Press Releases

Media Contact: 

Elizabeth Finley, Director of Strategic Communications, Office: (919) 226-1880, Cell: (919) 749-7309 

SHIFT NC statement on Policy and Research Group, LLC, et al. v. Department of Health and Human Services, et al.

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SHIFT NC has joined Policy and Research Group, Project Vida, and the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teenage Pregnancy in litigation asking the Department of Health and Human Services to reinstate grant funding that is currently serving some of North Carolina’s most vulnerable teens. Policy and Research Group, LLC, et al. v. Department of Health and Human Services, et al. was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by Public Citizen.

In July 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services informed grantees that competitively funded programs would end in 2018 rather than 2020, two years earlier than planned.

“Our state has made great progress reducing teen pregnancy rates. Ending these programs early undermines that progress and punishes young people, their parents and the teachers, doctors, social workers and other adults who serve them,” said CEO Traci L. Baird.

As one of the plaintiffs on the case, SHIFT NC is seeking continued funding for the Every Teen Counts initiative. Every Teen Counts builds the capacity of the foster care system and the state’s juvenile detention centers to provide trauma-informed pregnancy prevention programs.

Youth in foster care and juvenile detention centers have higher teen pregnancy rates than their peers. While communities have had evidence-based tools to affect most youth, until recently, there have been fewer tools available to serve the most vulnerable youth.

Every Teen Counts has helped partners in North Carolina implement the most effective tools to meet the specific needs of youth in foster care and detention centers. These programs couple medically accurate, age-appropriate information with trauma-informed approaches.

North Carolina’s teen pregnancy rate has fallen a remarkable 73% since 1990. But that progress hasn’t reached all youth. By continuing Every Teen Counts, the state can continue to boost the capacity of our foster care and juvenile justice systems to help some of our most vulnerable teens avoid unplanned pregnancy.

To view copies of the filing, visit

Meet - A new resource for parents of younger teens

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Just in time for Let's Talk Month, SHIFT NC is launching Prepared: A Parent's Guide to Teen Relationshipsan online tool to help parents of younger teens navigate changing conversations about relationships, sexual health, and safety.  Designed for parents of 13- to 15-year-olds, Prepared is designed to help guide “The Birds and the Bees: Part 2.”

SHIFT NC worked with more than 100 North Carolina parents to develop Prepared, and built the tool to respond to needs and sticking points identified by real parents. Logo for

Prepared navigates parents through a “choose your own adventure” discussion about relationships and sexual health. Easily accessed on a smart phone or computer, this tool is a pocket guide for sometimes-awkward conversations. 

Prepared offers solutions for all types of parents: it includes conversation starters for those who are nervous to talk to their teen about relationships to those who are ready to talk about everything but just need a little guidance. Prepared also helps parents access information to deliver the message they want, whether it’s about abstinence, birth control, relationships, or something else. 

Why It Matters

Research shows that parents are a really powerful influence on their teens - and that talking about sex is a great way to help teens be and stay healthy. Often times, though, parents worry that teens will interpret talking about sex as permission to have sex - when the opposite is true. 

  • Teens say that parents are their #1 influence when it comes to decisions about sex and relationships - more than friends or the media. 
  • Nine out of 10 teens say it would be easier to delay sex if they could have more open, honest conversations with their parents about these topics. 

Why Younger Teens? A picture of an iphone with a screen cap of's conversation starters page

Prepared is aimed at supporting the “next” round of conversations about sexual health – the ones that come after “where babies come from” but before they’re too far into the teen years. Our background research process showed that these years were critical for setting the tone for healthy, productive conversations before they get too intense later in the teen years. We found that parents WANT to talk about sex and they KNOW it’s important, but they get stuck in a few places:

  • They feel AWKWARD
  • They aren’t sure what’s AGE-APPROPRIATE
  • They are worried their teen won’t LISTEN or that they won’t CONNECT

Prepared tackles these sticking points by providing words of encouragement and age-appropriate talking points. 


Funding for Prepared was provided by Cone Health Foundation, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through grant opportunity DP00614115. SHIFT NC is deeply appreciative of their contributions. 

Thanks to the team at BCDC Ideas for helping develop Prepared! Thanks also to the 100+ parents who gave input and feedback throughout the development process. 

SHIFT NC Announces Traci L. Baird As New Chief Executive Officer

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After an extensive nationwide search, SHIFT NC has selected Traci L. Baird as its next Chief Executive Officer. Traci will join the organization on October 2nd.

Paula Hildebrand, SHIFT NC’s board chair and a member of the hiring committee, expressed the board’s confidence in the hiring decision. “Traci has an incredible depth and breadth of experience that makes her an expert in strategic visioning, organizational development, fund development, public speaking, board development, and team building. We feel very strongly that she will be the perfect leader to guide the next phase of our work.”

