Online Program

Lessons learned from the girls' action team program: The intersection and connection of self, school, and community

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 8:45 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Lisa Vaughn, Ph.D., Department of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center/University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH
Erin Wagner, M.S., Neonatology and Pulmonary Biology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH
Melissa DeJonckheere, M.A., Educational Studies, Educational and Community-Based Action Research Concentration, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
Introduction: Pre-adolescent girls, especially those from minority, immigrant and low-income backgrounds, can face significant stress as they navigate developmental and social transitions. All girls, but particularly those who are already vulnerable or at-risk socially and economically, need an outlet that allows participation and self-determination, the development of competence to enact personal power and control, and a skill set to help them become agents of change in their community. Objectives: We present an intervention in progress conducted within the context of an ongoing community-academic partnership among a local university, an affiliated pediatric hospital, and a low-resource K-8 public magnet school serving a minority and immigrant population. In response to the struggles expressed by the school's preadolescent girls through a needs assessment and an ancillary Photovoice project, we developed and implemented the Girls' Action Teams (GATs). This participatory, arts-based intervention for girls, 4th-8th grade, was developed to offer a platform for multiple forms of self-expression and development of a social action project. Methods: To evaluate the GATs, we used a multi-method qualitative approach including focus groups, interviews, and reflection forms. Results/Discussion: We identified three salient themes in the qualitative data: 1) the importance of having goals; 2) group cohesiveness; and 3) increased self-expression. We also present the benefits, unique challenges, and lessons learned from the GATs program. GATs provide girls with an outlet for self-expression and self-determination, helping them to become agents of change in their community while forming deeper connections with themselves, their school, and their community.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe the foundation and framework of the Girls’ Action Team Program. Evaluate the outcomes of the Girls’ Action Team Program in providing connections to the school and community. Discuss the lessons learned from the Girls’ Action Team Program.

Keyword(s): Child/Adolescent, School-Based Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a primary facilitator of this program for over two years and have been deeply involved in the coordination and evaluation of the program.
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.