HHS awards $5 million grant to support teen pregnancy prevention programs

The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS), in partnership with three community-based organizations, has been awarded a five-year, $5 million grant from the Department of Heath and Human Service's (HHS) Office of Adolescent Health. This grant is part of a $155 million commitment by HHS to support the replication of teen pregnancy prevention programs that have been shown to be effective through rigorous research as well as the testing of new, innovative approaches to combating teen pregnancy.

The primary function of the project titled, "Be Yourself/Se tu mismo," is to conduct research and implement a program aimed at delaying sexual onset, increasing contraceptive use, and preventing teen pregnancy among high school Latino youth living in the Washington, D.C. metro region. The grant is funded through the Teenage Pregnancy Prevention (TPP): Research and Demonstration Program.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for GW and our community partners. Testing the efficacy of a cultural and theory-based youth development intervention enhanced with mobile text messaging to increase communication and support for a large, growing population of Latino youth will have significant health and social impact," said Amita Vyas, Ph.D., assistant professor, director of the Maternal and Child Health Program in the Department of Prevention and Community Health, GW SPHHS. Dr. Vyas, along with Susan Wood, Ph.D., associate professor of Health Policy and of Environmental & Occupational Health, director of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health in the Department of Health Policy, GW SPHHS, are co-principal investigators on the grant.

GW's community partners are Identity, Inc. (Montgomery County, MD), a community-based organization that provides programs for Latino youth to help them achieve a sense of confidence, connection, and control over their life; Mary's Center, which is a community-based center focused on maternal and child care for immigrant women from Central America; and Teen and Young Adult Connection (Silver Spring and Gaithersburg, MD), which is a non-profit health care clinic that provides young people with sexual and reproductive health services.

"GW SPHHS welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with our dynamic community partners on the important problem of teenage pregnancy which can have serious health and developmental consequences for young mothers and their babies. This collaboration strengthens the powerful connection between GW and our neighbors in the nation's capital. Together, we look forward to addressing the health of our local community by creating a safe place for youth to learn the skills they need to become healthy and productive adults," said Lynn Goldman, M.D., M.P.H., dean, School of Public Health and Health Services.

Source: Department of Heath and Human Service.

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