Online Program

Shifting the trend: Cocoa girls I am worthy project

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Marquisha Henderson, MPH, CHES, USC Master of Public Health Program, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
background: Disparities in sexual/reproductive health are of significant concern, particularly among women of color.  African American women ages 15-24 are the demographic subgroup most impacted by this health domain.  In addition to having the second highest rate of teen pregnancy in the nation, these women experience the highest rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea; 6 and 13.8 times the rate among their white counterparts, respectively.  Within Los Angeles County Service Planning Area 6 (SPA 6), where the majority of the Black population in the county resides, there is a high prevalence of these diseases.  To reverse such trends among young Black women in LA, intervention approaches must incorporate dual protection strategies while also addressing the role of interpersonal relationships and social and environmental factors in increasing sexual/reproductive health risks.

methods: To demonstrate the need for an effective sexual health intervention targeting sexually active and sexually curious Black adolescent girls in SPA 6, a needs assessment is conducted using secondary data and qualitative research encompassing focus groups and interviews with key informants and community gatekeepers.  Using this information, current sexual health program curriculum/materials and gaps in local health services are evaluated. 

results: Themes primarily identified/investigated: Sexual health attitudes, perceptions, knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors; role of partner communication and social networks; self-efficacy building through empowerment. 

conclusion:  The aim of this research is to increase accessibility/connectivity to sexual health resources.  The findings inform local programmatic/policy efforts to decrease sexual/reproductive health disparities within this target population through self-empowerment activities and community-based sexual health education curriculum.

Learning Areas:

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

Learning Objectives:
Identify gaps in services through a needs assessment using secondary data and qualitative research Identify social and environmental factors that influence sexual health behaviors among Black teens girls living in Los Angeles county.

Keyword(s): Adolescents, African American

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently a master of public health student with a concentration in health education/promotion and health communication. My specific public health interests are sexual and reproductive health among Black women; which I have investigated through various school projects and direct work experience in a sexual health school-based education 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.