In recognition of May’s National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, program leaders of the Louisiana Teen Pregnancy Prevention Collaborative provided updates to the community on the significant strides made during the past year to prevent teenage pregnancy.
In 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded six grants totaling $30 million to Louisiana-based state and non-profit agencies, including the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, to address teen pregnancy prevention. The five-year grant is expected to reach more than 20,000 youth across six agencies throughout its implementation.
According to recent statistics, Louisiana has the 18th highest teen pregnancy rate and ranks 13th for teen birth rates in the nation. In New Orleans, research shows youth are two times more likely than the national average to have sex before the age of 13, so much of the Collaborative’s programming takes place in the New Orleans area.
Tulane’s program, adapted an evidence-based intervention for Internet delivery entitled Sisters Informing, Healing, Living and Empowering (e-SiHLE), is a highly interactive four session intervention for African-American females ages 14-18. This program focuses on ethnic and gender pride, healthy relationships, and assertive communication. The goal of e-SiHLE is to reduce unintended teen pregnancy among 18-19 year-old African-American women in the Greater New Orleans area using an Internet- based curriculum, social media, forums, and text messaging to engage and educate young women about pregnancy prevention and HIV/STI risk reduction, as well as goal setting, gender empowerment, and communication and decision making skills.
A community advisory panel of 18- to 24 year-old African-American women worked closely with the researchers to develop the program and the procedures for dissemination. Partnering sites for the program include Delgado Community College, the Tulane Drop-In Clinic, Southern University of New Orleans, and Dillard University.
"The Internet provides an excellent mode for providing greater access to quality information and low-cost interventions in a manner that is relevant for our youth," said Patricia Kissinger, professor of epidemiology. "We hope our Internet-based pregnancy prevention intervention will help level the playing field so all youth have the opportunity to grow to be productive, happy, and healthy adults."
The Louisiana Teen Pregnancy Prevention Collaborative will be hosting an event tomorrow (Friday, May 25, 2012) from 12noon - 2:30 p.m. n the Diboll Gallery at the Tidewater building, 1440 Canal Street. The event will feature food, musical performances, local celebrity panel discussions, as well as a film festival. Participation is free and youth between the ages of 13-19 are invited to attend.
Visit the nola.com article to learn more about the other programs launched to reduce teenage pregnancies in Louisiana.