Dr. Freda Bush: October 2017
Congratulations Valerie Huber, Chief of Staff and Senior Policy Advisor to the Asst. Secretary of Health and Human Services of the United States
In June, Valerie Huber, co-founder and long-standing President/CEO of Ascend, was appointed by President Donald Trump to join the team at the US Department of Health & Human Services. Nevertheless, we consider this appointment to be an opportunity even greater to promote optimal health for all of America’s youth and young adults. What an honor for one of our own to serve the people of the United States in this capacity! Valerie has served on the MI Advisory Board for a number of years and has made valuable contributions promoting and strengthening the teaching of Sexual Risk Avoidance Education (SRA).
Under Valerie’s able leadership, Ascend has advanced SRA education as a standard for the health and well-being of youth – a standard that Ascend will continue to support and grow so that all youth have the opportunity to thrive. Teens should be well informed so they can make the best decisions for their sexual health. The evidence is clear: even if teens avoid pregnancy, the ability to thrive now and in the future is more complicated when they have sex. MaryAnn Mosack, NAEA’s National Director State Initiatives, is the new Executive Director of Ascend and will continue as Lead Trainer of the SRA Trainings.
The reality of Valerie’s appointment further stresses the importance for each of us to be engaged at the local and national levels so our concerns and ideas are voiced and heard. This appointment makes all of us full of hope and poised for new opportunities to really effect change for optimal wellness and health. Already, the new administration has increased funding for SRA education not merely for pregnancy prevention. Science supports the public health model that sexual health information should always begin with a strong, realistic and practical optimal risk avoidance message. Social science research confirms that waiting for sex, preferably until marriage, is the optimal health message.
Let us pray for wisdom and guidance for all elected and appointed officials in the United States. Please pray for Valerie for wisdom, support, and encouragement in her new role. Know that Valerie will work for all Americans.