Dr. Mary Jo Podgurski’s life work is serving young people and their families. She has a background in nursing, education, and counseling; and she is certified in sexuality education and sexuality counseling through AASECT. Currently, she serves as the President and Founder of the Academy for Adolescent Health, Inc. In her vast career, she is responsible for presenting sexuality education to over 230,000 young people! She also has authored 28 books, including The Nonnie Series, for children on challenging topics, and she has presented over 750 workshops locally, nationally, and internationally.Dr. Podgurski bases her numerous education programs and books on her foundational belief of #EachPersonIsAPersonofWorth. Her ability to respect all people, listen to young people, and develop inspiring and empowering curricula create a safe environment for learning. She considers herself an Ambassador for Respect and models respect daily, in her professional and personal lives.
Dr. Podguriski founded The Washington Health System Teen Outreach in 1988 and a peer education program in 1995. Through the Teen Outreach Program, Dr. Podgurski mentors young parents and trains peer educators. She has trained over 10,000 peer educators and over 7,000 young parents.
In honor of her noteworthy accomplishments, Dr. Podgurski was awarded the Athena Women of Wisdom Award (2004), the NAACP Human Rights Award (2008), The ARC Community Award (2014), the Healthy Teen Network Excellence in Sexuality Education Award (2014), and the Carol Mendez Cassell Award for Excellence in Sexuality Education (2014).