Year of Publication



Public Health

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Richard Crosby, PhD

Committee Member

Corrine Williams, ScD, MS

Committee Member

Linda Alexander, EdD


WNC Healthy Teens is a multi-component, community-based teen pregnancy prevention initiative. The program will be targeted in rural areas of Buncombe and Henderson Counties that have aggregate rates showing that over half the population of women aged 15-19 years are giving birth. Sexual education is necessary, but not sufficient to preventing risky sexual behaviors1. Tying multiple levels of evidence-based school interventions together with standardization of adolescent sexual health care will provide a well-rounded approach to address teenage pregnancy. Starting the initiative at age 14, it is anticipated the majority of teens will have yet to initiate sexual activity. Reducing the Risk will be utilized as a sexual education curriculum in 9th-grade health and gym classes. This program has been shown to delay initiation of sexual activity and increase knowledge of condom and contraception use2. The Teen Outreach Program is a community engagement intervention that has been shown to reduce health and academic risk factors, including significant decreases rates of teen pregnancy3. Lastly, bringing local healthcare providers together to standardize adolescent healthcare will be essential to providing resources and trusted services to the teens involved in the initiative. All components will be evaluated for consistency and fidelity, as well as health outcomes. Evaluation will include comparison schools that are similar to implementation sites to ensure improvement is associated with the initiative and not outside factors. The Mountain Area Health Education Center will coordinate planning, implementation, and evaluation with the assistance of local health departments.

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