262461 Using the Diffusion of Innovations framework to assess the adoption of a school health policy: North Carolina's Healthy Youth Act

Monday, October 29, 2012

Virginia Brown, MA, DrPH Candidate , Department of Public Health Education, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC
Robert W. Strack, PhD, MBA , Department of Public Health Education, University of North Carolina Greensboro, Greensboro, NC
Tracy R. Nichols, PhD , Department of Public Health Education, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC
North Carolina has been an abstinence-only state since 1995. In 2009, North Carolina's General Assembly passed the Healthy Youth Act, requiring all school districts to adopt an abstinence plus reproductive health and safety curriculum. Because each district is allowed to adopt and operationalize the policy differently and evidence shows that some districts were previously teaching more than abstinence-only education, the level of adoption of the Healthy Youth Act was expected to vary throughout the state. Using the Diffusion of Innovations framework, a mixed methods study was conducted to assess the level of adoption statewide to explore program attributes and perceptions which influenced the rate of adoption of the Healthy Youth Act in North Carolina school districts. Individuals in charge of the adoption from each school district were invited to participate in an online survey and upon completion, were given the opportunity to opt into the follow-up interview. The combined results indicate both the perceived relative advantage and compatibility of the program contributed significantly to the adoption of the Healthy Youth Act. Additionally, the perception of community needs influenced both these perceptions and the process of adopting the new curriculum. Discussion and recommendations will include how the perception of the community influences the steps of the adoption process and the utility of the Diffusion of Innovations framework as a guide to understand the adoption of future health policies both in North Carolina and nationwide.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
-Identify policy issues for program adoption -Discuss how the Diffusion of Innovations Framework can guide the analysis of health policy adoption.

Keywords: Policy/Policy Development, School-Based Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I performed the research for my doctoral dissertation. My research interests include youth health issues, qualitative research, quantitative research, policy analysis and evaluation. I have a masters in Sociology from University of Maryland-Baltimore and experience in policy analysis and evaluation, community-based research, and medical diagnoses through both interdisciplinary team settings and autonomous work environments. I assist my advisor in increasing immunization rates among children in rural North Carolina, STD/HIV prevention among homeless or at-risk children.
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.