Sep 292015

July 2015– The Policy & Research Group (PRG) was awarded two grants under the Office of Adolescent Health’s (OAH) Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) Program’s “Rigorous Evaluation of New or Innovative Approaches to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (Tier 2B),” and PRG was selected as the external evaluator on a third Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program Tier 2B grant awarded to the Center of Supportive Schools (CSS).

The TPP Tier 2 grant program is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Health. The purpose of the five-year grant is to increase the number of evidence-based TPP interventions available by rigorously evaluating new or innovative approaches for preventing teen pregnancy and related high risk behaviors.

For each of the following three new or innovative TPP approaches, PRG will conduct an individual-level randomized controlled trial (RCT) to measure the program’s impact on sexual health outcomes. PRG will also complete an implementation evaluation to understand how the program works in practice, interpret the efficacy of the intervention, provide feedback for program improvements, and identify features and conditions necessary for sustainability and replication.

The Trauma Informed Approach for Adolescent Sexual Health was developed by Joann Schladale of Resources for Resolving Violence, Inc. for at-risk youth ages 14-19 who are in foster care or out-of-home care. The intervention is composed of ten intensive one-on-one therapy-education sessions intended to decrease risky sex behaviors by increasing knowledge of sexual health and the impact of trauma on sexual decision-making, readiness to change risky sexual behavior, ability to manage impulsive behavior, confidence in ability to negotiate safe sex, and intentions to practice safe sex. The intervention allows participants to explore the impact of previous trauma on current behavior. The planned sites for the study are four facilities located in New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.

The Safe in the City: Teen Pregnancy Prevention is being developed by Sentient Research. The program is a stand-alone video intervention designed to be delivered on individual iPads in a clinic waiting room setting. The video comprises a series of discrete, related vignettes that model young couples of diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds and sexual orientations in various types of relationships negotiating safer sexual behavior; the vignettes are followed by a brief animated sequence that demonstrates safe sex practices. The study will take place in Planned Parenthood reproductive health clinics located in Pennsylvania and California.

Peer Group Connection (PGC), developed by the Center for Supportive Schools (CSS), is a school-based positive youth development program for 9th grade students designed to improve school attachment and social and emotional learning skills that support educational outcomes by immersing freshmen in safe, supportive groups led by older students.  Peer leaders work in pairs to co-lead groups of 10 to 14 freshmen in weekly outreach sessions during the school day in which the freshmen participate in engaging, hands-on activities and discussions on a variety of youth development topics such as sense of school attachment, competence in interpersonal relationships, conflict resolution, motivation, goal setting, coping skills, decision making, peer acceptance, and resisting peer pressure. This program aims to reduce risk by improving general life skills; specifically, social and emotional skills such as communication and refusal may help students avoid unprotected sex. The study will be conducted at schools in North Carolina and New York.

In 2010, the Office of Adolescent Health announced the first round of TPP awards and provided approximately $105 million in grants to diverse organizations. In July of 2015, OAH announced funding for its second cohort of grantees, which awarded over $86 million in TPP grants to numerous organizations under four different funding tiers: Capacity Building to Support Replication of Evidence-Based TPP Programs (Tier 1A); Replicating Evidence-Based TPP Programs to Scale in Communities with the Greatest Need (Tier 1B); Supporting and Enabling Early Innovation to Advance Adolescent Health and Prevent Teen Pregnancy (Tier 2A); and, Rigorous Evaluation of New or Innovative Approaches to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (Tier 2B).