By Jacqueline Howard
The Office of Adolescent Health's Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program currently funds 84 grants to reduce teen pregnancy across clinics, schools and communities, by implementing and evaluating prevention programs and supporting technology- and program-based approaches, according to the office's website. Their end date is now June 30.
Members of the Big Cities Health Coalition, a coalition of health officials from the 28 largest cities in the US, wrote a joint letter to Price last month urging him to reconsider the decision to cut the project period and funds.
The letter indicated that teen birth rates in the US dropped to a record low last year, following a long-term trend, and the letter suggested that reducing funding for teen prevention programs might reverse that trend.
"Cutting TPPP funding and shortening the project period will not only reverse historic gains made in the US in reducing teen pregnancy rates, but also make it difficult to truly understand what practices are most effective in our communities across the nation," the letter said.
Patty Hayes, director of public health for Seattle and King County, said she has seen the teen prevention programs have a positive impact in her community.
"We have been so successful in King County with our teen pregnancy rates reducing by 55%" since 2008, said Hayes, who also signed the Big Cities Health Coalition letter.
"If something works, you invest in it," she said. "We need for our community to respect science, to move forward with this and to make sure that we are not moving backwards. ... I'm very wound up about this."