For Immediate Release: Contact: Adam Muhlendorf, Longleaf Strategies
May 14, 2019 firstname.lastname@example.org; (334) 625-0175
Statewide Sexual Health Organization Changes Name, Appoints New Executive Director
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Twenty years after its founding, the Alabama Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy is changing its name to more accurately reflect its current mission promoting a more comprehensive sexual education program for all Alabama young people. Now known as the Alabama Campaign for Adolescent Sexual Health (Alabama Campaign), the organization’s Board of Directors also named a new executive director to guide the organization’s shifting focus.
The Alabama Campaign was organized in 1999 to address the rising number of unintended teen pregnancies across the state. At that time, Alabama’s birth rate for teenagers aged 15-19 years old was one of the highest in the country, 62.8 births per 1,000 women in this age group. In response, the Alabama Campaign pursued changes to state policy and facilitated thousands of regional workshops and curricula trainings across the state around sexual health. Recently, the Alabama Campaign has expanded its policy and advocacy work to more broadly address adolescent sexual health after surveying parents, child policy leaders and students about their desire for schools to provide more sex education and health classes. The organization’s new name was approved to reflect this expanded focus.
“Our mission is to champion healthy adolescent development through evidence-informed sexual health education and services,” said Dr. Tina Simpson, adolescent medicine specialist and the chair of the Alabama Campaign for Adolescent Sexual Health’s Board of Directors. “Fortunately, due to a combination of teenagers having less sex and improved utilization of birth control methods, teen births have declined across America, but adolescent sexual health remains a priority as adolescents continue to be disproportionately affected by sexually transmitted infections. There has also been increasing emphasis placed on the importance of developing healthy and safe relationships. We believe our new name more accurately describes our work.”
To help the Alabama Campaign usher in its expanded focus, the organization’s Board appointed Christina Clark Okarmus as its fifth executive director. She replaces Jamie Keith who retired earlier this year. Clark Okarmus was with the Alabama Campaign for seven years before her appointment. She previously served as the organization’s policy and outreach manager where she was responsible for advocating for policy changes and facilitating the organization’s workshops and trainings for youth-serving professionals across the state. Additionally, Clark Okarmus previously worked with the Gift of Life Foundation as its interim director of their sexual health education programs, and as an outreach coordinator with VOICES for Alabama’s Children. She is a member of the Alabama Department of Public Health’s Family Planning Advisory Committee and a past president of the Alabama Birth Coalition’s Board of Directors.
“After completing a national search for a new executive director, we are pleased to announce the appointment of Christina Clark Okarmus,” said Dr. Simpson. “Christina has proven herself as a tireless advocate for youth in Alabama and an invaluable member of our team. The Board is excited to work with her in the next phase of our organization.”
The Alabama Campaign announced its new direction as part of its National “Sex Ed for All” activities. The national observance is also evolving this year. It previously was recognized as Teen Pregnancy Prevention month. Clark Okarmus says this change pairs nicely with the changes to the Alabama Campaign’s name and mission.
“Sex education is about more than disease prevention. It is also about creating healthy relationships, knowing your body, consent, and communication among partners,” said Christina Clark Okarmus, the newly appointed executive director for the of the Alabama Campaign for Adolescent Sexual Health. “We envision sexually healthy people and communities throughout Alabama, and the way to reach that vision is by building knowledge, skills, and access through medically-accurate, age-appropriate, inclusive sexual health education that is free of bias and shame.”
The Alabama Campaign for Adolescent Sexual Health champions healthy adolescent development through evidence-informed sexual health education and services. Learn more at alabamacampaign.org.