Press Releases

Media Contact: 

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

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

0 Comment(s) | Posted |

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.  


0 Comment(s) | Posted |

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

0 Comment(s) | Posted |

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

0 Comment(s) | Posted |

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

0 Comment(s) | Posted |

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

0 Comment(s) | Posted |

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)


North Carolina Teen Pregnancies Hit Record Low for 7th Consecutive Year

0 Comment(s) | Posted |

State achieves 2020 teen pregnancy goal 6 years early

DURHAM, N.C. (January 26, 2016) – North Carolina’s teen pregnancy rate fell 8% in 2014, hitting a record low for a 7th consecutive year, according to new data provided by the North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics and released by SHIFT NC (Sexual Health Initiatives For Teens). Statewide, 10,328 girls ages 15-19 experienced a pregnancy in 2014.

The 2014 teen pregnancy rate was 32.3 per 1,000 15-19-year-old girls. In other words, the newly released data shows that only 3.2% of 15-19-year-old girls in North Carolina experienced a pregnancy in 2014.

Other highlights from the newly released data include:

  • Reduced pregnancies among girls of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, helping to minimize some historical disparities. Pregnancies to white, black, and Hispanic teens dropped 7%, 11% and 9%, respectively.  
  • 75% of counties saw teen pregnancy decrease in 2014.
  • North Carolina’s teen pregnancy rate is 69% lower than when it peaked in 1990 at a rate of 105.4 per 1,000 girls ages 15-19. 

Nationwide, researchers have attributed teen pregnancy declines to increased use of birth control, the availability of highly effective long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) like IUDs and the Implant, and a slight increase in the average age when teens first engage in sexual intercourse.  North Carolina communities have focused on facilitating these trends.

State Exceeds Teen Pregnancy Goal

The newly released teen pregnancy rates show that North Carolina has exceeded a goal it set to reduce teen pregnancy 30% between 2010 and 2020. Between 2010 and 2014, the state reduced teen pregnancy rates by 35%. The goal was created by a statewide team of experts and advocates, and endorsed by more than 65 groups.

“North Carolina has made a lot of smart decisions about how to help young people grow up healthy,” said SHIFT NC CEO Kay Phillips. “This remarkable achievement is the result of a lot of combined effort – whether it’s improving health education with the 2009 Healthy Youth Act or one of the many local initiatives designed to connect young people to information, healthcare, and support.”

Local Initiatives Build on New Lessons Learned

Local communities have increasingly focused on using evidence-based approaches to address teen pregnancy, and have built on each other’s lessons learned. The Gaston Youth Connected initiative, which launched in 2010 and ended in 2015, used a multi-pronged approach to reduce teen pregnancies by nearly 40% and closed the historical gap between white and African American teen pregnancy rates. The initiative, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) and managed by SHIFT NC, focused on implementing evidence-based health education programs, improving the teen-friendliness of health services, helping teens access health care, and mobilizing community support for teen pregnancy prevention.

At least four newly launched initiatives are building on lessons learned from the Gaston Youth Connected initiative. The NC Youth Connected will replicate Gaston Youth Connected in Cumberland and Onslow Counties. Fully funded by the federal Office of Adolescent Health, NC Youth Connected builds on an early investment by the Duke Endowment to mobilize Onslow County leaders to act on teen pregnancy.  In Greensboro, the Cone Health Foundation is working to improve healthcare services and access for teens, focusing specifically on increasing the use of LARCs. Every Teen Counts, a new SHIFT NC initiative, will build the capacity of foster care agencies and juvenile detention centers to provide trauma-informed pregnancy prevention services in northeastern North Carolina.

“There is no single solution to helping a young person avoid an unplanned pregnancy,” said Phillips. “Helping communities use proven strategies in education and healthcare – all while engaging community leaders, parents, and teens themselves – that is how we can continue to see our teen pregnancy rates decline.”

Additional Resources:

Snapshot of North Carolina Data

Data for Each North Carolina County

Historical Data

NC State Center for Health Statistics


SHIFT NC Awarded 5-Year Federal Grant to Improve Health Services for Durham Teens

2 Comment(s) | Posted |

Funding will help local providers become teen-friendly and boost pregnancy prevention services

SHIFT NC (Sexual Health Initiatives For Teens) has been awarded a 5-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help Durham, N.C., health centers improve services for teens. The funding will help launch a new initiative called All Together Now: Making Health and Referral Systems Work for Young People.

Through the newly funded initiative, SHIFT NC will provide Durham’s publicly funded health centers with training, technical assistance, and coaching to help improve the accessibility, quality, and youth friendliness of sexual and reproductive health services. The initiative will also help health providers implement recommendations by leading medical organizations to help teens access the most effective contraceptive methods, IUDs and Implants. In addition, the initiative will help local organizations and agencies develop strong linking and referral networks to help youth find the health services they need.

Studies show that young people face very specific barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health care. These barriers – which can include privacy fears, trouble navigating complex health systems, or misinformation about contraceptive methods – often lead youth to forgo important care such as pregnancy prevention services or testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).   

The initiative builds on key lessons from the Contraceptive CHOICE Project from Washington University in St. Louis and Colorado’s highly successful teen pregnancy program, which reduced teen pregnancies 40% in 5 years.

SHIFT NC was one of only three organizations awarded this highly competitive funding. The application was crafted by a broad coalition of partners, including the Durham County Department of Public Health, Lincoln Community Health Center, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, the Duke University Division of Community Medicine, and more than a dozen agencies and nonprofit organizations.


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Finley, Director of Strategic Communications, (919) 749-7309 (mobile) or (919) 226-1880 (office)

Quick Facts: Adolescent Sexual Health in Durham

Like state and national rates, Durham’s teen pregnancy rate has fallen in recent years. However, Durham youth still struggle with sexual health outcomes:

  • Durham’s teen pregnancy rate is higher than the state’s teen pregnancy rate, and illustrates strong racial/ethnic disparities:


Teen pregnancy rate

(per 1,000 15-19 year old girls)

Number of teen pregnancies

North Carolina



Durham County













  • Durham’s Chlamydia and Gonorrhea rates are 60% and 80% higher than state rates, respectively.
  • Durham has the 4th highest HIV burden of North Carolina’s 100 counties.