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About Christina Alex

Christina Alex is a writer, speaker and master-level social worker (MSW) who began her career as a journalist at award-winning newspaper, Main Line Life, outside Philadelphia. Her piece about a family who launched an AIDS charity to honor their late son earned her a second place Keystone Press Award.

Press Coverage:
New York Daily News
Bronx Family Magazine

After covering a high-profile domestic violence case, she volunteered at a court program and family shelter. This solidified her desire to gain hands-on experience with families to inform her writing. Entering Columbia University School of Social Work, she helped HIV-positive mothers develop guardianship plans at the HIV Law Project.

The following year, she interned at the NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) Office of Domestic Violence Policy and Planning. Analyzing the high overlap of domestic violence and child abuse in families served by the agency, she argued against the policy of removing children from battered mothers in Social Work Perspectives. When a landmark court ruling prompted ACS to alter its policy, she was inspired to work in government toward systemic change.

Earning her master’s degree in social work and her license to practice in the state of New York (LMSW), Christina landed her dream job at Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s new Office to Combat Domestic Violence in 2002.  She focused on educating children and teenagers to build good relationship skills. Investigating 80 violence prevention curricula, she recommended five research-based programs to Department of Education staff and organized a training for school counselors.

Promoted to Director of Prevention Programs and Research, she played the lead role in designing and supervising a successful peer leadership program. Over 700 at-risk teenagers learned about healthy relationships during her tenure, and evaluations showed significant increases in knowledge from pre-test to post-test. The program still exists as the NYC Healthy Relationship Training Academy.

After training teen peer leaders and youth staff on domestic violence and healthy relationships, Christina led 10-session reproductive health groups for teens at La Asociacion Benefica Cultural Padre Billini in Queens. Their post-tests showed a vast increase in knowledge and understanding of sexual health rights and resources, and pregnancy prevention methods.

She then used her expertise to help foreign-born medical residents at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center provide better care for teen patients struggling with dating violence, sexual assault and STIs/HIV. Over 80% of the residents said they would change their practice after the sessions.

Starting in November 2008, her longtime wish that violence prevention efforts begin in middle school was fulfilled when she launched and oversaw the Start Strong Bronx teen dating violence prevention program for 11-to 14-year-olds, parents and physicians. The four-year $1 million Robert Wood Johnson Foundation initiative aimed to promote healthy relationship skills and prevent dating violence. She also co-wrote and developed a short film about the impact of family dynamics on teen dating relationships in collaboration with the Start Strong Bronx Teen Advisory Board and Reel Works Teen Filmmaking. Broken Harmonies has been used as a training tool around the country. Since then, Christina has worked as a violence prevention consultant in the U.S. and Mexico.

Christina’s social work experience continues to inspire her young adult novels. She majored in English at Haverford College with a concentration in Creative Writing and a minor in Education.



Photograph by Jay Krishnan

 


 

 

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