Altarum Advances Health Equity Through Leadership of CDC National Coalition for Sexual Health

By nearly every measure—high rates of sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancies, and sexual violence—sexual health in the U.S. is poor. 

Recognizing the limits of a narrow disease-focused approach to improving sexual health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) decided to embrace a more positive, comprehensive framework. The agency would focus on the significant benefits of good sexual health, including a healthier body, a satisfying sexual life, positive relationships, peace of mind, and more. In 2013, the CDC funded Altarum to create a national coalition to help make this vision a reality.  

Under Altarum’s leadership and management, the National Coalition for Sexual Health (NCSH) has mobilized hundreds of leading national organizations and experts, created practical evidence-based tools, and conducted media outreach to promote sexual health and wellness across individuals’ lifespan and across the country. In the last year, NCSH celebrated 10 years of advancing the sexual health specifically and improving overall health more broadly of people in the U.S. The coalition’s highly engaged membership — made up of 250 national organizations, medical professional groups, government agencies, community health organizations, and advocacy groups — collectively volunteers over 970 hours of its time per year.

The NCSH delivers on the CDC’s mission to improve sexual health by developing high-quality, evidence-based resources for health care providers and the public, which are available on its website. Thus far, these resources have been accessed by nearly 500,000 people in 2022.  

Under Altarum’s direction, the NCSH also seeks to normalize conversations around sexual health. It does so by leveraging the power of the media to deliver essential information to the public. Over the last 10 years, more than 1,000 stories have been published in 800 media outlets, resulting in 3.1 billion audience impressions.  

With a focus on the future, NCSH hopes to welcome new members as it works to explore fresh topics and develop cutting-edge ways to respond to emerging needs. Guided by Altarum, the coalition has made significant inroads when it comes to improving sexual health and well-being in the U.S. The NCSH will continue its outreach and engagement efforts with state and national decision-makers to promote its holistic and inclusive framework — with access, equity, and quality top of mind. 

In 2022, based on an impactful 10-year partnership, the CDC awarded Altarum a grant to continue its leadership of the NCSH through 2027.  In addition, in 2023, the CDC awarded the NCSH a grant to develop effective health communications around mpox.

“I have yet to find similar materials provided by other organizations, which point to the important gaps that the Coalition is filling.” – Coalition Member