Network Initiative

Youth Health Equity Collaborative

The Youth Health Equity Collaborative (YHEC) brings Nashville-focused stakeholders together to review and respond to local needs identified through the bi-annual Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). Using an equity lens, YHEC will identify priority focus areas to address as a collaborative. Additionally, YHEC will serve to build and sustain relationships and communication between stakeholders across the community. Finally, the YHEC also serves as the School Health Advisory Council for the MNPS 1807 CDC grant.



Shannon Key, MNPS

Melissa Gordon, MNPS

Latissa Hall, Metro Public Health Department


Dawn Bennett, The Table

Simyka Carlton, Metro Nashville Public Schools

Joan Clayton-Davis

Adrienne Doaks, Mental Health Cooperative - MSHS

Luke Finck, Vanderbilt University

Meghan Gwaltney, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention - Area Director

Alex McCandless, Hope Clinic for Women

Maria Heerdt, MNPS - Family Engagement Specialist

Whitney Salyer, Centerstone

Kyle Stockard, Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee

Brook McKelvey, Metro Public Health Department

Bryan Currie, Big Brothers Big Sisters

Thomas Lavallais, TN Safe Schools

Sarah Cermack, MNPS trauma informed

Amy Kraus, MNPS behavioral specialists

Sheldon Walker, MPHD

Sara Tuttle, MNPS SEL Director

Makeda Watson, MNPS Community Achieves

Kathy Gracey, Vanderbilt

Paige Trollinger, MNPS Coordinated School Health

Nicole Boyle, MNPS Coordinated School Health

Shatina Marshall, MNPS - Dept. of Justice Grant Manager

Catherine Sakarapanee, MNPS

Vanessa Lazon, MNPS - EL Department

Kathy Gracey, Vanderbilt

Monica Coverson, Metro Nashville Public Schools

Mary Crnobori, Metro Nashville Public Schools

Kay Higgs, STARS Nashville

Joseph Wilson, STARS Nashville

Tracy Glascoe, Vanderbilt University

Charity Ingersoll, Vanderbilt Institute for Medicine and Public Health

Michael Kirshner, Mental Health Cooperative

Debra McAdams, Metro Nashville Public Schools

LaSeanda Sanders, Metro Nashville Public Schools

Marion Smyser, Centerstone

Derrick Williams, Metro Nashville Public Schools

Exploring Data for Youth Health Equity

In the December 2023 Youth Health Equity Collaborative (YHEC) meeting, co-chair Melissa Gordon from MNPS took us through a workshop to explore how to look at data using an "equity lens" to understand why some things are different for different young people. This helps us find the real reasons behind the differences and come up with good solutions for all children and youth. As Gordon reminded the group, “Some students make good choices, while some students have good choices.” The goal of the YHEC is to ensure that ALL students have good choices. 

In early 2024, the YHEC will be looking at some new information called the 2023 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) data. We want to find out if there are patterns, differences, and reasons we might not see right away. By using the equity lens, we hope to create plans that help all youth in our community.

The idea is to use the equity lens to make sure we include everyone and respond to what all kids need. We want to use what we learn to make things better for every young person in our community. We're eager to see the new information in the 2023 YRBS data, and we think what we learn will help us find new and better ways to help all kids be healthy and successful.

Using the iceberg model to identify root causes

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