Traci has extensive leadership experience in public health, including more than 22 years designing and leading programs on international reproductive and sexual health at Ipas. As Executive Vice President for Programs at Ipas, Traci oversaw more than 400 staff around the globe and grew the program budget to more than $40 million. Traci has volunteered on nonprofit boards in the US and overseas. Her background also includes an undergraduate degree in Human Biology with a focus on women’s health from Stanford and a Master of Public Health in Health Behavior from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Traci expressed her excitement to join SHIFT NC. “I am honored to join SHIFT NC as the CEO and as a partner to its board and staff. Sexual health matters immensely, and I am pleased to bring my experience and energy to an organization working on this critical issue in North Carolina. The staff and board give me great confidence in the organization and our collective ability to do truly amazing things for adolescents and the people and institutions that support them.”

Traci will take the helm at SHIFT NC following a year under the leadership of Interim CEO Janeen Gingrich. Along with the board, both Janeen Gingrich and Jeanine Falcon, SHIFT NC’s HR consultant, will help facilitate Traci’s transition into the organization.  


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SHIFT NC is proud to release its 2016-17 Annual Report, Creating a Blueprint for a Better Future. The 2016-17 fiscal year was a big one for SHIFT NC. Read the full report to learn more about: 

We are excited about the progress reported in the 2016-17 Annual Report and are thankful for our partners, donors, supporters, volunteers, and board and staff members who made an impact. 


TAKE FLIGHT 2016 Raises over $35,000

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Thank YouSHIFT NC is so grateful to our sponsors and guests at Take Flight with SHIFT NC’s fundraiser, auction and benefit that took place on September 17th at the Millennium Hotel in Durham.  

Together we raised over $35,000 to help young people in our state grow up healthy!  Take Flight with SHIFT NC fundraiser, auction and benefit builds capacity of SHIFT NC’s
work to ensure all North Carolina young people have access to quality sexuality education and teen friendly health care and ensures young people have a powerful advocate for their sexual health and well-being.

SHIFT NC creates community mobility through a sexual health lens by building capacity of North Carolina communities to reduce adolescent pregnancy and improve adolescent sexual health.  Investing in young people’s sexual health benefits them, our state, and our communities now and in the future.

If you would like to support our work, make a donation today.

This October SHIFT NC Sponsors ‘Let’s Talk Month’ To Encourage Parent/Child Communication About Sexual Health

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DURHAM, N.C. (October 3, 2016) – Parents can be the first and most important sexual health educators in their children’s lives. However, not all parents are comfortable with or have the resources to discuss sexual health with their children. SHIFT NC (Sexual Health Initiatives For Teens) is sponsoring ‘Let’s Talk Month’ this October as an opportunity for parents and children to learn to better communicate in an open and honest manner about sexual health. 

“At SHIFT NC, we believe parents want to talk to their children about sex, but many parents don’t always know where to start,” said Janeen Gingrich, Interim CEO at SHIFT NC. “Let’s Talk Month is designed to support parents in becoming an "askable’ parent and a powerful influence on their children’s lifelong health.”

Celebrated every October, ‘Let's Talk Month’ is a national public education campaign to help parents and their children navigate a path to a healthy life where young people can make healthy and responsible decisions around sex. ‘Let’s Talk Month’ equips parents with facts, advice and tips so parents can take advantage of the teachable moments that occur every day. Watching a TV show, the birth of a child, or listening to a favorite hit song are all moments parents and their children can use to discuss sexuality and reinforce the family’s values or beliefs.

Not only is ‘Let’s Talk Month’ helpful to parents about speaking with their children about sexual health, but it also encourages youth to feel more comfortable about bringing up the topic with their parents on their own. In order for young people to make healthy choices about sex, they have the right to open and honest, age-appropriate information and to have a trusted adult that they can talk to. Studies show that youth whose parents are open and comfortable about sex were less prone to engage in sexual risk behavior.

SHIFT NC has created brochures, posters and other resource materials for community use. All materials are available for download at SHIFT NC’s website ( In addition, throughout the month of October, SHIFT NC will post quick tips on how to be an “askable” parent and other facts on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Parents and their children are encouraged to join the conversation using the hash tag #LetsTalkMonth.

SHIFT NC Names Janeen Gingrich as Interim CEO

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SHIFT NC announced today that longtime community leader and nonprofit champion, Janeen Gingrich, has been appointed interim CEO, effective September 1, 2016. Prior to her appointment, SHIFT NC Board of Directors Chair Craig Wagner temporarily served in the role of interim CEO.

