Graduate School of Nursing
Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Gender and Sexuality | Nursing | Public Health Education and Promotion
Like many public school systems across the country, cuts to funding have impacted the availability of sexual health education for youth in Barre, Massachusetts. Barre Family Health Center, a federally qualified community health center, in partnership with students from University of Massachusetts Medical School are attempting to fill the gap with Girl Talk!, a curriculum developed to promote empowerment, self-awareness and health to youth. Girl Talk! is a 10 week program for girls ages 10 to 12, focusing on sexual health while also promoting self-esteem, safety & communication through dynamic activities. We evaluated the efficacy of the program using qualitative interviews with participants and their parents. Based on initial data from the inaugural session, several topics have been added to the curriculum including bullying, self-harm, safe social media use, and eating disorders. We have also begun conducting a needs assessment for building a program to include boys, called Guy Talk!. This curriculum will parallel Girl Talk! with particular attention to the needs that boys have surrounding sexual health. To reach more of the community and make sexual health information more available to youth, we have developed a multi-faceted approach by building a partnership with the local high school, parents, and student groups. We feel this comprehensive approach to sexual health promotion in the community, which connects the local health center, high school, and youth is both sustainable and essential for the health of individuals, families, and community.
sex education, sexual health, adolescent health
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Graduate School of Nursing Publications
Bensen RM, Janssens C. (2016). Adolescent Sexual Health in Barre, Massachusetts. Graduate School of Nursing Publications. Retrieved from https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/gsn_pp/46