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First HHS Event in Recognition of Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month

BACKGROUND

On Tuesday, May 10th the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) hosted an event in recognition of Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month in the Great Hall of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Hubert H. Humphrey Building in Washington, DC.  The event theme Evidence + Collaboration = Better Outcomes was selected to highlight the coordinated efforts being undertaken at HHS to address teen and unintended pregnancy, which is one of Secretary Sebelius’ key inter-agency collaborations. This occasion marked the First Annual Federal Teen Pregnancy Prevention Awareness event.

OVERVIEW OF THE EVENT

Over 180 federal and non-federal stakeholders attended the 2-hour event and were welcomed by Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health.   Dr. Koh discussed HHS’s overall teen pregnancy prevention approach which involves partnerships in three key areas: investing in evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention strategies; targeting populations at highest risk for teen pregnancy; and increasing access to clinical services.  Stephanie Ventura, Chief of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, Reproductive Statistics Branch, set the stage for the event with a presentation on the latest trends and variations in U.S. teen pregnancy and childbearing.  HHS leaders participated in a panel to showcase a variety of federal initiatives that promote collaborative and evidence-based approaches to reducing teen pregnancy and improving adolescent health.  The six federal panelists included: Evelyn Kappeler, Acting Director, Office of Adolescent Health; Wanda Barfield, Director, Division of Reproductive Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Barbara Broman, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation; Marc Clark, Director, Division of Teen Pregnancy Prevention, Administration for Children and Families; Marilyn Keefe, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs, Office of Population Affairs; and Nancy Lee, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office on Women’s Health.  A question and answer session with the audience immediately followed the federal panel. 

Representatives from local Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program grantees, Sasha Bruce YouthWork and the George Washington University (GWU), provided a brief overview of their recently funded Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) projects.  The grantees shared key points about developing effective teen pregnancy prevention programs in their communities.  Sasha Bruce YouthWork mentioned the importance of collaborations across schools and non-profits and GWU stressed the importance of considering targeted and vulnerable populations when developing innovative interventions.

The event opened with a vocal performance from a member of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington’s Teen Arts Performance (TAP).  In honor of National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, the Bouncing Bulldogs, Youth Rope Skipping Demonstration Team energized the crowd with a jump roping performance to conclude the event. 

Throughout the Evidence + Collaboration = Better Outcomes event, HHS leaders emphasized the need for ongoing collaborations to ensure better outcomes on the social and health issues associated with teen and unintended pregnancy.  Many federal agencies have a role to play in preventing teen pregnancy, avoiding repeat teen pregnancies and assisting pregnancy and parenting youth.  More information about the event will be posted on OAH’s website:  http://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/index.html