SAHRC Staff bring over 25 years of experience working directly with local and state MCH programs, providing technical support to state-level adolescent health professional programs and staff as well as unique perspectives from backgrounds in public health, school health, education and organizational development.  

Lynn Bretl



Lynn Bretl, MPP
SAHRC Director
[email protected]
Lynn is passionate about the health and well-being of young people, and how we can better support their growth and development by empowering public health professionals to implement evidence-informed strategies and practices. For over 20 years, her professional career has focused on translating what we know of best practices in youth development, sexual health education, and clinical services for young people, into practice and policy that directly impacts young people. Her previous experiences working directly with young people continue to inspire her, as does sharing the innovative strategies her colleagues at the state and local levels employ to advance adolescent health in their communities.  Lynn also serves as an Adjunct Instructor, in the University’s Division of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Rena Large



Rena Large, M.Ed., CHES
Training & Technical Assistance Consultant
[email protected]
Rena feels passionate about providing technical assistance that results in increased capacity and skills for state public health professionals, and finds great satisfaction in creating products, processes, guidance and systems that empower others to do or improve their own work.  For over 20 years, she has served in a variety of program development and technical assistance roles for national, federal, and state level maternal and child health (MCH), adolescent health, and public health initiatives.  Since 2009, she has served SAHRC as a technical assistance and training consultant, providing topical content expertise in adolescent health and youth development, and supporting development of tailored tools and trainings for state-level adolescent health and programs.   

Katie Pierson

Katie Pierson
Communications Manager
[email protected]

Katie brings almost two decades of experience as a strategic communications consultant. Her mission-driven work includes racial equity, reproductive health, and anti-sex trafficking projects in county government, philanthropy, and Planned Parenthood MN/ND/SD. Author of an award-winning young adult novel, ’89 Walls (Wise Ink, 2015), she is known for her ability to engage and align diverse stakeholders to define and advance a shared mission and build inclusive narratives. Well-versed in the foundations of healthy youth development, Katie views it “as the thin end of a powerful wedge, one that can crack our most persistent racial and economic disparities.”


SAHRC benefits from a university setting committed to inter-collegiate, inter-professional initiatives, particularly in population- focused child and youth health, community-engaged scholarship, research translation, systems- change and advocacy. The UMN organizational context brings extensive experience and capacity for training, research and evaluation through cross-disciplinary collaboration, particularly with Title V-funded partners.  

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