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Building the capacity and readiness of state organizations to promote science-based practices

Tamarah Moss, MPH, MSW, Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiatives, Advocates for Youth, 2000 M Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20036, 202-419-3420, tamarah@advocatesforyouth.org and Barbara W. Sugland, MPH, ScD, Center for Applied Research & Technical Assistance, Inc., 1800 N. Charles Street, Suite 902, Baltimore, MD 21201.

Health care providers and program planners increasingly recognize the need to rely on research when designing public health programs. However, “bringing research to practice” can be challenging due to funding limitations, political controversy, time restrictions, and resistance to change within organizations. In 2002, Advocates for Youth, a Washington-based nonprofit organization focusing on adolescent sexual health, began a three-year initiative to strengthen the capacity of state teen pregnancy prevention organizations to integrate science-based practices into their work. The project focuses on building internal capacities (leadership, board development, strategic planning, fund-raising, and public relations), and external capacities (public education, World Wide Web and library services, professional development, training, research and data collection, and local council development) of state organizations. Utilizing an innovative “change management” approach, Advocates for Youth provides resources, training, technical assistance, and networking opportunities to help these organizations in five states incorporate science-based practices into all areas of their work. To measure organizational capacity at baseline and over time, Advocates for Youth and the Center for Applied Research and Training Inc., developed an extensive self-assessment tool and evaluation process. Those at several levels of each organization, including board members, executive directors, and project administrators, worked to assess the strengths and needs of each state organization, identify areas for technical assistance and training, and construct a strategic action plan to be implemented over two years. Presenters will describe the study, review needs assessment findings, highlight lessons learned, and suggest ways to replicate and/or adapt the self-assessment tool and evaluation methodology.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to

Keywords: Organizational Change, Needs Assessment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: Advocates for Youth and the Center for Applied Research and Technical Assistance, Inc.
I have a significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
Relationship: Employment as Program Manager, Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiatives at Advocates for Youth

Where do Youth Get Reproductive Health Information? Communication to Improve Behavior

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA