Montefiore Health System announced today that its School Health Program received a $3 million grant from the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, which is dedicated to furthering the causes of education, the arts, health, and social justice. The generous pledge will support a new teen pregnancy prevention initiative in the Bronx, which has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the nation.
"Montefiore's School Health Program is a model for the nation, serving communities with unacceptably high rates of poverty and chronic disease, as well as an under-resourced educational system," said Steven M. Safyer, M.D., president and CEO of Montefiore Health System. "Funding from the Greene Foundation will strengthen our efforts to reach out to disadvantaged teens and prevent unintended pregnancies. We are proud to further our partnership with the Foundation to improve health outcomes in our community, especially for our kids."
The Montefiore School Health Program (MSHP) is the largest school health program in the country, providing comprehensive medical, dental, mental and community health services to 40,000 elementary, middle and high school students at 23 campuses in the Bronx. The new teen pregnancy prevention initiative will build on MSHP's existing model, which has achieved an almost 50% reduction in positive pregnancy test rates at one of the high school campuses compared to students who do not have access to a health clinic in their school.
"We are pleased to join our long-time partner, Montefiore Health System, in an intensive effort to address unintended teenage pregnancy in the Bronx," said Christina McInerney, President of the Jerome L. Greene Foundation. "The goal of this initiative is to produce a validated model program aimed at reducing pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease rates by 50% within a three year period. A fundamental component of the program will be a rigorous analysis of its results. If the results are positive, we hope that the Montefiore/Greene Foundation Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative will serve as a prototype for similar programs across the country. The Jerome L. Greene Foundation has supported efforts in reproductive healthcare for many years and this new grant strengthens both our and Montefiore's mission to build a better future for today's youth."
The new initiative will serve approximately 22,000 students in grades nine through 12, at 12 high school campuses in the most underserved communities in the Bronx. The three-year funding will:
- Further existing efforts to provide comprehensive reproductive health services, including screening and treatment of sexually transmitted infections and family planning services to the entire student population, with additional concentrated efforts to engage teens considered most at risk.
- Support community health organizers who drive education efforts through school-wide communications strategies, including events, posters and informational tables.
- Facilitate the recruitment of youth support workers, who will fill a vital new role in identifying students under-utilizing MSHP services and working with them to take control of their health.
- Underwrite research allowing MSHP leadership to evaluate the initiative and set the stage for replication of the model on the city, state and national levels, if proven effective.
"The new Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative will allow us to develop a more robust approach to screening, educating and communicating on how to improve sexual health practices and reduce unintended teen pregnancies," said David Appel, M.D., director, Montefiore School Health Program. "The generosity of the Jerome L. Greene Foundation will enable us to help more teens achieve their academic and personal goals."
For four decades, the Jerome L. Greene Foundation has been a transformative force in the development of advanced clinical services at Montefiore. The Foundation has generously supported many programs and initiatives across the institution, including cancer programs for children and the development of the Medical Arts Pavilion on the Moses Campus, a centerpiece of Montefiore's ambulatory care network and a vital part of its strategic plan to advance specialty care in the community.