May is National Adolescent Health Month

A perfect time to highlight Healthy Futures of Texas’ role as a nationally recognized leader in the field.

Healthy Futures of Texas recently joined other community partners in a day-long dialogue with the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Population Affairs, Jessica Swafford Marcella, and her team. The session allowed us to provide insights from the frontlines of our work to ensure young Texans have equitable access to adolescent health resources.

Partnering for Teen Pregnancy Prevention Solutions 

The event highlighted the work being done by HFTX, the UT School of Public Health at Houston, UT Health San Antonio (UT Teen Health), and other San Antonio area partners to develop and implement evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention (TPP) programs funded by the Office of Population Affairs (OPA) federal grant.

Other attending partners included the University of Texas at San Antonio-Wellbeing Center (UTSA), Northwest Vista College (Advocacy Center), SA Youth, Live the Life Church, Rise Recovery, Girls Inc. of San Antonio, and YWCA San Antonio.

“Young people in Texas experience many challenges in being able to access age-appropriate and medically accurate sexual health education, and so it was especially rewarding to come together with other TPP grantees, community partners and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for OPA, and her chief of staff, to discuss both those challenges but also creative solutions to overcome them. It was clear throughout the day that collaboration and partnerships are a key way to move the needle on this issue, and our relationships (both at a local level and the federal level) were made stronger due to our time together.” 

– Sarah McQueen, MSW, Senior Director of Health Education 

During the day’s morning round table session, each grantee highlighted their TPP program. HFTX’s CEO, Evelyn Delgado, and Chief Mission Officer, Ginger Mullaney, shared information about HFTX’s recent merger, mission, and vision, and Program Director of Community Health Education, Bethany Luis, and Senior Director of Health Education, Sarah McQueen, spoke about the TPP programs in Dallas, San Antonio, and the Rio Grande Valley, and the unique needs of each of those communities.

Particularly in Bexar County, HFTX and UT Teen Health have collaborated for years to implement and replicate evidence-based programs through various federal grants. Leading the Steering Committee of the San Antonio Teen Pregnancy Prevention Collaborative, UT Teen Health, Healthy Futures of Texas, SA Metro Health, and Nurse-Family Partnership have dramatically reduced teen pregnancies in San Antonio since 2013.  

The session provided OPA Deputy Assistant Secretary Marcella with a deeper understanding of the work being done by the grantees and community partners. Conversation topics included staff safety, adolescent confidentiality, access to health care, and the need for more inclusive and expansive evidence-based programs.

In the afternoon session, Deputy Assistant Secretary Marcella shared information about the OPA’s Take Action for Adolescents Initiative that aims to ensure all adolescents in the U.S. have the safety, support, and resources they need to thrive and be healthy. The session focused on how to use the initiative’s Call to Action goals and toolkit to improve adolescent health in well-being in our community. 

“Meeting with Deputy Assistant Secretary Marcella was an important opportunity to highlight Healthy Futures of Texas’ key learnings around teen pregnancy prevention efforts, and to identify additional resources and training needs. It also allowed us to underscore our commitment to collaborating with community partners to improve sexual health outcomes for Texas teens.” 

Evelyn Delgado, CEO, Healthy Futures of Texas

In addition, HFTX recently partnered with UTHealth Houston to survey Texas school districts after the 2020 Sex Ed TEKS update to understand if and how districts were implementing the new standards and to research the impacts of the state’s opt-in policy. Partners at the morning roundtable were able to connect on potential collaborations and shared training needs.

See more images from the event here

Innovation Grant Opportunities for TPP Programs 

In the coming months, the OPA will be releasing Innovation Grants. TPP program holders and grantees are encouraged to apply and to think outside the box on how to serve our young people. Their site states, “Innovation is the ability to generate and execute new ideas—incremental, evolutionary, or revolutionary—and it starts with creativity. Creativity is the ability to look past the obvious—to transcend traditional ways of seeing the world to create something new.” – from IDEO. 

Watch this compilation video, “Advancing Health Equity through Innovation,” to learn more about how OPA integrates innovation into our grant programs.

For more information about HFTX’s teen pregnancy prevention efforts supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant, check out our Talk About It Texas program here

Healthy Futures of Texas (HFTX) continues to be at the forefront of providing young Texans with equitable access to sexual health education, resources, and contraception by delivering evidence-based programs. 

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