240429 Community Building and Legislative Advocacy for Comprehensive Sexual Health Education

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 1:10 PM

Joy Messinger, MSW, MPH, CHES , POWER Through Choices Project, Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, Chicago, IL
During the 2011 Legislative Session of the Illinois General Assembly, the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH) is sponsoring a grassroots and legislative advocacy effort in support of sexual health education in Illinois public schools. The goal is the successful passage of a bill requiring any public school who provides sexual health education to use a medically accurate, evidence-based, and age-appropriate curriculum.

ICAH builds their approach through a combination of scientific research and social work community practice theories and frameworks. Utilizing a participatory Community Circle process co-facilitated by ICAH staff and youth organizers, community allies are encouraged to assess the health of their own communities, discover the impact of community institutions on the messages youth receive about sexual health, and consider the impact of abstinence-only-until-marriage policies and instructional programs on the multiple facets of adolescent health. ICAH then provides them with the tools to advocate for a more comprehensive approach and lobby their legislators to support a sexual health education bill.

This session will share the processes and lessons learned from ICAH's Sexual Health Community Circle Initiative and will present preliminary outcome evaluation findings of participants' changes in knowledge of adolescent sexual health and likelihood to engage in grassroots and legislative advocacy in support of a comprehensive sexual health education bill.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
By attending this session, participants will be able to: Describe the current state of adolescent sexual health in Illinois and the city of Chicago; and Identify how social work-based advocacy theory and skills can be applied to solving a health promotion challenge

Keywords: Policy/Policy Development, Community Building

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: because I am an advanced social work student specializing in community- and policy-based health promotion practice. In addition, I am a primary developer and coordinator of the ICAH Sexual Health Community Circle Initiative protocol, staff and youth training efforts, and monitoring and evaluation plan and tools.
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.