand the media through which they broadcast their message. We plan to engage at least 12 peer leaders and 30 middle school aged boys in workshops during the school year, and reach over 200 more boys with the media messaging produced as part of the program. In addition, we expect to reach 80% of the staff of the BPHC and Community Center programs with HRiA’s Supporting Boys and Young Men Curriculum.

Other information:
This collaboration has a strong foundation in training male peer leaders and working with 9-14 year olds.  Since the inception of the program, young men have been trained as experts in healthy relationships and media messaging around gender. Young men have been featured on Fox 25 Morning News talking about healthy and unhealthy relationship messaging in songs (
 Over 2000 teens and pre-teens in the City of Boston have been trained through workshops and major events. We are poised to use these relationships and resources to continue to build our boys programming. Through this collaboration in 2013-2014, our expected outcomes include:
Middle and High School Student Outcomes:
- Increased skills to engage in healthy relationships
-Increased critical thinking and media literacy skills to decipher healthy versus unhealthy   messaging around masculinity
- Increased ability to use social media to create a positive messaging that will impact their communities
- Increased leadership skills
- Increased comfort on a college campus with  positive  role models
Adult CBO Staff Outcomes:
- Increased skills  to support young men and boys developmentally as they define their identity
- Increased skills in how to respond to young men’s and boy’s experiences
- Increased trauma sensitivity skills

Primary Contact:
Laurie Jo Wallace
At Health Resources in Action, Ms. Wallace has spent the last 25 years promoting healthy communities and healthy youth in Boston. In her role as the Director of Training and Capacity Building, she has special expertise in the areas of youth development, as a provider of training and support to numerous programs, coalitions, and youth serving agencies in the Boston region, Massachusetts and nationally. Internationally she has trained youth and adults in Canada and Singapore. She has expertise in peer leadership, program development, curriculum development, coalition building, youth/adult collaboration, conflict resolution, and alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention.

Partner 1:
Health Resources in Action (HRiA) is a nonprofit public health organization dedicated to promoting individual and community health through prevention, health promotion, policy and support of medical research. HRiA has special expertise in training and capacity building in youth development.

Moacir (Mo) Barbosa
Mo Barbosa is the Assistant Director for Training and Capacity Building at Health Resources in Action and the coordinator of the BEST Initiative, a youth worker professional development and certification program.  Mo delivers training, provides technical assistance, and participates in field building initiatives. He promotes the professionalization of the field through his work on legislation, youth worker networks, and partnerships with higher education.  As a trainer, Mo builds the skills of participants while keeping connections to theory.  A long time facilitator of community processes, he works with gangs, parents, youth, political organizations, tenant councils and community resident groups.

Daisy P. Ortega
Daisy Ortega is a Senior Training Associate for the BEST Initiative, a project of Health Resources in Action.  As a senior trainer, she develops and presents various workshops/facilitates discussion on topics such as: positive youth development approach, community organizing, public speaking, conflict resolution/violence prevention, supervising youth, program/project planning, team building, etc., throughout greater Massachusetts, New England and other parts of the US.  Daisy also provides technical assistance to individuals, organizations and funders to integrate the youth development approach model into their practices and programs.

Partner 2:
The Boston Public Health Commission, the country’s oldest health department, is an independent public agency providing a wide range of health services and programs. It is governed by a seven-member board of health appointed by Mayor Thomas M. Menino.  Public service and access to quality health care are the cornerstones of our mission - to protect, preserve, and promote the health and well-being of all Boston residents, particularly those who are most vulnerable. The Start Strong: Building Healthy Teen Relationships Initiative sits within the Division of Violence Prevention within the Child Adolescent and Family Health Bureau at BPHC.

Nicole Daley
Nicole Daley is the Program Director of the Start Strong: Building Healthy Teen Relationships Initiative at the Boston Public Health Commission.  She received her MPH from Boston University School of Public Health.  She has been working in the field of teen dating violence prevention for over 5 years.  In her former role as Start Strong Program Manager, she coordinated the day to day logistics and developed the peer leadership training program.  She has conducted local and national workshops on healthy relationships, healthy break ups, conflict resolution and media literacy.  She taught middle school and high school for three years in Japan prior to beginning her career in dating violence prevention.

Darrus Sands
Darrus Sands is the Teen Dating Violence Project  Coordinator for the Boston chapter of the ‘Start Strong Initiative’, which is the largest funded nationwide Teen Dating Violence Prevention program in existence. He has been working for the Boston Public Health Commission’s Division of Violence Prevention for 9 years.  His passions and talents lie in teaching and mentoring young people in the areas of Healthy Relationships, Conflict Resolution and Media Literacy.  Darrus has presented and facilitated healthy Relationship Promotion workshops for both youth and adults across the city, state and country.

Partner 3:
At Emerson College, faculty and students each year engage many Boston Public School students in activities that reflect our strengths and our passions, particularly in theater, writing and media. Founded in 1880 and located in downtown Boston, Emerson College is an independent, nondenominational college focused on communication and the arts in a liberal arts context. We enroll 3,453 undergraduate and 837 graduate students from 45 states and 40 countries. Emerson is internationally recognized in its fields of specialization: communication studies; marketing communication; journalism; communication sciences and disorders; visual and media arts; the performing arts; and writing, literature and publishing. Emerson is deeply involved in the community around us

Paul Mihailidis
Paul Mihailidis is an Assistant professor in the Department of Marketing Communication at Emerson College in Boston, MA. Mihailidis is also the Director of the Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change (, an annual program born in summer 2007, gathers over 60 students from five continents for three weeks to create a “Global Media Literacy” curriculum and web modules built around media’s role in global citizenship, and partake in comparative research in global media issues.

Mihailidis’s research concerns the effectiveness of media education in teaching about media’s roles and responsibilities in civil society. He has published widely on media literacy, global media and civil society, and on post-secondary learning outcomes in media programs. His articles the most recent of which have been published in The International Journal of Media & Learning (MIT Press), Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Culture, The Journal of Media Literacy Education, and Studies in Media and Information Literacy Education (University of Toronto Press), Journalism and Mass Communication Educator, American Journalism Review, Comparative Education Review, and E-Learning, address various dispositions of the media education movement both in the United States and abroad. Mihailidis is the editor of News Literacy: Global Perspectives for the Newsroom and Classroom (Peter Lang, 2012), co-author of the forthcoming Media Literacy Learning Commons (ABC-CLIO, 2013), and co-editor of Media Literacy in Action (Routledge, 2013). His newest work, currently in review, is titled Media Literacy and the Emerging Citizen, Model predicated on new participatory civic voices.

Most recently, Mihailidis has created a new media literacy initiative with the Independent Film Channel called Make Media Matter. Make Media Matter is an interactive forum for fostering a deeper understanding of the vital role media plays in individuals, society and the world. Mihailidis’ “5 A’s of Media Literacy” provides a strong starting point, a basic vocabulary that will facilitate discussions on this site by consumers and creators of media across the spectrum. At Emerson, Mihailidis teaches Interactive Communication, Understanding Consumers, Social Media, and Media Literacy. Prior to teaching at Emerson, Mihailidis taught at Hofstra University, The University of Maryland, Stockholm University, and Towson University.

Angela Cooke-Jackson
Angela Cooke-Jackson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Emerson College. Dr. Cooke-Jackson is a health communication specialist who was recently awarded a Reebok Foundation grant to work with high-risk youth in Boston. The aim of the project is to create a digital health manual through a collaboration between Emerson students with strength in social media and a group of high-risk youth from three African American and Latino communities in Boston. Dr. Cooke-Jackson has published research in the Journal of Intercultural Communication Research and The Journal of Mass Media Ethics on health messages among African American mother-daughter dyads and also about the role of entertainment media in Appalachian stereotypes. She has served as a reviewer for a range of books and journals like Journal of Media Literacy Education. Her newest publications are:  Harnessing Collective Social Media Engagement in a Health Communication Course and Relational Pleasure; Fear-Associated Aspects of Condom Use for Disease Prevention: A Qualitative Study of High Risk African American Men. While at the University of Kentucky Dr. Cooke-Jackson served as a research investigator on several federal grants: 1) National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), 2) HIV and Alcohol Prevention grant, 3) National Institute of Aging (NIA) on Experimental Dimensions of Health Care Utilization, 4) American Diabetes Association (ADA):CHD self-treatment decision making among older adults and the, 5) Kentucky Lung Cancer Research Program examining tobacco use among African American women. She is presently collaborating with a Historical Black University and a Metropolitan Northeastern University on understanding memorable messages, HPV and sexual behaviors among college-aged students.

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  • # Ageeth's gravatar Ageeth said:
    6/16/2017 4:16 PM

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  • # Rahel's gravatar Rahel said:
    6/16/2017 4:16 PM

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