Mississippi (MS) is a predominantly rural state having high rates of poverty and chronic disease, with 20.8% of the population living in poverty (below 100% of federal poverty level) including almost one-third of children. The state also has the highest percentage of African American population in the US. In 2016, MS had a high school graduation rate of 82.3%. In 2016, 71.3% of Mississippians who were 18 years and older were either overweight or obese and MS ranked nationally second highest in obesity and third highest in diabetes prevalence.
The purpose of the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) proposed Promoting Adolescent Health through School-Based HIV Prevention Act (PAH) is to enhance the quality of life for Mississippians by identifying behaviors and activities that lead to unintended risk factors and putting measures in place to decrease those unintended risk factors. The PAH project will survey local high school students, grades 9th through 12th using school-based surveys. Upon completion of the surveys, the state data will be analyzed and matched with national, other state’s data, territorial, and tribal government to see the overall results. The MDE Office of Healthy Schools (OHS) will lead the PAH project. The five-year work plan is built around the collaboration with our long-standing partner, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH). A statewide approach, using the CDC Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model, will be used to implement the three CDC strategies and coordinated activities and action items.
The MDE PAH project will collaborate with other states through Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (YRBS) profiles coordinator discussion group, The DASH Evaluation Technical Assistance Team, Westat, and other entities to help reach the goal of weighted data. These key school health stakeholders will serve as the catalyst for professional development (PD), training, and overall support. All selected MS school districts will be encouraged to participate in YRBS activities. This inclusive approach allows the MDE PAH project to maximize resources and facilitate the greatest impact on outcomes.
The expected outcomes are: Short-term Outcome (1 to 3 years): Have local school districts understand the youth risk behaviors and school health policies and practices by education and public health agencies and reduce the risks. Intermediate Outcomes (3 to 5 years): Have students master the skills and behaviors to avoid and reduce sexual risk, increase the student awareness of sexual health education and local health care resources, increase student testing among HIV/STD, increase parental monitoring and parent/student communication, and increase student’s connectedness to school. Long Term Outcomes (5 or more years): Have student increase contraceptive use, improve academic success, decrease sex without a condom, decrease risky behavior, decrease HIV/STD, and decrease the pregnancy rate.