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Evaluation data improves youth pregnancy prevention programs

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

portrait of Amanda Purington

Amanda Purington

Using data gathered from the evaluation of health education programs to make improvements is an important component of quality adolescent pregnancy prevention programs. That’s the conclusion of BCTR staff Amanda Purington, evaluation and research director of ACT For Youth, a BCTR project focused on positive youth development and adolescent health.

Purington presented ACT for Youth’s approach for collecting and using data for program improvement in May at the 2018 Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Conference in Washington D.C. The conference is sponsored by the U.S. Administration for Children and Families and Office of Adolescent Health. Her workshop was selected for the conference based on the work ACT For Youth does as part of New York State’s Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP).

“This conference was a great opportunity to demonstrate how we’ve streamlined our evaluation data collection process and describe how we’re working with practitioners to use that information to improve programming,” Purington said.

The presentation detailed an effective process to promote collaboration between evaluators, technical assistance providers and practitioners. The process uses online methods to collect program implementation data from educators and creates interactive data visualizations. It allows practitioners to explore factors that impact program retention and implementation, and encourages them to use that information to improve their programs.

ACT for Youth, funded by the New York State Department of Health, is working on several community-based initiatives that focus on adolescent sexual health promotion and youth development: Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, Personal Responsibility Education Program, Successfully Transitioning Youth to Adolescence, prevention programs for sexually-transmitted diseases, and the mentoring program Pathways to Success. The organizations that house these programs are diverse, ranging from large, urban hospitals to small community agencies. Each program incorporates positive youth development strategies into their work with young people.

ACT for Youth is a partnership among the BCTR, Cornell University Cooperative Extension of New York City, and the Division of Adolescent Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

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New systematic translational review on teen pregnancy prevention programs

The newest systematic translational review (STR) from the  BCTR Research Synthesis Project considers the question, "Do teen pregnancy prevention programs that include education for the teenagers’ parents show positive results?" A review of evaluations of existing evidence-based programs found that there could be benefits that varied from program to program. Full findings can be found in Parent Education for Teen Pregnancy Prevention.

STRs are the result of a new research synthesis protocol designed to include practitioner input in the review process while maintaining the structure of a systematic review and speed of a rapid review. The method was developed by Research Synthesis Project director Mary Maley to improve the accessibility and use of research evidence by community practitioners and policy makers. Review topics focus on applied practice questions which require a synopsis of evidence to use in order to strengthen program implementation. More about the STR process can be found here.

Previously pr0duced STRs:

Community Engagement in Practice

Psycho-Social Evaluation Measures for 8-12 year-olds in Nutrition Education Programs

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: pregnancy    Research Synthesis Project    sexual health    systematic translational reviews    youth   

ACT for Youth at HHS Conference


Jane Powers, Jutta Dotterweich, and Amanda Purington

Jane Powers, Jutta Dotterweich, and Amanda Purington of the ACT for Youth Center of Excellence were presenters at the 2014 U.S. Health and Human Services Teen Pregnancy Prevention Grantee Conference in Washington, DC this June. The conference brought together federally funded prevention programs to enhance understanding of best practices, programs, and strategies, particularly on the theme of “Bridging the Gaps: Eliminating Disparities in Teen Pregnancy and Sexual Health.”

Conference participants offer evidence-based programs in their communities in order to support youth in improving sexual health (e.g., delaying sexual activity and using condoms and effective contraception when they do become sexually active). These programs are not new, but to ensure positive results funders are now strongly emphasizing fidelity to program design as well as implementation quality. Recognizing that many participants struggle to collect and use data effectively, Powers and Purington offered tools to track attendance, monitor fidelity, and assess quality, as well as strategies to help facilitators use data to improve program implementation. They also shared lessons learned in New York State’s efforts to scale up evidence-based programs.

Dotterweich and Powers focused on building organizational capacity for evidence-based programming. They introduced participants to resources intended to enhance facilitator competencies, as well as an online training on implementing evidence-based programs in adolescent sexual health that was recently developed by ACT for Youth.

Jane Powers is project director for the ACT for Youth Center of Excellence, where Jutta Dotterweich is director of Training and Technical Assistance and Amanda Purington is director of Evaluation and Research. The Center of Excellence supports the New York State Department of Health in its efforts to promote adolescent sexual health.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: ACT for Youth    Amanda Purington    Jane Powers    Jutta Dotterweich    pregnancy    prevention    sexual health    youth   

New conclusions about bed rest during pregnancy

"So far, my third pregnancy is going well. I’m able to maintain almost all of my normal activities including work, swimming and taking care of my two children. But, I have to admit, one of my fears is that I will suffer a complication that requires bed rest. I can’t imagine taking care of my 4-year-old and 2-year-old from the couch or bed."

Read the rest of the post on the BCTR's Evidence-Based Living blog:

New conclusions about bed rest during pregnancy

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Pregnancy and alcohol consumption: What we know

"We have some exciting news in my family: We are expecting our third child in mid-October. The upcoming addition to our family has me reviewing the evidence on how to have a healthy pregnancy. So I was intrigued when I saw an article in the New York Times this week about alcohol consumption during pregnancy."

Read the rest of this post on the Evidence-Based Living blog:

Pregnancy and alcohol consumption: What we know

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Jane Powers discusses teen pregnancy prevention on “Public Health Live!”

On March 15, ACT for Youth's Jane Powers and Kristine Mesler, Associate Director of the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, New York State Department of Health, appeared on the Public Health Live! webcast. Their discussion on teen pregnancy prevention in New York State also featured interviews with ACT for Youth partner Dr. Richard Kreipe as well as youth and program providers in Rochester, New York. The show is produced by the School of Public Health, University at Albany.

Video of the webcast can be viewed here and handouts and further information are available here.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: ACT for Youth    adolescence    Jane Powers    NY State    pregnancy    prevention    youth