DC Teen Promise Project
Who We Are
We are a group of pediatricians, ob-gyns, and health professional students who are working to provide comprehensive sexual health education to adolescents in D.C. Health professional students from Howard University, Georgetown University, and George Washington University all volunteer their time to teach while under the supervision of attending physicians.
We aim to educate sixth-grade students in D.C. on how to:
- Identify healthy and unhealthy components of relationship & navigate uncomfortable situations
- Identify their values and stand firm in the face of external pressure
- Know when to talk to a trusted adult and feel comfortable doing so
- Become familiar with physiologic processes associated with puberty
- Identify possible consequences of sexual activity and how to navigate them
Why Comprehensive Sexual Health Education?
- Comprehensive sexuality education programs REDUCE the rate of sexual activity, sexual risk behaviors (number of partners and unprotected intercourse), sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and adolescent pregnancy.
- Young people are engaging in sexual activity at relatively young ages. According to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey: 32% of 9th graders in DC, 63% of 12th graders in DC reported being sexually active.
- Remember, talking about sexual health does NOT increase risk of sexual activity. Here is a study that suggests that comfortable sexual communication predicts less likelihood of risky sexual activity. We believe information is power and helps the students make appropriate decisions.
- Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) support comprehensive sexual health education.
American Academy of Pediatrics Policy
- Recommend sexuality education through 3 learning domains: cognitive (knowledge), affective (feelings, values, attitudes), and behavioral (communication, decision-making).
- The US has the highest rates of adolescent pregnancy among industrialized countries, 88% of births to teens age 15-17 are unintended.
- Children and adolescents receive sexual health information through media, peers, etc. multiple times per day and the quality of information varies.
- Per APP guidelines, the 11-14 years old visit should initiate discussions around puberty, sexuality, sexual feelings, pregnancy and STI prevention.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Policy
- Comprehensive sexuality education should be medically accurate, evidence-based, age-appropriate and should start in early childhood and continue through a person’s lifespan.
- Should focus on reproductive development, prevention of sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy, and teach about forms of sexual expression, healthy sexual and nonsexual relationships, gender identity and sexual orientation, communication, recognizing and preventing sexual violence, consent, and decision making.
About Our Curriculum
Our curriculum was created by OB/GYN and Pediatric resident doctors and medical students who were overseen by attending physicians. The curriculum was reviewed by sexual health education experts at GW’s School of Public Health and is based on OSSE (Office of the State and Superintendent of Education in D.C.) health standards and national FOSE (Future of Sex Education) education standards. The program is designed for students in grades 6 but can be adapted for different levels and types of learners, including those who are differently abled.
Typically, the eight lessons are delivered periodically throughout a standard school semester. However, we often adapt the lessons as needed to provide comprehensive sexual health education in single-day events. For example, we have presented at community health fairs and done overnight retreats for local Girl Scout troops.
For questions about the program or to volunteer, please contact district[email protected].
Additionally, if you are interested in bringing Teen Promise Project to your school or community please email [email protected].