Grant to Expand Reproductive Health Programming in CCS
Nationwide Children’s Hospital was recently awarded a $2.5 million grant to support and expand its school-based teen healthcare services within Columbus City Schools.
With partners including CCS, The Ohio State University, the City of Columbus and CelebrateOne, Nationwide Children’s will lead the initiative.
7,000 seventh and eighth-grade students in Franklin County are expected to be a part of the project, which is an expansion of the district’s Get Real program, first piloted in four schools last year through Franklin County Job and Family Services.
Earlier this year, the Commission on Black Girls released a report on the quality of life of Black girls in Central Ohio, reportedly the first of its kind in the country, that featured recommendations on providing more comprehensive health education for Black girls, including reproductive health.
That report noted that Black teens ages 15 to 19 are 2.5 times more likely to get pregnant than their non-Hispanic white peers, 76 per 1,000 population versus 30 per 1,000. And interviews with parents and caregivers uncovered suggestions to develop programs to teach hygiene and health.
This program will coincide with a new school-based health clinic and several programs over the course of three years.
OSU’s College of Education and Human Ecology will play a vital role in the evaluation of the project to determine the impact on Franklin County adolescents.
“This grant and our strong partnerships will allow Columbus City Schools to further close the health disparities in our community by improving and expanding services to more students throughout the District who might otherwise not receive it,” said CCS Superintendent and CEO Dr. Talisa Dixon.
“As the founder of the Commission on Black Girls, I am committed to supporting the social, emotional, and mental growth and well being of our girls,” said Columbus City Councilmember Priscilla Tyson. “[This] grant supports this vision by promoting health equity and providing girls the information that they need during a critical period in their life development, ultimately improving their quality of life.”
Get Real’s reproductive health and teen pregnancy prevention curriculum emphasizes social and emotional skills in healthy relationships and decision making. Now with the grant, the program will be implemented in 12 CCS middle schools in total.
In addition, Nationwide Children’s work will also include the creation of a student peer ambassador program, parent programs, summer programs and mobile health services.
OSU, along with Nationwide Children’s, will lead the research and effects of the program.
“Most programs wait until high school to address these topics; the fact that we have focused our project on middle school students makes this an innovative model for the nation,” said Eric Anderman, professor of Educational Psychology at OSU’s College of Education and Human Ecology.