Stop Chlamydia A Gateway to STDs and Sterility | City of Ideas

Posted 11/28/2012 by Collaborate Boston Application

Issue to be Addressed:
Chlamydia is a silent disease and growing epidemic having grown 18.1% since 2008 .  The rate of chlamydia among boys in the Bowdoin-Geneva neighborhood of Dorchester, is twice that of the rest of Boston.  In 2011 there were 2935  new cases of chlamydia among males ages 15 - 19 in Bowdoin-Geneva compared to 1392 for the rest of Boston.  The consequences of untreated chlamydia are serious: sterility; a compromised immune system and increased vulnerability to sexually transmitted diseases (STD) including HIV and gonorrhea.

Chlamydia is an insidious infection that is asymptomatic, passing between sexual partners unnoticed.  When males do have symptoms, the most common ones are:
-Unusual discharge (thick white or watery fluid) coming from the penis
-Pain and/or burning when urinating
-Less common symptoms include:
o Heavy feeling and/or pain in the testicles
o Pain, swelling or redness around the scrotum

Project Proposed:
We propose to reduce the rate of chlamydia in boys living in the Bowdoin-Geneva neighborhood through a two-pronged approach that involves peer education and engaging girls as equal partners in establishing a social context for changes in sexual decision-making and behavior.

The core of this approach is a peer education model where older teens conduct workshops.  These peer leaders from Bowdoin-Geneva will have extensive training in sexual health education and facilitation.  These peer leaders will be able to positively influence younger teens (beginning at age 12) in a manner that reflects their culture, ethnicity, values, practices and experiences.  After-school and out-of-school time programming will be offered as a component of this model.
Establishing a social context for sustained improvement requires engaging girls.  “It takes two to tango.” Reducing the incidences of chlamydia is an issue for boys and girls. They each bear personal responsibility.  The rate of chlamydia among girls in Bowdoin-Geneva is also twice that of the rest of Boston.  In 2011 there were 8263 new cases of chlamydia among females’ ages 15 - 19 compared to 4032 for the rest of Boston. Girls will participate in the peer education model with the additional support of one-to-one mentoring.

Role of Collaboration:
The role of our collaboration is to implement a neighborhood-wide approach that will reduce Chlamydia (and other STDs) and sustain these positive outcomes over time.  We seek to be a model of effective collaboration among service providers that can be adapted and replicated throughout the city of Boston in a manner that incorporates the culture, ethnicity, values, and strengths of each neighborhood.
Boston Public Health Commission/Peer Leadership Institute (PLI)
The Peer Leadership Institute (PLI) trains high school students to become role models who promote positive behavior change among their peers. The PLI will deliver a series of sexual health workshops to youth, beginning at age 12, who live in Bowdoin-Geneva in single-gender and coeducational groups. The sexual health workshops cover such issues as puberty, self-esteem, refusal skills, contraception, and STI prevention, particularly Chlamydia. From the workshop participants, a cohort of peers who live in the neighborhood will be recruited and trained to deliver the workshops themselves, which they will do at community sites throughout the neighborhood.

Big Sister Association of Greater Boston
Big Sister Association of Greater Boston will provide mentoring services to girls in the Bowdoin-Geneva community.  Big Sister’s professional staff will recruit and train volunteers from corporate, university and community/civic partners; match volunteers with girls and provide on-going match support to help girls apply the knowledge and skills learned in the peer-led workshops for a minimum of 12 months or the duration of the match.  In 2011, Big Sister served more than 70 girls in Bowdoin-Geneva and more than 1900 in the city of Boston.  Big Sister will work in collaboration with the City of Boston to co-coordinate the project.

City of Boston
The Intergovernmental Relations Office will leverage multidimensional partnerships with the Mayor’s Neighborhood Response Team (NRT) to engage boys and girls in peer workshops, including those that are not engaged in any structured community/school programs.  The City will engage the Boston Centers for Youth and Families and the health centers located in the Boston Public Schools (BPS) to recruit youth, provide workshop sites and after-school and out-of-school programming (e.g. Holland and Cleveland Community Centers, and Frederick and Harbor Middle Schools).  The City, in collaboration with its partners, will conduct a marketing campaign to broadcast key messages to youth and the community.

Catholic Charities Teen Center at St. Peter’s
Catholic Charities Teen Center at St. Peter’s will be a peer education site and a site for after-school/ out-of-school programming.  The Teen Center, which has a dominant Cape Verdean population, will assist in recruiting both male and female peer leaders from its current high school members, as well as 15 -19 year old teenagers from the Bowdoin/Geneva community.  The peer leader’s involvement with this movement will be to help spread the knowledge about the devastating statistics and consequences of Chlamydia amongst their peers.

