Group photo of shift nc staff from the 2019 annual conference on adolescent sexual health


Ashley Stewart, MS, CHES, Director of Clinic Improvement Services 

Ashley oversees SHIFT NC's clinic linking and improvement services. Prior to joining SHIFT NC, Ashley came from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health where she engaged in quality improvement work related to asthma prevention and control, led a learning collaborative of clinical and community organizations, and worked with a program evaluator to inform quality improvement strategies. She also developed a racial justice framework for the Massachusetts Asthma Home Visiting Toolkit. Ashley previously worked with the Christiana Care Health System in Delaware to improve and standardize the quality of breastfeeding education. Ashley has strong roots in health education as well, including implementing Making Proud Choices in school and community settings. She holds a Master’s degree in Health Care Administration from Wilmington University and a Bachelor’s degree in Community Health from Georgia Southern University.

Bianka Reese, PhD, MSPH, Research and Evaluation Manager

Bianka leads evaluation for the Every Teen Counts and North Carolina Youth Connected initiatives. She has previous experience in program evaluation of large-scale teen pregnancy prevention programs, qualitative data collection and analysis, and empirical analyses of complex, multilevel datasets. Bianka holds a Ph.D. in Maternal and Child Health and a Master’s of Science in Public Health in Maternal and Child Health, both from UNC-Chapel Hill. Her dissertation research explored the implications of positive youth development for holistic aspects of sexual health and romantic relationships in young adulthood, using a nationally representative sample of U.S. adolescents. 

Danielle Sherman, MPH, RCHES, Alamance Youth Connected Project Manager

Danielle provides high-level administrative, strategic, and managerial support to SHIFT NC’s CEO, leadership team, and board as well as supporting SHIFT NC Fee-For-Service (FFS) & Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (TPPI). Danielle has 15 years of experience in project management which includes providing overall direction and coordination, coaching, training, resource development and communications, virtual and in-person meeting and events planning, and evaluation for clients. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Spelman College. She also earned a Master of Public Health in Health Education/Health Promotion from Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, where she received the Honor Graduate and Academic Achievement Awards.

Harley Burns, MPH (they/them) Youth Engagement Manager

Harley (they/them) is the Youth Engagement Manager and former Evaluation Specialist for the ATN, HTA, and HPA initiatives. As the leader of the Youth Advisory Council (YAC), they facilitate sexual health workshops and support the group's annual project, bringing over a decade of working with youth to the council. They have experience in LGBTQ+ programming, abortion research, maternal health case management, and global health, serving in the Peace Corps in Guatemala. Harley has also published original research in the Maternal and Child Health Journal. They hold a Master of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology, Spanish, and Women's Studies from James Madison University.

Jason Arrol, Health Communications Manager

Jason Arrol focuses on health communications, including The Playbook and Prepared Parent. Jason has created communications campaigns in non-profits and higher education for over 15 years. Most recently, Jason served as the Digital Media Manager at the National Center for Transgender Equality in Washington, DC, lifting up transgender stories and devising campaigns to change policy at all levels of U.S. government. At the University of Maryland, Jason worked with the Health Promotion team to advocate for positive health outcomes in the UMD community. And at Levine School, Jason documented and promoted music education, supporting efforts to provide free or low-cost music education to underserved populations in the Washington DC area. Jason holds a BS in Biology from Duke University and a MA in Marketing from the University of Maryland Global Campus.

Karin Ganter Luker, ME, PMP, Senior Program Manager

Karin is  Senior Program Manager for a portfolio of SHIFt NC's clinic improvement projects. The programs aim to increase young people’s access to high quality youth-friendly contraceptive and reproductive health services to reduce teen pregnancy in Durham, Greensboro and High Point. Ms. Luker has extensive global public health experience managing an implementing programs to enhance access to S&RH care in low to middle-income settings. Ms. Luker has worked with public and private organizations in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas to enhance S&RH care services. Ms. Luker has experience managing S&RH research, service delivery, system strengthening and access projects. Ms. Luker has coordinated implementation of regional and country-level health care projects; conducted quantitative and qualitative analysis supporting health care policy implementation; developed systems to monitor performance of a global health research program portfolio of over 30 research studies, managed multi-million-dollar global awards to increase access to family planning and develop innovative contraceptive technologies. She holds a Master’s in Economics, Bachelor’s in Business, and is PMP certified. She is fluent in English and Spanish, her native language.

