By Evelyn Kappeler
Director, Office of Adolescent Health
As the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) approaches its fifth anniversary, I am pleased to report that we are involved in several exciting and collaborative activities to promote youth engagement, positive youth development and adolescent health.
The Teen Pregnancy Prevention grants are now entering their fifth and final year of funding. Their focus is on completing implementation, collecting evaluation and performance data, and looking ahead to ensure program sustainability. The OAH website now features a toolkit of sustainability resources for grantees and OAH plans to issue a new funding opportunity announcement in 2015.
In March 2014, OAH published findings about teen pregnancy prevention grant implementation. "Implementing Evidence-Based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs: Legislation to Practice," the supplement to the Journal of Adolescent Health, describes the program from its inception through lessons learned during the first three years of implementation. The OAH TPP program also was featured in an independent report, "What Does it Take to Implement Evidence-Based Practices: A Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program Shows the Way," by The Bridgespan Group. The report concluded that the OAH TPP program is "a model worth emulating" for supporting the growth of evidence-based programs.
In May 2014, OAH hosted a live webcast called "Make the Connection: How Positive Youth Development Offers Promise for Teen Health and Teen Pregnancy Prevention." The webcast featured a panel of experts and reviewed the research on positive youth development, its value for teen pregnancy prevention and other adolescent-focused programs, how community programs are using it and opportunities for future research.
In June 2014, OAH co-sponsored a Teen Pregnancy Prevention Grantee conference with the Administration for Children, Youth and Families and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This was the first time we held a joint conference with all of the teen pregnancy prevention grant funding agencies and it was a great learning experience. The conference was an opportunity for multiple HHS agencies to collaborate in order to highlight their efforts to eliminate disparities, promote adolescent sexual health, prevent teen pregnancy, and to provide quality training and technical assistance to their funded grantees.
In July 2014, the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics released America's Young Adults, a special report with nationally-representative statistical information on the education, health and well-being of young adults aged 18-24 across the United States. OAH is a member of the Forum, a working group of 22 federal agencies that fosters coordination of efforts to collect, analyze and report data on child and family well-being.
OAH is working with AMCHP members, other professionals who work directly with adolescents and young adults, parents and youth on a stakeholder engagement strategy called Adolescent Health: Think, Act, Grow (TAG). TAG is a call to action for all who care about young people to promote and prioritize adolescent health. OAH is planning to unveil a new TAG section of the OAH website and additional resources in Fall 2014, so please stay tuned for more details!
Last but not least, the OAH website is updated on a regular basis and includes a number of useful free resources including:
All OAH activities are undertaken with the goal of improving the health and life situation of America's young people. As we continue to build on our work, I encourage you to join with us in this effort by signing up for our Adolescent Health Insider E-Updates or following us on Twitter.