Online Program

MyHealthEd: Student perceptions of an online sex education intervention in rural North Carolina

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 12:30 p.m. - 12:50 p.m.

Elizabeth Chen, MPH, Department of Health Behavior, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC
Kendra Madding, Department of Health Behavior, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC
Kathryn E. Moracco, PhD, MPH, Health Behavior, Gillings School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Vichitra Jagannathan, M.S., Citizenship and Public Affairs, Microsoft, San Francisco, CA
Background: Although North Carolina mandates comprehensive sex education for 7th, 8th, and 9th grade students, many schools remain noncompliant due to a lack of trained health educators, especially in rural school districts. We present high school student reactions to MyHealthEd, an online teen pregnancy and STI/HIV prevention intervention adapted from the evidence-based intervention, Reducing the Risk. MyHealthEd is unique because it does not require a trained health educator for implementation. Methods: Eight gender-specific focus groups were conducted with 9th grade students from four predominantly African American public high schools in rural Eastern North Carolina. Focus group participants were recruited from a sampling frame of 200 students who participated in the MyHealthEd pilot study. Focus groups were semi-structured and the discussions were transcribed verbatim. The resulting qualitative data were analyzed utilizing Atlas.ti. Results: Students reported their perceptions of receiving sex education online compared to a classroom teacher, their perceived benefits and drawbacks of this mode of delivery, and their ideas for improving MyHealthEd’s usability and feasibility. Discussion: Online sex education is a promising and preferred method of delivery for comprehensive sex education standards, particularly in settings where trained health educators are not available or where health teachers are not able or are unwilling to deliver state-mandated content. This intervention has the potential to increase the availability of high quality health education to students across North Carolina, as well as other rural and underserved areas.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Discuss student perceptions of an online sex education intervention delivered in school Demonstrate the unique functionality of our online MyHealthEd course (which was adapted from ETR's Reducing the Risk) Describe lessons learned from implementing a stand alone online sex education course among 9th grade students in rural North Carolina

Keyword(s): Sexual Risk Behavior, Teen Pregnancy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator and SECU Foundation grant recipient of the MyHealthEd project aiming to reduce rates of teen pregnancy and STDs among students in rural North Carolina through an online sex education course. As a former high school educator, I am particularly interested in bridging the research on health disparities and educational inequalities while increasing access to high quality health education for all.
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.