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Elizabeth Smart to speak at UTHealth’s 6th annual Adolescent Sexual Health Course

Elizabeth Smart to speak at UTHealth’s 6th annual Adolescent Sexual Health Course

HOUSTON – (March 13, 2014) – Bestselling author Elizabeth Smart will be the keynote speaker at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health’s sixth annual Adolescent Sexual Health Course, a three-day conference organized by the Prevention Research Center.

Smart, who was kidnapped when she was 14 years old, is a motivational speaker and advocate for survivors of rape, kidnapping and human trafficking. She will join Yolanda Turner, a researcher who studies the relationship between religion and sexuality, to discuss the 2014 theme, “From Talk to Action: Helping Teens Build Healthy Relationships.”

Early registration for the conference ends on March 31 and regular admission is then open until May 30. For those interested exclusively in attending Smart’s keynote address on the morning of June 10, tickets are available at a separate price. There will be a book signing following her address that morning for those attending.

“This conference moves past the ‘why’ we should provide effective programming for young people to what we need to do and how we can improve the health of young people,” said Susan Tortolero, Ph.D., director of the Prevention Research Center and associate professor of behavioral science, health promotion and epidemiology at the UTHealth School of Public Health.

The event will be held from June 10 to 12 at the Bayou City Event Center, 9401 Knight Road, in Houston. Speakers and workshop leaders from the UTHealth School of Public Health will include Susan Tortolero, Ph.D., Melissa Peskin, Ph.D., Christine Markham, Ph.D., Ross Shegog, Ph.D., Kim Johnson, Dr.PH. and Paula Cuccaro, Ph.D.

The conference is open to educators, counselors, social workers, health care professionals, parents and anyone who works with youth. Workshop and keynote addresses will cover topics such as human trafficking, sexual health education and the importance of communication. CPE and social workers continuing education credits will be available.

The event is funded by the Office of Adolescent Health, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. To register for the conference, please visit

Elizabeth Smart

Elizabeth Smart was only 14 years old when she was kidnapped. She endured nine months of captivity and sexual abuse. Fortunately, she was found by police and was able to escape her captors. Now a young woman, Ms. Smart is an advocate for survivors of rape, kidnapping and human trafficking. She is a motivational and inspirational speaker who empowers others through her relating her experience and how to support survivors of sexual assault and abuse. Her new book, My Story, is a New York Times bestseller.

Yolanda Turner, Ph.D.

Yolanda Turner received her Ph.D. in human sexuality education from Widener University and her B.A. in religion from Bates College. Dr. Turner’s work focuses on the intersection of faith and technology as well as the use of electronic media and social networking and the implications this has on adolescent sexuality and sexual behavior.

Hannah Rhodes
Media Contact: 713-500-3030