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According to the California Department of Public Health, Fresno County has one of the highest birth rates in the state. Statistics show more than 24 births per 1-thousand teens aged 15 to 19 from 2016 to 2018. This is concerning because we know pregnancy and delivery can be harmful to a teenager’s health, as well as their social and educational development. In addition, babies born to teen mothers are more likely to be born preterm and/or low birth weight. And teen moms tend to drop out of school.

A free program by Fresno EOC Health Services aims to help young people develop safe and healthy relationships and change those statistics. Assistant Director of Health Services Julio Romero says staff worked with the University of California, San Francisco and Youth+Tech+Health (YTH) to create the curriculum titled In the Know to appeal to today’s teens. “It was developed to fill the void that previous evidence-based program models (EBPM) create. ITK incorporates technology, websites, videos, and discussions to keep youth engaged and learning. This is not a lecture-style course that shames youth into changing their behaviors. Instead, ITK works with youth to express themselves in a safe environment that leads to growth and understanding.”

ITK covers topics including reproductive health, consent, abuse, sexting, and career readiness. For more information or to sign up for the next cohort, call (559) 265-5500.

About In The Know

The Personal Responsibility Education – Innovative Strategies (PREIS) team at Fresno EOC Health Services helped to create In The Know (ITK), a digitally enhanced curriculum in 2021. More than 1500 youth participated in a research study last year to determine the effectiveness of the new In The Know curriculum. Implementation occurred throughout Fresno County, both in-person and virtually, with 300 youth in 15 cohorts. At the moment, the data is being analyzed, and a report is being developed. The hope is that ITK will become an EBPM and replace previous curricula, which have become outdated and ineffective.

Since 2016, Fresno EOC Health Services has partnered with UCSF and Youth+Tech+Health (YTH) on the PREIS project and has just completed its 5-year project funding.

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