NASHVILLE – Centerstone, a national non-profit and provider of community-based mental health and addiction services, recently secured a $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Adolescent Health that will support the expansion of its teen pregnancy prevention services.
The service line will more than triple its existing coverage area, expanding from Tennessee into Kentucky and Indiana, and provide support to vulnerable youth in previously unreached areas. The service will focus on teen sexual health for 60,000 youth and teens throughout 85 counties – including all 14 in the Upper Cumberland – to reduce teen pregnancy rates and existing disparities in access to information.
All targeted counties – 60 total in Tennessee, 14 in Kentucky and 11 in Indiana – have teen birth rates higher than the national average, with many being double or triple the average.
The U.S. rate is 26.5 live births per 1,000 population. In the UC, eight counties exceed 50 births per 1,000 teens, including Macon (72), DeKalb (66), Cumberland (65), Warren (65), Van Buren (57), Clay (51) and Fentress (51).
“We’re pleased to have secured this grant that will so greatly expand our ability to provide teens information vital to their health and ability to make the right choices for themselves,” Bob Vero, EdD, CEO of Centerstone, said in a release. “Teen pregnancy prevention has been doing great work over the last five years in Tennessee. Growing that into high-risk areas of Kentucky and Indiana is important work.”
The teen pregnancy prevention services will include delivery of evidence-based practices in middle and high school classrooms, juvenile detention, foster care, outpatient clinic settings and community awareness activities. The service will continue to collect and analyze performance measurements as well as evaluate implementation and outcomes to ensure continuous improvements. Centerstone Research Institute provides evaluation support.
Evaluations of the service last year showed large increases in awareness and understanding of critical sexual health issues among participants. For instance, it increased the number who knew what HIV/AIDS is and how it is transmitted by 50 percent. There was a 41 percent increase among participating teens who felt they knew a method to stop sexual pressure. Twenty-six percent more students could identify myths regarding sexual intercourse and pregnancy.
“Centerstone is focused on providing care and wellness services that are well researched and on a constant path of improvement,” said Tom Doub, PhD, CEO of Centerstone Research Institute. “Centerstone Research Institute has worked with Teen Pregnancy Prevention services on evaluation to date and is excited to see changes implemented and assessed on this much larger scale.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Adolescent Health grant expanding Teen Pregnancy Prevention services was provided to Be in Charge 2, a program of Centerstone.
For more information on the Teen Pregnancy Prevention service, visit www.centerstone.org.
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* Source: County Health Rankings (2014)