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Recognizing landmark contributions in advocating for and advancing our fundamental human right to sexual freedom.

This year, the 12th anniversary of our Sexual Freedom Summit, Woodhull will honor two extraordinary individuals for their life-long commitment to sexual freedom as a fundamental human right: Shanna Kattari and Al Vernacchio.

Photo of Shanna K. Kattari

Shanna K. Kattari, PhD, MEd, CSE, ACS is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work, the Department of Women and Gender Studies (by courtesy), and Director of the [Sexuality|Relationships|Gender] Research Collective. A White, Jewish, nonbinary, disabled, chronically ill, neurodivergent, middle-class polyam queer fat Femme, their practice and community background is as a board certified sexologist, certified sexuality educator, and social justice advocate.  Dr. Kattari’s extant research focuses on understanding how power, privilege and oppression systematically marginalize, exclude, and discriminate against people regarding their identities/expressions through negative attitudes, policies reinforcing oppression, oppressive actions and isolation.  Recently, they have focused on the health disparities among trans and gender diverse communities, across physical and behavioral health, as well as working with the community through community based participatory research and arts based research methods to better understand how the lack of inclusive providers has increased these disparities. Another facet of their work is on ableism, particularly within academic spaces They also do work exploring sexuality in marginalized communities, particularly among disabled adults and LGBTQIA2S+ individuals.

A graduate of Colorado College, Widener University, and the University of Denver, Dr. Kattari has also done work as a community sexuality educator for 15 years. In their work across both research and sexuality education, Dr. Kattari strongly values translational research and open source information that benefits the communities involved, and strongly believes in making research and education accessible to not only academics but also to society at large.

Photo of Al Vernacchio

Al Vernacchio is the N-12 Sexuality Education Coordinator and also a member of the Upper School English department at Friends’ Central School. In his work as Sexuality Education Coordinator, Al teaches classes, organizes sexuality-themed programs and student assemblies, provides parent education on human sexuality topics, and is one of the faculty advisors for the Gender and Sexual Orientation Alliance (GSoA).

A Human Sexuality educator and consultant for over 25 years, Al has lectured, published articles, and offered workshops throughout the country. His work has been featured in “Teaching Good Sex”, a November 20, 2011 cover story in The New York Times Magazine. Al has given four TED Talks, and has appeared on national programs such as NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “1A”. He is the author of For Goodness Sex: Changing the Way We Talk to Young People About Sexuality, Values, and Health published by Harper Wave, a division of HarperCollins.

Al earned his BA in Theology from St. Joseph’s University and his MSEd in Human Sexuality Education from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS), The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) and Advanced Sexuality Educators and Trainers (ASET). A native Philadelphian, Al and his husband, Michael, live in the Germantown section of the city.

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