In addition to working directly with communities to form partnerships, HHS frequently works on broader collaborative efforts to improve teen pregnancy prevention efforts. The following are highlights and updates of major partnership efforts by HHS over the past year.
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, a private nonprofit organization, was formed in response to the President's 1995 State of the Union challenge to parents and leaders all across this country to join together in a national campaign against teen pregnancy. Since its founding, the Campaign has worked in a nonpartisan, broad-based manner with all the sectors of society that play a role in reducing teen pregnancy including states and communities, faith-based groups, the media, researchers, parents, and teens themselves.
In late April, Secretary Shalala participated in a White House event with the First Lady to honor individuals and groups selected by the Campaign for their outstanding contribution to reducing teen pregnancy. In addition, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy released several publications highlighting the important role that peer influence plays in teen pregnancy including recent research findings and practical advice from teens to their parents and to other teens. These events, along with the Vice President's release of the new teen birth data on April 29th at a round table discussion highlighting promising teen pregnancy prevention strategies, helped kick off Teen Pregnancy Prevention month in May.
The Girl Power! Campaign. Since its formation in November 1996, the Girl Power! Campaign has successfully used multiple and varied partnerships to accomplish its goal of helping girls between the ages of 9 and 14 make the most of their lives. Because studies show that girls at this age have a tendency to neglect their own aspirations and interests, in addition to becoming less physically active, Girl Power! uses a comprehensive approach that addresses both health issues and the topics of self-worth, motivation, and opportunity. Given young girls' increased vulnerability at this stage to negative influences and mixed messages regarding health risk behaviors, the Girl Power! Campaign focuses on increasing their skills and competence in academics, arts, sports, and other beneficial activities. By encouraging girls to develop their skills and sense of self, Girl Power! hopes to decrease the likelihood that they will participate in risky and unhealthy behavior.
As a multi-issue, national public education campaign, Girl Power!, led by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, has partnered with many national non-profit organizations, including over sixty national endorsing organizations and 300 state and local affiliations, to develop and implement unique Campaign promotional materials, public service announcements, and an award-winning web site (http://www.health.org/gpower). The success of working together is evidenced by the thousands of Girl Power! community programs throughout the country.
This year, the Girl Power! Campaign has formed many exciting partnerships to help promote its message. In cooperation with Girl Power!, the Girl Scouts of the USA developed an official Girl Power! Girl Scout patch and accompanying guides to be used as resources for earning the patch. Through a unique partnership with the Women's World Cup 1999, the campaign promoted and distributed Girl Power! products at selected matches through the 22-day soccer tournament held in the United States this summer. Other partnerships include the National Family Partnership, Avon Running, the WNBA's Washington Mystics basketball team, and the American Association of University Women.
Future products of the Girl Power! Campaign include a Community Education Kit featuring resources for Girl Power! programs. The Girl Power! Campaign plans to continue working with various national, state, and local organizations to improve the future for all young girls.
Joint Work Group on School-Based Teen Pregnancy Prevention. With support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Adolescent and School Health, nine national non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are working together to help state and local education and health policy makers, school administrators, maternal and child health professionals, school health professionals, and other school personnel prevent unintended teen pregnancies. These organizations include the American Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP), American Association of School Administrators (AASA), American School Health Association (ASHA), Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), National Education Association (NEA), and the National School Boards Association (NSBA).
Through the Work Group, the NGOs and HHS learned about what their respective constituents needed to help schools implement effective teen pregnancy prevention programs. In its second year, the Work Group has been focusing on helping its constituents implement specific strategies to improve the effectiveness of programs such as collecting, interpreting, and disseminating epidemiological data about teen pregnancy; identifying effective school policies and programs; conducting outreach activities to parents, educators, and the public; helping schools engage parents in pregnancy prevention; helping schools work with community organizations in a shared effort; and helping schools implement youth development activities.