Online Training and Support for Effective Implementation of RTR

Period of Performance: 09/01/2010 - 08/31/2012

$704K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Monarch Media, Inc.
406 MISSION ST STE J Array
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Principal Investigator

Abstract

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): HIV infection is still a serious public health problem with young people (14-18 year olds) in the U.S. Evidence- based curricula to reduce unprotected sexual risk-taking behaviors among youth have grown in availability and demand over the past 25 years. One of the most popular and nationally recognized of these curricula is Reducing the Risk (RTR). RTR is a 16-lesson, classroom-based curriculum that has been shown, in multiple controlled trials, to delay the onset of intercourse and reduce the rate of unprotected sex with high school age youth. Changing these behaviors is key to reducing the incidence of unintended teen pregnancy and transmission of HIV and STDs. Educators need skills-based training because research shows that curricula are more likely to be taught with fidelity and replicate positive student outcomes if educators are prepared and have the knowledge, skill, motivation and support to implement the curricula with fidelity (Ringwalt et al., 2003). Despite the known positive effects of skills-based training on implementation quality and fidelity, educators frequently do not or cannot acquire the training they need. Face-to-face trainings are extremely limited because they are time consuming to arrange, expensive to conduct, and often difficult to attend. Nor do they provide ongoing implementation support. The proposed Phase II SBIR will develop and rigorously evaluate the effectiveness of the online training and support system, RTRWorks!, to prepare school-based educators to implement RTR with fidelity. To test the effectiveness of RTRWorks!, we will conduct a pre-test/post-test randomized controlled trial, randomizing at the educator level to one of two arms: 1) the online training intervention arm;and 2) the community standard (self preparation) control arm. We will recruit 230 educators from across the U.S. to participate, with 115 teachers in each arm. RTRWorks! will provide a new online training model. If this model proves to be effective, it can be applied and adapted to other evidence-based intervention curricula across the full spectrum of content areas including adolescent sexual behavior, obesity prevention, and substance abuse prevention. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: HIV infection is still a serious public health problem with young people (14-18 year olds) in the U.S. During the past 25 years, significant progress has been made in developing evidence-based programs designed to prevent HIV and unintended pregnancy in adolescents. Given the recent failure of other promising prevention initiatives (e.g. vaccine trials and microbicides) the importance of effective dissemination and implementation of these evidence-based programs becomes even more critical. However, despite the known positive effects of skills-based training on implementation quality and fidelity, educators frequently do not or cannot acquire the training they need on these programs due to time, monetary or other barriers. The proposed online training program and support system, RTRWorks! will prepare school-based educators to implement RTR, a nationally recognized evidence-based program, with fidelity. If this model proves to be effective, the online skills-based training developed under this grant will provide an accessible, low-cost, "always-on" training and implementation support service.