Chen, Leos recognized as outstanding social entrepreneurs with Forbes ’30 under 30’ award

November 15, 2017

Liz Chen (left) and Cristina Leos tested the Real Talk app in a North Carolina middle school.

Liz Chen (left) and Cristina Leos tested the Real Talk app in a North Carolina middle school. Photo by Brian Strickland.

Liz Chen and Cristina Leos, doctoral students in health behavior at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, have been selected for Forbes magazine’s ’30 Under 30’  list of young entrepreneurs.

Each year, the Forbes judges select 30 people, ages 29 or younger, in each of 20 categories, including art, entertainment, food, education, music, science and others.

Chen and Leos won in the social entrepreneurship category.

They are two of three co-founders of MyHealthEd, a Chapel Hill, N.C.-based nonprofit organization that uses technology to make health education more accessible for teens. The program’s flagship product is RealTalk, a mobile app that uses real stories from teens to convey information about sexual health. The app also allows teens to talk about sexual health with peers, friends, partners and parents.

“Now that we’ve launched the beta version of our Real Talk app, we’re eager to have as many teens as possible try it out and send us feedback,” Chen said. “We want to continue improving our app so that it meets the wants and needs of young teens and leads to improved communication outcomes for them.”

The beta version of Real Talk is available here for download on iPhones. Feedback may be sent to liz@myhealthed.org.

“We are so proud of Liz and Cristina,” said Kurt Ribisl, PhD, professor and chair of the Gillings School’s Department of Health Behavior. “They have developed from scratch an innovative approach to addressing the problem of providing accurate sexual health information to teens in a way that resonates with their young audience. They have truly earned their spot on that prestigious Forbes list.”

Chen and Leos have received wide acclaim for their development of Real Talk. Their work was featured in the fall 2016 issue of Carolina Public Health.


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Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or dpesci@unc.edu