Using data gathered from the evaluation of health education programs to make improvements is an important component of quality adolescent pregnancy prevention programs. That’s the conclusion of BCTR staff Amanda Purington, evaluation and research director of ACT For Youth, a BCTR project focused on positive youth development and adolescent health.
Purington presented ACT for Youth’s approach for collecting and using data for program improvement in May at the 2018 Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Conference in Washington D.C. The conference is sponsored by the U.S. Administration for Children and Families and Office of Adolescent Health. Her workshop was selected for the conference based on the work ACT For Youth does as part of New York State’s Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP).
“This conference was a great opportunity to demonstrate how we’ve streamlined our evaluation data collection process and describe how we’re working with practitioners to use that information to improve programming,” Purington said.
The presentation detailed an effective process to promote collaboration between evaluators, technical assistance providers and practitioners. The process uses online methods to collect program implementation data from educators and creates interactive data visualizations. It allows practitioners to explore factors that impact program retention and implementation, and encourages them to use that information to improve their programs.
ACT for Youth, funded by the New York State Department of Health, is working on several community-based initiatives that focus on adolescent sexual health promotion and youth development: Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, Personal Responsibility Education Program, Successfully Transitioning Youth to Adolescence, prevention programs for sexually-transmitted diseases, and the mentoring program Pathways to Success. The organizations that house these programs are diverse, ranging from large, urban hospitals to small community agencies. Each program incorporates positive youth development strategies into their work with young people.
ACT for Youth is a partnership among the BCTR, Cornell University Cooperative Extension of New York City, and the Division of Adolescent Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center.