209294 Lessons learned from Better Choices for a Better Future (c): A culturally specific substance abuse and HIV prevention curriculum for youth in St.Croix, US Virgin Islands

Monday, November 9, 2009

Averette Mhoon Parker, MD , Access to Racial and Cultural Health Institute (ARCH), Inc., Washington, DC
Warren A. Rhodes, PhD , College of Health & Public Policy, Delaware State University, Dover, DE
Jaslene Williams, MSSW , ARCH Institute - St Croix, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands
Suzanne M. Randolph, PhD , Research & Evaluation, The MayaTech Corporation, Silver Spring, MD
Patricia Rhymer Todman, PhD , Psychology Department, University of the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, US Virgin Island, US Virgin Islands
Mesfin S. Mulatu, PhD, MPH , Center for Community Prevention and Treatment Research, The MayaTech Corporation, Atlanta, GA
Kimberly Jeffries Leonard, PhD , Research & Evaluation, The MayaTech Corporation, Silver Spring, MD
Rosalind Parker, JD , Ward 7 & 8 DC Prevention Center, BRIC, Inc., Washington, DC
Issues: USVI HIV/AIDS rates are among the highest in the US. Recent surveys indicate increasing rates of substance abuse and sexual risk behaviors among USVI high school students. Guidance on implementing and evaluating culturally and developmentally appropriate interventions to reduce substance abuse and HIV risks at earlier ages is urgently needed. Description: A community-initiated research partnership utilized community-based participatory research (CBPR) approaches to develop an after-school substance abuse and HIV prevention program based on two model programs--“Project Alert” and “Focus on Kids.” Lessons learned were used to develop a subsequent model curriculum, Better Choices for a Better Future (c)(BCBF), based on Crucian culture, with a modified integration of the model programs, implemented in two schools (N=392 sixth graders) over a 4-year period. Lessons Learned: BCBF was well-received by students, parents, teachers, and school officials. We received numerous requests for similar interventions for younger and older youth, parent training, and implementation in St. Thomas, USVI. Process evaluation and community feedback suggested that we move to an in-school program to reduce attrition. Summative evaluation data provided evidence that the in-school approach improved retention; and significantly facilitated lower alcohol use and increased perception of risk of harm associated with substance use. Findings support targeting 6th-graders or lower given the effectiveness of BCBF. Recommendations: Expand BCBF to cover wider age ranges and schools across USVI. Supplement in-school programs with after-school boosters and cultural activities to better engage parents and enrich children's cultural heritage and positive youth development to promote healthy behaviors.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the process of developing and adapting a culturally and developmentally appropriate, community-based intervention to reduce substance abuse and sexual behaviors that put youth at risk for HIV Describe ways to improve involvement of community partners in strengthening CBPR approaches to reduce substance abuse and HIV risks

Keywords: Substance Abuse Prevention, Community-Based Partnership

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked closely with the program staff and evaluators to develop the concept and format for the poster, extract lessons learned, formulate recommendations, and draw conclusions for improving community-based partcipatory methods for HIV prevention.
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.

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