A $2.8 million grant to the Baylor Teen Health Clinic will help gauge the effectiveness of a program that offers enhanced health and social services to pregnant teens, with the goal of improving their outcomes post-pregnancy.
The five-year grant is funded by the federal Department of Health and Human Service's Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Programs. It will support a study of 360 pregnant women between the ages of 15 to 18. Half the women will be in enrolled in a program that provides them enhanced services while the other half will receive standard care services.
"We're excited about this grant because it gives us the opportunity to measure the effectiveness of a program that we believe can lead to better outcomes for teen mothers and their children," said Dr. Ruth Buzi, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at BCM and director of social services at the Baylor Teen Health Clinic.
The outcomes the clinic is hoping to address include reducing subsequent pregnancies in teen mothers, reducing depression and partner violence, increasing vaccinations for infants and children, and increasing a return to school for the young mom.
The enhanced services will combine a positive youth development approach, which has proven to be effective in reducing risky sexual behaviors in adolescents, with a program called Centering Pregnancy. Positive youth development promotes qualities such as confidence and character in adolescents, while Centering Pregnancy is a group-centered model that integrates health assessment, education and support for young pregnant women. Similar services will continue into the postpartum period.
Teens in the standard care study group will receive traditional prenatal care and core services and case management through the prenatal and postpartum periods.
"No prior program has attempted to integrate positive youth development and Centering Pregnancy approaches during the prenatal and postpartum period," Buzi said. "We hope this approach will help adolescents be compliant with prenatal care visits and develop the skills to reduce risks that can compromise their health and birth outcomes."