Sexual & Reproductive Health
The Trump administration cut $213.6 million in teen pregnancy prevention programs at over 80 organizations and academic institutions around the country. Unfortunately, funding for one of our Center’s important programs was included.
In 2015, our Center received a five-year grant from the Office of Adolescent Health as the only program for Native American adolescents in a national evaluation of innovative approaches to prevent teen pregnancy. The program, called Respecting the Circle of Life, uses skill building, role playing, and education taught during a summer basketball camp to bring about behavior change. Boys and girls at the camp learn about anatomy, reproduction, and the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, as well as strategies for healthy communication with partners and parents.
Using the results the program's five-year evaluation, we hoped to scale Respecting the Circle of Life to tribal communities around the country. With this loss of the remaining funding, Respecting the Circle of Life is in danger of ending completely and without the necessary evaluation for scaling completed.
There is a great need for this work:
- Nationally, nearly half of all Native women have children as adolescents.
- In Arizona, where our tribal partner for this project resides, $240 million is spent annually on teen childbearing.
- It is difficult for teen mothers to finish school and climb out of the grinding poverty impacting 50% of the people in the communities we serve.
We are fighting to save this critical program that empowers Native adolescents to make healthy choices for their future. We are reaching out to members of Congress as well as national foundations and others who care about reproductive health.
With hope and gratitude,
Lauren Tingey, PhD, MPH, MSW
Associate Director, Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health
Allison Barlow, PhD, MPH, MA
Director, Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health
A photo from a Respecting the Circle of Life camp. The participating teens had fun while learning essential reproductive health information and skills.