Kia Thacker, MPH, Chief Program Officer

Kia Thacker, MPH, has a passion for public health, social justice and health equity. She holds a BA in Sociology from UNC Chapel Hill and a Master of Public Health Degree from UNC Greensboro. Kia serves as the Director of Programs where she works to improve sexual health outcomes for youth, particularly vulnerable youth in North Carolina. She currently oversees the Alamance Youth Connected Initiative aimed at utilizing systems-thinking and systems-change approaches to scale-up programs and connect young people to health care services in the community. She also manages the Every Teen Counts Initiative that focuses on strengthening the capacities of the Juvenile Justice and Foster Care Systems in North Carolina to better integrate evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs within these systems.

Lisa Garland, MPH, Senior Program Specialist

Lisa is a Senior Program Specialist with our Alamance Youth Connected Initiative. In her role, Lisa provides training and technical assistance to community partners implementing evidence-based programs as well as leads parent engagement strategies in the community. She previously worked at the NC Department of Health and Human Services with the occupational and environmental epidemiology branch. Prior to that Lisa worked at Planned Parenthood South Atlantic (PPSAT) as the community health educator for the triangle. At PPSAT she managed several programs for youth and worked as program lead for the Affordable Care Act Project. Lisa has also worked in the Bronx, NY as a community health organizer and completed one year of service in the AmeriCorps program. During her time in NY she counseled students, conducted sexual health workshops, and organized various health trainings. Lisa has a Bachelor's in Sociology from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Master's in Public Health from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Lyd Ahlum Hanson, MSW, MPH, Director of Programs

Lyd (they/them) oversees SHIFT NC’s signature initiatives: Alamance Youth Connected and Every Teen Counts. Originally from the Blue Ridge region of Maryland, Lyd brings over twelve years of experience working in the Midwest and South as an administrator, strategic thinker, network builder, and youth worker. They have worked in nonprofit and academic-research settings and are passionate about advancing sexual and reproductive justice through strong academic-community partnerships, transparent organizational structures, and stigma-reducing interventions. Lyd completed their graduate studies at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor where they focused on sexuality and gender-related health disparities, youth-centered leadership, and community organizing.

Melinda DeJongh, Director of Resources and Special Projects

Melinda is SHIFT NC’s lead grant writer, and coordinates the Annual Conference and the Resource Library. She has been with SHIFT NC since 1999, which means she remembers when the fax machine was the most-used piece of technology in the office. Melinda holds a Bachelor’s in English from Guilford College, with a concentration in Women's Studies.

Sophia Durant, Quality Improvement Specialist 

Sophia serves as a Quality Improvement Specialist for the Alamance Youth Connected Initiative. Within her role, Sophia provides technical assistance and training on best practices for high quality adolescent care to health care providers within Alamance County. Sophia previously worked for Planned Parenthood, managing clinical workflow and providing technical assistance and training to frontline staff. Sophia also has experience in research, working on projects centered on human trafficking and co-located services for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. Sophia is passionate about equitable reproductive health care access and reducing barriers to sexual health services; she holds a MSW and a MPH from UNC Chapel Hill.

J. Tommy White, MPH, LGBTQ Capacity Manager

Tommy leads the development and delivery of trainings to create safer and more supportive schools, health centers, and other youth-serving environments for LGBTQ+ youth. They also develop strategic partnerships at the state and local levels to maximize resources for supporting LGBTQ+ youth, and they collaborate across SHIFT NC initiatives to ensure the integration of LGBTQ identities and experiences. Tommy’s decade of experience as an educator ranges from sexual health counseling; to interactive theater workshops; to youth aquatics instruction; to a successful, national public education campaign to influence federal policies affecting LGBTQ couples. In their recent role with the statewide Building Integrated Communities (BIC) initiative at UNC-Chapel Hill, Tommy facilitated partnerships with local NC government officials, schools, faith groups, and immigrant and refugee leaders to launch the Hispanic Advisory Council of Sanford/Lee County, the Winston-Salem Newcomers’ Pipeline, and other local strategies for building relationships and supporting marginalized residents’ engagement with local government. Tommy’s peer-reviewed research publications examine social support and mental health services utilization among LGBTQ youth and sexual minority women. They hold a Master’s in Public Health from Boston University with a focus on public health advocacy, communications, and program design and evaluation.