Dr. Patricia J. Kissinger, Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Epidemiology of the Tulane School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine (SPHTM), is the Principal Investigator of a teen pregnancy prevention randomized trial entitled “You Geaux Girl!” (YGG!). Dr. Kissinger, Dr. Carolyn Johnson (co-Principal Investigator), Dr. Gretchen Clum (Investigator), Dr. Aubrey Madkour (Investigator), and Francoise Grossmann (investigator), collaborated to design and evaluate this project, which is funded by Office of Adolescent Health’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative.
The YGG! trial is evaluating the efficacy of an online pregnancy prevention intervention, BUtiful (Be yoU!, Talented, Informed, Fearless, Uncompromised, and Loved), among African American women aged 18-19 in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes. BUtiful was adapted and translated from evidence-based HIV prevention program SiHLE (Sisters, Informing, Healing, Living, Empowering), and it is offered via the Internet. Internet delivery provides consistency in the presentation of information to those who engage and allows participants to access the information when convenient to them. In addition to health education, all participants enrolled in the study are offered free screening for pregnancy, Chlamydia, and gonorrhea.
From August 2012 through September 2014, 656 young women enrolled in the YGG! study and were either randomized to the BUtiful intervention or the nutrition and wellness control program. To recruit participants, study staff partnered with sites across the New Orleans metro area including Delgado Community College, Dillard University, Southern University at New Orleans, Xavier University, and various community based organizations. As recruitment has concluded, participants are at various stages of completing post-program follow-up visits. The developers and evaluators are hoping that BUtiful will prove to be an effective way to communicate information to young women about preventing unintended pregnancy and STIs, fostering healthy relationships, communicating effectively, and setting goals. If effective, BUtiful could be disseminated and used by schools, universities, community based organizations, and other youth-serving programs.