GW is teaming up with the Department of Health and Human Services to combat teen pregnancy in D.C.’s Latino youth community.
The campaign – funded by a $5 million grant – is part of a nationwide effort to lower teen pregnancy rates. The United States has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the world with 71 in 1,000 girls becoming pregnant between the ages of 15 and 19. In D.C.’s Latino community, that rate is higher, with 115 out of 1,000 girls becoming pregnant during the same age group.
Professor Susan Wood, the director of the Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health, said GW was one of 19 organizations selected for the grant out of the 300 groups that applied.
Wood said the campaign will of focus on the “implementation of existing programs.and developing and testing of new strategies” to lower the pregnancy rate in the Latin community.
With the grant, the University and its partners Identity Inc., Mary’s Center and Teen and Young Adult Connection – community-based centers focused on maternal and child care for the Latino community – plan to implement a 16-week after-school program for teens and young adults in connection with family planning. The initiative titled “Be Yourself/Sé Tú Mismo” would include a three-part curriculum based in local schools.
“The curriculum would include a text-messaging program to get the message out to at-risk youth, a retreat, and team-building exercises to strengthen decision making,” Wood said.
Wood said the program will hopefully expand beyond the Latin community.
“The Department of Health and Human Services has the materials, tools and programs that can be implemented around the country, no one size fits all,” she said.