Meet The Team

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Jess Alder

Program Director

Jess Alder is the Program Director of the Start Strong: Building Healthy Teen Relationship Initiative at the Boston Public Health Commission. She holds her Masters in Public Administration from Suffolk University. 


For 4 years Jess was an educator, advocate, and consultant for rape crisis centers in Denver, CO and Boston, MA.  She has been working in the field of teen dating violence for the past 10 years in Boston, MA and has over two decades of experience working with young people as an educator, coach, and mentor.  Jess has conducted local, national, and international workshops on healthy relationships, healthy break ups, media literacy, and crisis intervention. 


Most recently, she co-created a Porn Literacy Curriculum for young people which was featured in the New York Times.    


Teakia Brown

Program Manager

Teakia is the Program Manager for Start Strong at the Boston Public Health Commission in the Bureau of Child and Adolescent Health. Start Strong is a nationally and internationally recognized Peer Leader Program that focuses on youth development, innovation, and media literacy to address its goal of preventing teen dating violence and healthy relationship promotion.


She is a passionate advocate for adolescent sexual, reproductive, and reducing racial health disparities. She is incredibly driven and has pursued experiences in health promotion both nationally and internationally, as a member of the Peace Corps and in school-based health and community health centers in Boston.


Mariam Gulaid

Senior Program Manager

Mariam Gulaid is Senior Program Manager at Start Strong. She holds a MPH in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education from Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University and a B.A. in Sociology from Columbia University, and has experience working on adolescent health in the United States and Southern Africa.


Mariam is passionate about social and structural determinants of health and loves working from and learning from young people.


Outside of work, Mariam also recently completed her 200 hour registered yoga teacher training, though has yet to start teaching regularly.