197632 Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of a National Skills-Based Health Education Curriculum for At-Risk Adolescent Youth

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sonali Rajan, MA , Department of Health and Behavior Studies/Health Education, Columbia University, Teachers College, Brooklyn, NY
Charles E. Basch, PhD , Department of Health and Behavior Studies, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY
The field of health education has enormous potential to serve as an effective means of disease prevention. Adolescent females are at particular risk for developing many problem behaviors that could have severe implications for both physical and mental health, including substance abuse, poor nutrition, and engagement in sexually risky behaviors. Research has shown that these behaviors stem from an inability to cope with adolescent stressors. The purpose of this study is to therefore develop, implement, and evaluate a national skills-based health education curriculum for adolescent females that places a direct emphasis on addressing these key health concerns. The curriculum integrates health learning with the fundamentals of Social Cognitive Theory; specifically by focusing on the development of emotional and social coping skills, improving the participants' behavioral capacity, enhancing the participants' self-efficacy to handle adolescent stressors, and fostering a strong social support network. The new curriculum has been formatively evaluated among a cohort of 150 adolescent females around the country. The results of the pilot study have guided the revisions to the curriculum, which will be more broadly evaluated among a cohort of 200-250 adolescent females in spring 2009. Multivariate analyses and descriptive analytical methods will be used to evaluate program implementation, describe the perceived efficacy of this skills-based curriculum, determine the needs of health educators to successfully implement programs outside of the classroom, and contribute to a more solidified understanding of the specific health education needs of this high-risk population.

Learning Objectives:
1. Compare a novel skills-based health education program to current health education initiatives also targeting this at-risk population. 2. Discuss pragmatic and effective program evaluation methods, particularly useful for health education initiatives.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Health Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently a doctoral candidate in the Department of Health and Behavior Studies/Health Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. The work that I am looking to present at the 2009 APHA conference stems directly from my dissertation work. I am the co-author on the curriculum that is being presented and have conducted the study's program evaluation under the supervision of my academic advisor. I have a Master of Arts degree in Health and Behavior Studies/Health Education, also from Columbia University, Teachers College, as well as almost four years of health education experience in the field of child and adolescent health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.