New support totaling $859,000 from the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Population Affairs will allow the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health to deliver its teen pregnancy prevention program, Respecting the Circle of Life, to more than 800 youth and parents in Chinle, Arizona, on the Navajo Nation. The center is based in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s department of international health.
The Respecting the Circle of Life program is the only comprehensive sexual health education program proven to work in Native American communities, which have the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the U.S.
The program includes eight lessons delivered during a basketball-based camp to youth ages 10-19 by Native American paraprofessional educators. A ninth lesson is delivered at home to parents, aimed at refreshing adults’ knowledge of reproductive health, strengthening interfamily communication, and reinforcing the need for parental monitoring.
As part of the project, the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health will evaluate the efficacy of Respecting the Circle of Life in Chinle through a randomized controlled trial. Earlier research established that the program is highly effective, and additional research will examine whether Respecting the Circle of Life can duplicate the results in other tribal communities, an outcome that could demonstrate the program’s sustainability and grow support for scaling to other indigenous communities.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on January 17