Press release


February 27, 2019

(Washington, D.C.) — Power to Decide recently selected its third cohort of Innovation Next, a program made possible with support from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Adolescent Health. Innovation Next is a unique accelerator program aimed at redefining adolescent sexual health for the 21st century.

“We are excited to begin work with our new Innovation Next teams. They have committed considerable time and effort to developing innovative ideas that will help to ensure that all young people have access to reliable, relevant and resonant sexual health information,” said Ginny Ehrlich, CEO, Power to Decide.

Power to Decide’s Innovation Next program focuses on technology-enabled ideas to ensure that young people have the information and access to services necessary to decide if, when and under what circumstances to get pregnant. The teams chosen to participate in the program will each receive $70,000 to develop innovative, technology-based sexual health solutions for teens. The teams will also participate in workshops led by Power to Decide, with support from the global design firm IDEO, to learn about design thinking. The selected teams will apply the design thinking approach in developing their projects.

“We recognize that the vast majority of teens are not seeking to start a family at this point in their lives, and we’re committed to meeting young people where they are and providing them with the information and support they need to avoid unplanned pregnancy,” said Ehrlich.

Since peaking in 1991, the teen birth rate has declined 70 percent. However, progress isn’t victory, and unplanned pregnancy rates for Latina and African American teens are roughly twice as high as compared to their white counterparts. These disproportionately high rates are a result of systems inequities that impact marginalized teens’ access to quality sexual health information and health care services.

The Innovation teams will use design thinking to develop digital solutions to these challenges and develop a final pitch for their innovation at the end of the process.

The following teams have been selected to be part of the 2019 Innovation Next cohort:

  • Healthy You, Healthy Future, Grace Paulsen (International Rescue Committee Atlanta), Rihana Nesrudin (Oakhurst Medical Centers, Inc.) and Heli Tuomi Carlile (PWLabs, Inc.)
  • Luna’s Last Week, Anna Gabriella Casalme (Novelly), Kasiemobi Udo-okoye (The Try Guys) and Vaishnavi Siripurapu (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
  • NObility, Sheryl-Amber Edmondson (Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies), Jason Foster (Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies) and Nikki Mayeux (Academy of Career and Community Education)
  • Power Up, Genevieve Martinez-Garcia (Healthy Teen Network), Mila Garrido (Healthy Teen Network) and Nick Sufrinko (Healthy Teen Network)
  • Sexpert, Aileen Gariepy (Yale University), Sharae Gibbs (She Design’s Creative Agency) and Marianne Pantalon (Marianne S. Pantalon, PhD, LLC)

To learn about the challenge each team is addressing, please visit our Innovation Next website.

Power to Decide is a private, non-partisan, non-profit organization that works to ensure all people—no matter who they are, where they live or what their economic status might be—have the power to decide if, when and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child. Please visit us at www.PowerToDecide.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.