The Future of IWES: Global Early Adolescent Study


BY: Danielle Broussard, PhD

Beginning in the Fall of 2018, IWES will transition its sexual health education programming away from the Believe in Youth - Louisiana (BY-LA) program to participate in the Global Early Adolescent Study (GEAS), which is a partnership between Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health and the World Health Organization. The goal of GEAS is to understand the circumstances and experiences in early adolescence that predispose young people to sexual health risks and promote healthy sexuality. There are currently nine GEAS sites around the world and our GEAS site in New Orleans, which is funded by the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, is the only North American site.

Through the GEAS, specially trained IWES Health Educators will continue to provide high quality sexual health education programming for our school partners, however, this new program will also include parent and student participation through surveys. Student survey topics include: family and relationships, puberty, health knowledge and behaviors, experiences of bullying and violence, mental health, romantic relationships, and attitudes about gender roles and expectations. Student follow-up surveys will also be conducted after one year and again after three years, which will allow IWES to assess the lasting impacts that our programming is having on young people.

The GEAS is not only a great opportunity for IWES to continue to provide sexual health education in a time of funding uncertainty, but it is also an opportunity for us to learn more about how to best serve our young people. We hope you will be as excited about the next stage of our sexual health education programming as we are!

IWES has already begun to schedule our Fall 2018 classes. Please contact us as soon as possible if you would like your school to participate in the Fall programming. Prior to classes beginning, schools must obtain parental consent for the program and IWES staff is required to administer a pre-class survey. To learn more about GEAS, please email Dr. Lisa Richardson or call (504) 599-7712. If you are a school representative and would like to schedule a meeting to learn more about becoming a GEAS school partner, please email Gabrielle Freels or call (504) 599-7712.