Monday, August 15, 2011

Pueblo's Teen Pregnancy Research Project

The findings from a recent study, titled the "Pueblo County Teen Pregnancy Study," conducted by John Snow, Inc., in Pueblo, CO about teen pregnancy were released on June 30, 2011. The study was funded by the Pueblo Department of Social Services through Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) funds.

Through focus group interviews comprised of teens in Pueblo, three social factors stood out:

1. Lack of consistent sexuality education messaging in schools and community
Focus group participants stated schools were the ideal place for sexually transmitted infections (STI) and pregnancy prevention education, yet they felt the two topics were not cohesively presented.

2. Lack of activities for teens
The report stated that boredom may play a significant role in a teen's daily decision-making process. One male interviewed stated "... because honestly, when I get bored I have sex."

3. High alcohol and drug use
The issue of alcohol and drug use was among the most commonly listed reasons why a teen would have failed to make an effort to prevent an unplanned pregnancy.

Through key informant interviews of adults from various agencies and organizations which work with youth in Pueblo, the following are the three most commonly shared statements:

The Pueblo community must help teens develop goals and aspirations.
Pueblo County teens lack a sense of self development due either to entrenched poverty or a lock of information about college or career options.

Open lines of communication
Enhance communication through school curricula, parent involvement, peer educators and a comprehensive marketing/social media campaign.

Importance of creating and developing community collaboration
Current community efforts have produced few results due to disjointed efforts and a lack of central leadership and direction.


1. Model Nationally Recognized Pregnancy Prevention Standards and Best Practices
Use information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health with the following four key components:
  • Evidence-based and evidence-informed prevention program implementation
  • Linking teens to quality health services
  • Stakeholder education
  • Sustainability of programs
2. Enhance Access to Reproductive Health Information
Increase knowledge in Pueblo, including for teens, of where to go for reproductive health resources and service through an advanced marketing campaign, social media with actionable objectives and opportunities for community collaboration.

Encourage a multi-faceted media campaign recognizing that not everyone in Pueblo has access to the internet.

3. Educate, Engage and Consolidate Stakeholders
Prevention information grounded in evidence-based and evidence-informed programming to educate, engage, and incorporate stakeholders in a cohesive and community based comprehensive plan to reduce teen pregnancy.

4. Address Access Barriers
Address transportation barriers by providing transportation to and from appointments for students, without relying on the bus system. Follow clinic best practices model. Reduce long wait time and increase number of users.

5. Enhance Teen Involvement in or access to Community Activities
  • Enhance future goals and aspirations for youth.
  • Develop a teen resource guide written by and targeted to teens.
  • Encourage the creation of peer educator programs, where teens are a resource to other teens and can share messages about the struggles of being a teen parent.

" The result is to use information from teens and community organizations to implement positive change for Pueblo concerning teen pregnancy and greater social issues", stated Dr. Christine Nevin-Woods, Public Health Director at the Pueblo City-County Health Department. "Teen pregnancy prevention is recognized as a winnable battle by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) when best practices are followed to assist communities where social burdens and high cost community can be reduced."

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