Children's Hospital in Columbus will use a 2.5 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to set up an addtional school-based health clinic for Columbus City School students and expand a reproductive health education pilot program launched last year.
Mayor Andy Ginther say 4.5 percent of all pregnancies in Franklin County involve teen girls between the ages of 15 and 19. He says effective reproductive health education pays dividends for young people and the city at large:
“We know the evidence shows that decreasing unplanned and unintended pregnancies increases school attendance, increasing a students chance of graduating from high school on time. And we know all the research and studies show that if women wait just until their 20’s to start their families, there’s a greater chance that the child will not face the struggles of poverty.”
Medina Middle School teacher Linda Myers helped introduce the "Get Real" reproductive health program to her 7th graders. After some intial awkwardness, she says the students wholeheartedly embraced the program, and began sharing information with their peers:
“I had many students confiding in me after class, at lunchtime, sending me notes – talking to me about their personal situations.”
The grant money, along with funds from the city and other partners, will expand the pilot to include 8th graders. It will also create a 12th school-based health clinic, and develop peer ambassador programs, parent programs and summer programs over the next three years.