Research shows that many organizations do not use programs backed by research or do not implement them well even when they do. Recent RAND research has shown that organizations that use a RAND-created tool called Getting To Outcomes to run their pregnancy prevention programs perform significantly better and achieve more positive outcomes, compared with organizations that do not use Getting To Outcomes.
The "Getting To Outcomes Guide for Teen Pregnancy Prevention" is available for download for free at www.rand.org.
Following 10 steps outlined in Getting To Outcomes, the guide offers tools and instructions to help users assess the need for and select a strong teen pregnancy prevention program, and identify specific goals and outcomes. In addition, community leaders can determine whether there is sufficient fit and capacity to carry out a selected teen pregnancy prevention program, create a detailed plan, identify and use process and outcome evaluation measures, use the evaluation data for program improvement and plan for program sustainability.
"The Getting To Outcomes support has shown to be very helpful for community based organizations, who often face a lot of challenges running programs well without such assistance," said Matthew Chinman, a senior behavioral scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization.
The RAND team has been working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Adolescent Health to train their staff and grantees to use Getting To Outcomes. The Office of Adolescent Health is currently supporting 81 grantees that are expected to serve about 1.2 million youth over the next five years.
In May, the RAND team trained project officers from the Office of Adolescent Health to help grantees use Getting To Outcomes to make their programs run well. In July, the team had the opportunity to train the Office of Adolescent Health grantees directly to use the Getting To Outcomes tools in their programs.
"The Office of Adolescent Health's commitment to Getting To Outcomes signals their seriousness in addressing challenges that have hampered other similar large-scale efforts," said Joie Acosta, a co-author of the tool and a behavioral scientist at RAND.
The guide includes a pre/post outcome survey and an Excel workbook already set up to receive data from surveys and calculate change scores and graphs. Supplemental resources are provided at each step of the implementation process.
Designed for anyone planning, running or overseeing teen pregnancy prevention programs, carrying out the Getting To Outcome activities outlined in the guide will help organizations meet the needs of the youth and demonstrate effectiveness to funders, consumers and other stakeholders, according to researchers.
Getting To Outcomes is an evidence-based model for improving community-based prevention efforts for drug use and underage drinking, as well as teen pregnancy. Getting To Outcomes is a collaboration between researchers at RAND and the University of South Carolina.
Support for the creation of the new tool was provided by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Other developers of the tool are Patricia A. Ebener, Cody Sigel and Jamie Keith.
RAND Health is the nation's largest independent health policy research program, with a broad research portfolio that focuses on health care costs, quality and public health preparedness, among other topics.