Last updated on July 2019

An Evaluation of Virtual Student Health Center Among Incarcerated Juvenile Offenders


Brief description of study

WestEd and its partners Efficacity and the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA), are conducting a randomized controlled trial of an innovative teen pregnancy prevention program, Healthy U, for youthful male offenders. This study involves male teenagers (age 14-19) at high risk for involvement in risky sexual behavior, including teen pregnancy. The innovative, non-curricular, technology-based intervention, Healthy U, is self-directed, low-cost, user friendly, and offers great promise in reaching incarcerated youth. The purpose of this study is to test this intervention on a population of young men incarcerated at the OYA who will soon be released into the community. The intervention is tailored to this population by updating the design, videos, and examples to best reflect the youth in the study, and OYA staff are being trained to facilitate the self-guided intervention.

Detailed Study Description

WestEd and its partners, Efficacity and the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA), were funded by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to conduct a randomized controlled trial of an innovative teen pregnancy prevention program, Healthy U (formally known as Virtual Student Health Center), for youthful male offenders to test the impact of this innovative, non-curricular, technology-based intervention, that is self-directed, low-cost, user friendly, and offers great promise in reaching incarcerated youth. Healthy U was designed to give adolescents and teens the tools they need to reduce their risk of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV, using a low-cost, transportable platform that is user-friendly for youth (and staff to oversee). In this project, we take the innovative Healthy U intervention and modify its implementation for juveniles in custody of a correctional facility.

This study involved male teenagers (ages 14-19) at high risk for involvement in risky sexual behavior, including teen pregnancy. The findings from this study are intended to contribute to research on both teen pregnancy and crime prevention. Teen parents and their children are at greater risk for subsequent criminal offending, and the children of teen parents also have greater risk of child abuse and neglect victimization. The current knowledge base suggests that youth exposed to the juvenile justice system have sex more often with more partners at a younger age and without protection (Bryan, Rocheleau, Robbins, & Hutchinson, 2005). This randomized study was designed to contribute to our understanding of what works with this population and to strengthen our knowledge base around developing and implementing technology-based interventions in a juvenile correctional environment.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT04027010

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