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JMU Awarded Grant for Development of Online Sexuality Education Program

The Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services at JMU has received $902,600 for the first of five years of funding to develop, implement, and rigorously evaluate an online sexuality education program for high school students. JMU is one of 13 recipients across the country to receive funding from the Family & Youth Services Bureau (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) to support research and demonstration projects implementing innovative strategies for preventing pregnancy among youth ages 10-19.

The project will serve multiple geographic areas in Virginia, targeting rural locales with high teen birth rates. While teen birth rates have declined across the United State, 57% of Virginia localities had teen birth rates higher than the US average in 2014; many more than double the US teen birth rate of 10.9 per 1,000 for 15-17 year olds and 43.8 per 1,000 for 18-19 year old females. The Virginia Personal Responsibility Education Innovative Strategies program (VPREIS) will partner with school divisions, juvenile detention centers, alternative schools, and Community Services Boards throughout the Commonwealth to evaluate the effectiveness of an innovative online sexuality education program among rural youth with elevated risk factors for experiencing or causing a teen pregnancy or contracting sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS.

The primary outcomes of the online program are to 1) reduce the frequency of sexual activity; 2) reduce the number of sexual partners; and 3) increase contraceptive use among participants. The secondary outcome is to increase adulthood preparation subject knowledge and skills among participants to include healthy relationships, healthy life skills, parent-child communication, and adolescent development.

A complete list of award recipients can be found at: