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The University of Utah

Name of OMH Grant Program:  Youth Empowerment Program
Initial Year of Funding:  FY 2009
Project Period (Number of Years):  3


  1. Grantee Organization Name:  The University of Utah
  2. Organization Address (Street, City, State, Zip):  395 S. 1500 E., Salt Lake City, UT 84112
  3. Organization website URL (if any): Exit Disclaimer
  4. Brief Description of the Organization:  The University of Utah (U of U) has expertise in family-based programming, substance abuse prevention, case management, HIV prevention, intimate partner violence, opportunities for higher education, and overall coordination of fiscal and programmatic services.


  1. Title of Grant Project: Youth Empowerment Program for Hispanic Teen Moms and Their Families
  2. Amount of OMH Award:  $300,000
  3. Name of Project Director:   Rosemary Alvarado

Brief Description of the Grant Project

The Hispanic Teen Moms and Their Families project offered teen Latina mothers enrolled in an alternative high school the tools they need to take a path in life that helps them achieve their goals. The project was designed to address the myriad of factors that face an extremely high-risk population of young female Hispanic parents.  This project viewed teen mothers as being at a crossroad where choices and personal responsibility for their future is foremost; if they do not choose responsibility, they find themselves and their young child at the highest risk possible for extreme poverty and an extremely unhealthy lifestyle. University of Utah utilized a highly innovative, intensive family-based approach designed to empower these young women at high risk of unhealthy life styles, to achieve their full potential by building resilience, leadership skills, and a positive orientation to their academic and personal success. Specifically, 30 young female Hispanic parents (ages 14-16) were recruited to learn to embrace healthy choices, avoid alcohol and illegal substances, and prevent HIV and STDs, future unintended pregnancies, and intimate partner violence. The objectives of the Hispanic Teen Moms and Their Families project encompassed eight distinct areas, including academic enrichment, cultural enrichment, life skills, career development, personal development, wellness, injury prevention, and disease prevention.

The expected outcomes of the project included increased rate of grade promotion among participants; positive changes in decision-making, problem solving, and communication skills; increased sense of cultural pride; increased number of high school graduates who take an entrance exam for higher education; improved nutrition and recreation activities; decreased exposure to intimate partner violence; decreased number of reported STIs;, and decreased alcohol and/or drug use.

The grantee employed a pre-post design with a comparison group. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected using a standardized test to measure and track participant academic skills. Qualitative data were also collected from clients via phone interviews with a convenience sample of young mothers that participated in the program. A customer satisfaction survey was also fielded to participants of the job interview/resume-writing workshops. Pre- and post-intervention surveys were fielded to those who participated in the heart disease and pregnancy prevention training sessions. The post survey was also fielded to a comparison group of young mothers in a comparison school district.

Key program findings reported throughout the grant period:

  • Improvement in nutrition and recreation activities. More participants reported consuming five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day at post-test than at pre-test. Additionally, more participants reported meeting physical activity recommendations at post-test than at pre-test.
  • Improvement in graduation rates. The rate of graduation among those eligible to graduate increased from 72 percent to 83 percent from 2011 to 2012.
  • Reduction of repeat pregnancies. At the end of the funding period, 9.9 percent of participants had a repeat pregnancy, which is lower than the previous 18 percent overall rate of repeat pregnancies among Hispanic mothers 19 years of age and younger in Salt Lake County.
  • Improvement in psychosocial factors. Significant increases were achieved from baseline to 24 months in problem-solving, self-confidence, personal development and wellness, and self-efficacy.


  • Health System and Life Experience: Improve health and healthcare outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities and for underserved populations and communities


  • PA-3.1  Increase the proportion of adolescents who meet current Federal physical activity guidelines for aerobic physical activity
  • PA-8.2.3  Increase the proportion of adolescents in grades 9 through 12 who view television, videos, or play video games for no more than 2 hours a day
  • PA-8.3.3 Increase the proportion of adolescents in grades 9 through 12 who use a computer or play computer games outside of school (for nonschool work) for no more than 2 hours a day

Content Last Modified: 1/3/2014 2:38:00 PM
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