Michele Perlman PROGRAM MANAGER, TEENS P.A.C.T., Community Healthcare Network. With her public health background and practical experience as program manager of Teen P.A.C.T. (Positive Actions and Choices for Teens), Michele serves as a role model and invaluable source of information for the youth she serves and the staff with whom she works.
Not one to seek the spotlight, Michele constantly turns attention away from herself and onto the teens, encouraging them to speak for themselves and make their opinions heard. As Program Manager of P.A.C.T., an program that employs a youth development approach to teen pregnancy prevention by providing confidential healthcare services and an adolescent-friendly environment in its Teen Lounge, Michele has spearheaded a new initiative that will result in the production of a series of educational videos produced and written by teens, for teens.
Working tirelessly behind the scenes, Michele not only guided the youth through the 16-month process of writing, directing, acting in, and producing the pregnancy prevention series, but has begun to disseminate information about the production to fellow health professionals, city government officials, fellow advocates, and teens outside the program.
In addition to her work on the video production project, Michele is the guiding force behind the afterschool program component of P.A.C.T., working with health educators to develop topics for weekly rap sessions, producing materials, and finding additional funding to support the program.
Michele’s dedication to youth in need is long-standing; while pursuing her Masters in Public Health at Columbia University, she was one of the first students to receive a scholarship awarded to students with a demonstrated commitment to working with underserved populations. This dedication also extends beyond her work with the Community Healthcare Network, as she serves as co-chair of the NYC Comptroller’s Task Force on Adolescent Pregnancy, Prevention & Parenting, advocating for youth citywide.
The number of teens who stay in touch after leaving Teens P.A.C.T. is a testament to Michele’s enduring influence and effect on the lives of young people. More than five years after its inception, the program has a regular stream of former participants who return to volunteer, including two employed full-time as teen community health educators. Michele’s ability to connect with young people, and subsequently tailor interactions and programming to address their needs, questions, and fears, make her a model afterschool educator.