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January 5, 2011 Judy Hughes
(502) 852-6171
judy.hughes@louisville.edu

CHAMPS program aims to reduce teen pregnancy, disease risk

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The University of Louisville will work with several community youth-serving organizations to help teenagers avoid unhealthy relationships and risky behavior, thanks to a five-year, $4.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

UofL’s Kent School of Social Work will use the federal grant from the department’s Office of Adolescent Health to test the impact of two teaching programs about teen risky sexual behavior, with the intent to reduce teen pregnancy, violence and transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. The program is called CHAMPS (Creating Healthy Adolescents through Meaningful Prevention Services).

The grant will serve more than 1,260 young people aged 14-19 who are involved in community-based organizations participating with UofL in this effort. Ten partner groups will participate initially – six serving urban youth, three serving immigrant and refugee youth and one serving former foster youths.

The young people will sign up to be in a relationship communication course, and researchers will follow up with them for several years to see which of two courses works better to cut down on harmful behavior. The courses are designed to promote healthy relationships, self-confidence and positive communication skills.

Course leaders will be trained this spring, and youths should begin participating this summer.

The 10 community partners so far are Americana Community Center, Gate of Hope, Jewish Family and Career Services, House of Ruth, Steward’s Staff, St. George Community Center, Canaan Community Development Corp., Neighborhood House, Presbyterian Community Center and the Department for Community-based Services and its contract agencies. In addition to Kent School researchers, the team includes faculty from Western Kentucky University and Spalding University.

The grant builds on recent work by and with the UofL Office of Community Engagement that focused on helping grassroots organizations better serve youth in downtown, western and southcentral Louisville.

For more information, contact Anita Barbee, the Kent School professor leading the research team, at 502-852-0416 or anita.barbee@louisville.edu

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