Mayor's new task force will build on city's success in reducing teen pregnancy
(4/28/2006) As National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Day is celebrated across the country on Wednesday, May 3, Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. has appointed a new teen pregnancy prevention task force to build on strides the City has made in reducing the pregnancy rate for teens.
The Mayor said the task force starts at a good point. New Haven has one of the lowest rates of births to teen mothers of any of Connecticut’s big cities. In 2003, the most recent data available, New Haven had 265 births to teens, compared with 317 in Bridgeport and 407 in Hartford. But the Mayor said the City cannot become complacent.
“We have done a great job in reducing teen pregnancies, but we cannot sit back. Despite our declines, we still know that girls are getting pregnant, and that it is happening most commonly between the ages of 17 to 19, mostly 18 and 19-year-olds. Since those teens are often out of school, the task force will look at ways to reach this population. Many teens just don’t think that pregnancy can happen to them.”
The City will mark the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy on Wednesday, May 3, 2006 at 11 a.m. with a ceremony at Hill Regional Career High School that will include students and task force members taking part in an online quiz to gauge how informed teens are about avoiding pregnancy.
In the meantime, the task force has had its first meeting and the Mayor and task force have decided to work on three primary goals:
• making sure teens have good access to care
• working with the schools on curriculum issues so the message gets to teens through school
• Stepping up targeted outreach to males. Although girls have traditionally been the major focus of efforts to prevent teen pregnancy, the importance of targeting teen boys and young men is increasingly apparent to researchers, practitioners, parents, and others who work with youth.
Coordinated by Community Service Administrator Sheila Allen Bell and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Reginald Mayo, the task force is co-chaired by Alison Moriarty-Daley, assistant professor and pediatric nurse practitioner at Yale School of Nursing, and Dr. Keith Williams, chief of obstetrics, gynecology and family medicine at the Hospital of St. Raphael. Moriarty Daley called the formation of the task force “an exciting opportunity to augment the health care and education we provide to teens in New Haven. Teens citywide need accurate information regarding pregnancy, contraception, sexually transmitted infections and HIV so they can make informed decisions about sexual activity and readily access comprehensive teen-friendly health care."
Nationally, despite recent declines in teen pregnancy and birth rates, nearly four out of ten girls in this country still get pregnant at least once before age 20, giving the U.S. the highest rates of teen pregnancy and birth in the fully industrialized world. Sarah Brown, Director of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, a non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Washington, D.C., issued the following challenge: "With nearly 900,000 teen pregnancies each year in this country - and with the number of teen girls aged 15-19 projected to increase by 2.2. million between 1995 and 2010 - now, more than ever, is the time to redouble our efforts in convincing young people that the teen years must be for education, having fun, and growing up, not pregnancy and parenthood."
About the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Task Force:
Co-chair Alison Moriarty Daley is jointly appointed between Yale School of Nursing and the Yale-New Haven Hospital Adolescent Clinic. She is a member of the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Specialty faculty and teaches Primary Care of the Adolescent and the clinical course Clinical Practice in the Primary Care of Adolescents. In her role as a PNP, she is the coordinator and clinician at the Hill-Regional Career School-Based Clinic and clinician at the Adolescent Clinic. Ms. Daley's publications and research focuses on adolescent primary care, particularly reproductive care and health risk behaviors of adolescents.
Co-Chair Dr. Keith Williams is Chair of the Department of Women's and Children's Services at the Hospital of St Raphael. He is a recognized leader in the field of high risk pregnancy, including teens.
Also on the task force are:
Carl Babb, Truancy Supervisor, New Haven Public Schools
Richard Bryant, Male Involvement
Joan Cooper Burnett, G Girls Inc.
Cassandra Burgess, Principal, Polly McCabe High School
Alicia Caraballo, Supervisor, Adult Education
Charelle Carr, student, Hill Regional Career High School
Carlos Ceballos, Supervisor, School Based Health
Maria Damiani, Director of Women’s Health, New Haven Health Department
Lorraine DeLuz, executive director of the Elizabeth Celloto Day Care at Wilbur Cross
Terry Freeman, Consultation Center
Anne Godsey, Girl Scouts, CT Trails, Inc.
Kerry Ann Hunter, student and teen parent
Dr. Brian Karsif, obstetrician/gynecologist and a consultant for state of Connecticut Department of Public Health. He is a consultant to the New Haven Health Department
Annie McGuire, Social Development, New Haven Public Schools
Jimmy Miller, Executive Director, New Haven Housing Authority
Alison Moriarty-Daley, Yale School of Nursing
Heather Reynolds, nurse midwife and on faculty at Yale School of Nursing, and Yale New Haven Hospital Women’s Center
Althea Richardson, Executive Director, Empower New Haven
Mary Russell, Project Director, Children and Family Services, City of New Haven
Amos Smith, Community Foundation for Greater New Haven
Dee Speese-Linehan, Supervisor, Social Development
Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo, Mayor’s Office
Barbara Tinney, Executive Director, New Haven Family Alliance
Monica Vidro, social worker at Yale-New Haven Hospital
Charles Williams, Supervisor of High Schools, New Haven Public Schools