The Collaborate Boston prize would help decrease the incidences of chlamydia in boys and, in this model, girls – a two-fold return on this single investment.  Initially we expect to see an increase in chlamydia cases in boys resulting from increased testing, where data show that boys have significantly fewer physical examinations.  The longer-term results (over 3 years) would be a significant decrease in the incidences of chlamydia among boys (and girls).  We also expect that there will be additional benefits which include a reduction in the overall incidences of sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy and improved educational and social outcomes correlated to increased engagement in after-school and out-of-school time programming.
Collaboration and cost effective alignment of resources among service providers is a goal that is simple in concept yet complex to implement.  Our proposal aligns and builds on the core competencies of each participating partner. This prize would help us advance this effort and learn from a neighborhood-wide health improvement model whose framework could be used to replicate improved outcomes in neighborhoods throughout Boston

Other information:
This proposal builds on the foundation of peer-led workshops on sexual health.  At the conclusion of the 6-week session, boys will be referred to after-school and out-of–school programs in the community to support application of the knowledge and skills learned from customized content including respect and understanding consent.  Girls will be referred to after-school and out-of-school time programs and, in addition, they can be matched in a one-to-one mentoring relationship.  Research shows that relationships are paramount to solidify positive outcomes for girls.

Primary Contact:
Mia Roberts, Big Sister Association of Greater Boston
Mia Roberts is Vice President of Recruitment and Community Partnerships.  She is responsible for building collaborative partnerships that achieve improved outcomes for girls and recruitment initiatives that build diversity among staff and volunteers. During her 10 year tenure at Big Sister she has served as Chief Operating Officer with oversight of program services and internal operations. Prior to joining Big Sister, she served as Director and Senior Consultant for the Efficacy Institute, a non-profit education consulting firm.  Mia graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration.
Big Sister Association, an affiliate of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, serves more than 2600 girls annually in one-to-one and group mentoring relationships. Two-thirds of girls served live in Boston and 86% are girls of color.   Partnering with parents/guardians and more than 70 schools, corporations, universities and others in the community, Big Sister works to achieve measurable outcomes, such as educational success; avoidance of negative risk behaviors; higher aspirations, greater confidence and better relationships.

Partner 1:
Marie St. Fleur, City of Boston
Marie St. Fleur is the Chief of Advocacy and Strategic Investment in the administration of Mayor Thomas M. Menino.  In this role, she works to ensure that the Mayor’s efforts to coordinate educational, job creation and other initiatives are supported by local, state and federal programs and investments.  Specifically, she oversees the Mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Relations, the Small and Local Business Enterprise Office; the Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians, Boston Jobs for Boston Residents and guides several Mayoral initiatives, including the Circle of Promise and the City’s Haiti-related efforts.  Prior to joining the Mayor’s Cabinet, Marie was the first Haitian-American elected to state office in 1999, serving as State Representative for the Fifth Suffolk District (Parts of Dorchester and Roxbury). Marie is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and earned her law degree from Boston College Law School.

Partner 2:
Liam Day is the Director of Youth Development and Health Promotion for the Boston Public Health Commission. Prior to this role, he served as the Director of the Boston Area Health Education Center. He has in the past been a youth worker, a teacher, a school administrator, and served as Director of Communications and Strategic Partnerships for a public policy think tank. He has run and advised campaigns for state representative, Boston City Council and Mayor. His op-eds have appeared in the Boston Globe and Boston Herald and he is a contributing editor to The Good Men Project. He is a graduate of Harvard College and received his Master’s in English Literature from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College.

Partner 3:
Paulo DeBarros, Catholic Charities Teen Center at St. Peter’s
Paulo DeBarros is the Director of the Teen Center.  Paulo also serves as the President of the Board of Cape Verdean Community UNIDO. He has worked with the Cape Verdean community for the past 19 years in many roles.
The mission of the Teen Center is to provide education, enrichment, leadership development, and recreational activities to the adolescents living in or near Bowdoin Geneva.  Through the Teen Center, adolescents have academic and work opportunities, access to various support services, and a safe place to recreate.  Work and activities aim to provide the skills necessary for academic success, while increasing self-esteem and enhancing the perception of teens as a positive force in the community.  In addition to working with the teens, staff works with parents, police, courts, and school personnel to meet the overall needs of Teen Center members.

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