Despite record declines in the birth rates among teens in the US, racial/ethnic and geographic disparities persist. JSI Project Director, Jocelyn Chu, reflects after 5 years of leading a CDC-funded project focused on reducing teen pregnancies, about how we can continuing to these record declines among all ethnic groups.
Where teens live, learn, work, and play influence their sexual decision making and risk of teen pregnancy. Many teens live in communities where unemployment may be high, violence and substance use present, and housing conditions poor. However, there are also protective factors, such as goal-setting, family, friends, school, and resources designed to empower teens. Parents, schools, youth serving providers, community members, and teens themselves all play a role in promoting healthy teen decision making and preventing teen pregnancy.
This year’s APHA conference has provided me and my colleagues with an exciting opportunity to share our work in examining and addressing social determinants of health as they relate to teen pregnancy here in the United States.