New Penn State program to combat rising teen pregnancy rates

August 18, 2008

New program is geared toward teachers and other community and health-care professionals

University Park, Pa. -- Teen pregnancy is on the rise once again. Nationally, the rate was up 3 percent in 2006 after 15 years of declines, according to the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pennsylvania, which has the 12th-lowest teen pregnancy rate among the 50 states, is now seeing the teen pregnancy rate begin to increase. To help reverse this trend and improve the overall health of Pennsylvania youth, Penn State has created the Pennsylvania Learning Academy for Sexuality Education (PLASE). The program is a collaboration with the Pennsylvania Coalition to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.

"Sexuality education is critically needed," said Patricia Barthalow Koch, professor of biobehavioral health in Penn State's College of Health and Human Development and faculty director of PLASE. "By pooling our knowledge and experiences, this statewide collaboration will have a significant positive impact on the health and well-being of Pennsylvanian youth through the efforts of our dedicated school and community professionals."

PLASE will provide education and training to Pennsylvania teachers, counselors, health-care providers and other professionals who present sex education to students, families, clients, patients and others. The academy is based in the Department of Biobehavioral Health in Penn State's College of Health and Human Development and is a collaborative effort with the Pennsylvania Coalition to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, which also holds an annual Teen Pregnancy Prevention Conference at the University Park campus.

The first six PLASE workshops, funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and offered through Penn State Continuing and Professional Education, will be delivered at Penn State campuses throughout the state this fall. The workshop "Risky Business: STIs/HIV and Youth" will beheld Oct. 10 at Penn State Abington; Oct. 13 at Penn State Fayette; and Oct. 20 at Penn State Wilkes-Barre. The workshop "HIV/AIDS in the 21st Century" will be held Oct. 13 at Penn State Mont Alto; Oct. 27 at Penn State New Kensington; and Nov. 3 at Penn State Hazleton.

In the spring, PLASE will present four more workshops focusing on other aspects of sexuality education, delivered through Penn State Conferences at the University Park campus. These workshops are partially funded through a grant from the Penn State Outreach Thematic Initiative Fund and will be held at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel at the University Park campus.

For information, visit online.

Penn State Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE) delivers professional development and continuing education to adult learners at locations across Pennsylvania. Degrees and programs for adult learners are available in a wide range of fields, including business, education, engineering/technology, health and justice/government. For information, visit online. Penn State Conferences plans and manages more than 300 programs each year, with enrollments of nearly 45,000. The programs represent the diversity and strength of Penn State’s academic colleges. For more information, visit online. Continuing and Professional Education and Conferences are part of Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education. Penn State Outreach serves more than 5 million people each year, delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and 80 countries worldwide.

  • IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 18, 2010