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InTouch Peer Health Advocates

As InTouch PHAs, we aim to create an honest and sex-positive environment to discuss sexual health and healthy relationships that is inclusive to all identities, experiences, and ways of having sex. We educate our peers on sexual health, healthy relationships, and on- and off-campus resources through workshops and events. In doing so, we empower UChicago students to make their own decisions about their sexual health and relationships. We combat stigma against sex and intimacy through open dialogue about personal and interpersonal wellness in order to thrive as a campus community.

Emma Reilly

InTouch Student Coordinator

she/her/hers | Fourth Year | Major(s): Public Policy & Linguistics

"I want to help normalize open and vulnerable conversations about relationships and sex. I think that destigmatizing being informed and communicative about the subject is empowering and can aid in the practice of empathy. I hope to help the University of Chicago community feel comfortable in their own skin and confident in cultivating an experience that suits their needs and wants!"

Rayna Acha

she/her/hers | Second Year | Major: Gender and Sexuality Studies & Critical Race and Ethnic Studies

"In high school I worked as a peer sex educator through Planned Parenthood, that passion has only grown over time. I love being able to tell people that their experiences are normal and talk about stigmatized topics. I want to be a part of a future where discussions about sex include discussions of pleasure, LGBTQ+ relationships, and so much more! Everyone should have access to information that helps them understand their relationships, sexual needs, and bodies."

Myra Bajwa

she/her/hers | Second Year | Major(s): Gender and Sexuality Studies & Political Science

"I am interested in reproductive rights and justice and discussing sexual health in an inclusive environment that takes gender identity, sexual orientation, race, and socioeconomic factors into account. I also believe that conversations about consent should occur more than once and should be an on-going conversation."

Marta Beramendi-Conde

she/they | Fourth Year | Major(s): Biological Chemistry

"I wanted to become an InTouch PHA to help destigmatize general discussion about sex and sexual health on campus, as well as promote the necessary tools to help maintain healthy relationships – be they sexual, romantic, or otherwise. I’ve always been very openly sex positive, and my goal is to spread that positivity campus-wide."

Shayna Cohen

she/her/hers | Fourth Year | Major(s): Neuroscience

"I joined InTouch because I think that education about sexual health and healthy relationships is of prime importance on college campuses. As a Health and Society minor, I love learning about how health intersects with societal needs and issues, and I think that the InTouch program connects health with the college experience in a really meaningful and accessible way!"

Alex Hayward

she/her/hers | Fourth Year | Major(s): Molecular Engineering

“Growing up in an abstinence-only policy school and within Filipino culture that often stigmatizes sex, I relied on my own research to educate myself on how to be sexually healthy when the communities I considered my support systems failed to do so. I joined InTouch because I want to prevent other young people from feeling the same fear, confusion, and shame I felt about my body and sexual health. Now as an InTouch PHA, I educate students on sexual health, healthy relationships, and resources while helping create the first honest and sex positive environment I have experienced.”

Sophie Knifton

she/her/hers | Second Year | Major(s): Psychology & Creative Writing

"I am incredibly passionate about creating a more sex-positive and inclusive community at UChicago. I am particularly interested in educating about and erasing the stigmas against sexually transmitted infections as well as advocating for healthy sexual relationships. I hope one day to conduct research on the intersections of sex and psychology!"

Mari Knudson

she/her/hers | Fourth Year | Major(s): Environmental Studies

"I have always been passionate about sexual health and healthy relationships and am always looking for more ways to act on this passion, which is why I joined InTouch. I love that the group seeks to foster a sense of sex-positivity on campus by making sex education as inclusive and relatable as possible."

Sophia Li

she/her/hers | Fourth Year | Major(s): Gender and Sexuality Studies

"I wanted to join the InTouch group to help de-stigmatize sex and reproductive health topics, especially among communities of color and the LGBTQ+ community. The reason why I'm a Gender Studies major is because I'm interested in women's health and exploring the concept of womanhood in an attempt to move past the traditional gender binary, especially given the increased acceptance of queer and trans communities. I am passionate about medically accurate and inclusive sex education instead of old curriculums that misunderstand or blatantly neglect marginalized communities."

Liana Massey

she/her/hers | Fourth Year | Major(s): Gender and Sexuality Studies & Comparative Human Development

"I joined InTouch because the way that we talk about sex and relationships matters. I have always been really passionate about health, and women's sexual health in particular. I want to do my best to foster a space in which my peers can explore what having safe, good sex means and what a healthy relationship looks like."

Jenna Uhles

she/her/hers | Third Year | Major(s): Biological Sciences

"Many students come from abstinence-only schools or only know a few ways to protect themselves during sex. I became an Intouch PHA to help promote a sex-positve culture on campus and to inform my peers about the many options they have in regards to their sexual health."

The Birth Control Panel

In Winter 2021, InTouch hosted a panel with sexual health professionals from Juno4Me, Howard Brown Health, and UChicago Student Wellness for The Birth Control Panel! Sexual health professionals answered questions about birth control, including debunking common misconceptions, the tea on side effects, exploring different birth control options, costs (including financial assistance, sliding scale pay, and/or transportation each organization offers -- with or without insurance!), confidentiality, how to get a prescription, and more! InTouch PHAs also spoke to their personal experiences with different types of birth control, including what factors played into their decision of which method(s) to use, their experiences switching birth control methods, and their experiences with their family when seeking or obtaining birth control for the first time

InTouch x MoM PHAs: Sexual Health & Healthy Relationships During COVID-19

What does it mean to build a relationship with yourself during COVID-19 through self-care? What do consent and sexual health look like during COVID-19? How do I set boundaries in relationships, or start difficult conversations with my friends about our expectations about socializing during COVID-19? In Winter 2021, InTouch and Mind over Matter hosted a collaborative workshop to explore these questions and more!

SAAP x InTouch PHAs Present: Battle of the Rom-Coms

In Spring 2021, InTouch collaborated with Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention (SAAP) for Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)! In this event, they dissected how relationship health, consent, and intimate partner violence are depicted in some of the most iconic relationships from your favorite rom-com movies and tv shows! From Friends' Ross and Rachel to Grease's Sandy and Danny, they broke down the dynamics of famous movie and tv show relationships while discussing healthy vs. unhealthy communication, how to set boundaries, conflict resolution, healthy breakups, normalizing conversations about sex, rape culture, toxic masculinity, labels, and more!

SAAP x InTouch PHAs Present: Consent 101

InSpring 2021, InTouch collaborated with Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention (SAAP) again for Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)! In this event, they went over consent 101 -- the definition of consent, what consent looks like in romantic/sexual as well as non-romantic/non-sexual scenarios, how to set boundaries in a relationship, the notion of consent beyond yes, and more!

STIs, STI Prevention, & Communicating Your Status

The InTouch PHAs discussed everything having to do with STIs: myths, symptoms, testing, prevention, communicating your status to others, and more! They also explored narratives surrounding STIs and how we may have learned (or not learned) about them growing up, answered FAQ about STIs, and went through demos of how to use external condoms, internal condoms, and dental dams!

UChicagoSocial: UChicago Student Wellness