“Janeen’s extensive experience in the non-profit sector at multiple equity- and access-driven organizations at the local, statewide and international level brings a unique perspective to the SHIFT NC environment. She has had a truly multi-faceted career journey,” said Craig Wagner, Board Chair. “I am excited to work with Janeen as we continue to make significant steps to improve adolescent and young adult sexual health, and to deliver high quality, meaningful support to youth-serving partners.”

Janeen joins SHIFT NC with over 20 years of nonprofit experience in development, program direction, technical assistance, and strategic partnerships. She has spent the past 14 years focused on advancement work for non-profits, with an emphasis on capacity building and organizational development. Her expertise includes annual campaign development, foundation relations, strategic partnership development, and board and staff development.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help provide operational support as staff and board carry on the organization’s strategic initiatives to help all young people grow up healthy,” she said. “We will continue executing SHIFT NC’s strategic plan to improve adolescent health across the state.”

During this interim period, the Board of Directors will assess the permanent leadership needs of the organization to help ensure the selection of a qualified and capable leader who is representative of the community; a good fit for the organization’s mission, vision, values, goals and objectives; and has the necessary skills for the organization.

"We are confident that Janeen will ensure the stability and accountability of the organization until new permanent leadership is identified,” added Wagner.

SHIFT NC hosts Statewide Adolescent Sexual Health Conference May 11-13, 2016

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Small Steps, Giant Leaps: Propelling Adolescent Sexual Health Forward

RALEIGH, N.C. – SHIFT NC (Sexual Health Initiatives For Teens) will host North Carolina’s only conference on adolescent sexual health, Small Steps, Giant Leaps: Propelling Adolescent Sexual Health Forward, on May 11-13, 2016, at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel & Convention Center in Durham, N.C.

Committed to helping communities serve young people in safe, effective, and age-appropriate ways, SHIFT NC hosts this annual conference to empower North Carolina’s professionals to support healthy development by focusing on sexual health topics like teen pregnancy and HIV prevention. Communities often struggle to address sexual health issues, and treat them as hushed or forbidden. However, sexual health is a part of overall health, and communities need tools to support it. Investing in young people’s sexual health benefits them, our state, and our communities now and in the future.

Dr. Karen Rayne will address the critical topic of parent-child communications during the event’s plenary session. Author of the recently released “Breaking the Hush Factor: Ten Rules for Talking to Teenagers about Sex,” Rayne will explore what happens when parents and teens talk about sex and address the importance of the adult’s approach to those conversations. Her book is designed to support all adults as they interact with young people grappling with their emerging understanding of identity and sexuality.

“We are excited to bring together top national experts on teen health with professionals from across North Carolina to share what works and what's next for youth,” said Kay Phillips, chief executive officer at SHIFT NC. “Our goal is to share current research and provide tools to professionals so they can make the small steps and giant leaps their community needs to help young people grow up healthy.”  

Conference attendees will participate in more than 25 sessions that provide up-to-date, real-world information on program implementation, access to sexual health care services, partnership and collaboration, emerging trends and using data, advocacy, and leadership and organizational development. For the first time, a poster session celebrating some of the latest adolescent health research happening in North Carolina will be included.

Other keynote speakers include: K.Solomon Masala and the Drum Cafe, who will bring an interactive session to explore leadership develop, community-building, and motivation; and nationally renowned comedian and advocate Sam Killerman, who will address the importance of advocating for all teen voices and the need to remove shame from conversations about health and wellness.

Abigail English, J.D., Director at the Center for Adolescent Health and the Law, and Jill D. Moore, MPH, J.D., Associate Profession of Public Law and Government at the UNC Chapel Hill School of Government will present a pre-conference session on Legal Issues in Adolescent Health Care. The session will address laws affecting adolescent health care, with an emphasis on consent to health care, confidentiality of health information, and special considerations with adolescent populations.

SHIFT NC will close the conference with an awards ceremony to honor individuals and organizations that have made a significant impact on adolescent health in the past year. 2016 award recipients include:

  • El Pueblo, Inc. of Raleigh, Time Out Youth of Charlotte, and Jen Przewoznik of the statewide organization, North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NC CASA), will receive SHIFT NC Impact Awards. Impact Awards recognize a significant contribution to adolescent sexual health in the past year.
  • N.C. Senator Tommy Tucker will receive the Nick Jeralds Award, which honors the late Representative Luther “Nick” Jeralds and recognizes a sitting legislator’s contribution to teen pregnancy prevention.
  • Donna Breitenstein, director of the North Carolina School Health Training Center at Appalachian State University, will receive this year’s Barbara Huberman Award for Bravery. Named for SHIFT NC’s founder and a mainstay in the field of adolescent health, the award recognizes a brave and steadfast commitment to adolescent sexual health through a body of work or notable act.

MEDIA CONTACT: Krista Park Berry, (919) 810-4511 (mobile) or (919) 226-1880 x 122 (office)