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Populations and Health Problems

Child and Adolescent Health
Childhood and adolescence are periods when social and behavioral factors are particularly powerful determinants of health. It is also a period when life-long health behaviors are established. CHC faculty are developing a comprehensive science and policy agenda examining determinants of health, health behaviors, and the efficacy of multilevel interventions to improve the health of diverse populations of children and adolescents. Key issues include:

Improving our understanding of the social, economic, and environmental threats to the health of children and adolescents, and the development of health and social policies to ameliorate these threats.
Understanding violence in diverse populations and mechanisms to develop alternative violence prevention programs.
Preventive services interventions in managed care settings.
Adolescents' access and utilization of more traditional health services and alternative venues (e.g. school classes, family planning clinics).
Adolescents' access and utilization of more traditional health services and alternative venues (e.g. school classes, family planning clinics).
Reproductive health: STD and pregnancy prevention, identification, treatment and intervention from the basic biological and behavioral science level to clinical trials of behavioral interventions in culturally appropriate community based and clinical settings.

In March 2002, Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, PhD was funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human development for a 4 year study of Adolescent Risk Judgments and HIV Risk. The most rapidly growing subgroup in the AIDS epidemic are young adults, with the majority of HIV transmission occurring through sexual activity during adolescence.  This study will use a prospective, longitudinal methodology to determine whether low risk judgments motivate behavior or are reflective of behavioral experiences.  The relationship between risk behavior and sexual behavior will be analyzed by gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and development.

In Spring 2002, Jeanne M. Tschann, PhD (PI) and Elena Flores, PhD (co-PI) received $3.4 million for a 5 year study to examine the impact of sexual relationship dynamics on condom use among Mexican American and Central American adolescent heterosexual partners.  The proposed research is among the first empirical studies to examine how relationship dynamics such as relative power and influence strategies are related to condom use among Latino adolescents.  It is also among the first studies of HIV risk behavior to include both sexual partners, an approach that will provide more complete information about relationship dynamics, and will facilitate the development of couple-based interventions.  The results will provide critical information to refine STD/HIV interventions that teach safer sex negotiation skills, and to develop culturally appropriate interventions for Latino adolescents. 


Links:
Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies
National Adolescent Health Information Center



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