Part of adolescence is discovering and exploring sexuality. Through its community outreach programs, CHOP has guided teens on how to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) while navigating this issue.
The Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pediatric Care Center and CHOP Care Network Cobbs Creek primary care location have spearheaded a comprehensive, community-driven initiative focusing on reducing teen pregnancy rates as part of the Centers for Disease Control-funded I MATTER Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program administered by AccessMatters, formerly the Family Planning Council.
Teens in West and Southwest Philadelphia neighborhoods are the focus of the initiative, based on CHOP’s Community Needs Assessment. The goal is to reduce teen pregnancy rates by 10 percent over five years with an emphasis on raising awareness of the most effective evidence-based forms of contraception, including long-acting reversible contraception methods. CHOP works with community organizations to provide clinical services and resources at multiple sites that serve at-risk and marginalized youth.
A key component of the initiative includes the use of the evidenced-based “Be Proud Be Responsible” curriculum. Groups of teens meet at Karabots to discuss sexual health and contraception, led by trained CHOP staff.
To expand the reach into the community, a CHOP health educator works in the reproductive health resource centers at West Philadelphia High School and the Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Services Center, providing risk reduction counseling and education. Teens who need expanded clinical care services, reproductive healthcare, contraceptive management, and testing and treatment for STIs are referred to the Karabots and Cobbs Creek locations. There’s even a teen-specific family planning phone line to make it more comfortable for adolescents to make an appointment or ask questions.
Providers focusing on adolescent health also partnered with community leaders and organizations, through participation in town hall meetings, roundtable discussions, health fairs and various other community events to provide education and resources on reducing teen pregnancy and STI rates in the target community.
CHOP also provides reproductive healthcare and education to residents of Covenant House, a comprehensive community program that provides transitional housing for runaway, homeless and trafficked youth.