The purpose of this project is to develop a peer-based educational intervention to improve knowledge, attitudes, and uptake of the most effective contraceptives for teenagers, long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC). This project will be the first to use peer narratives to increase teenage contraceptive use, which is highly dependent on peer influences.1-10 Dr. Patel is a board-certified obstetrician gynecologist who has published 9 articles on contraceptive research11-19 and independently secured funding for one of her projects through the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists.15 Dr. Patel proposes to use a detailed career development plan involving obtaining an MPH, attending local and national seminars and conferences, obtaining one-on-one mentoring, writing manuscripts, and participating in hands-on research activities. These activities will allow her to establish a deeper understanding of qualitative methods, theoretical models of health behavior, and statistical tools. Dr. Patel's advisory committee will consist of a primary mentor (Dr Abbey Berenson, MD, PhD) and 2 co- mentors (Dr. Deborah Thompson, PhD, and Dr. Peggy Smith, PhD). Dr. Berenson is a pediatric obstetrician gynecologist at UTMB with more than 20 years of experience in adolescent contraceptive research, having maintained federal support since 1994. Dr. Thompson is a senior faculty member at the Baylor College of Medicine with more than 15 years of experience leading research in designing and testing web-based programs to promote positive behaviors in children and adolescents. Dr. Thompson has received funding through the NIH and USDA, including 2 R01 awards. Dr. Smith is a professor in the Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Psychology, and Pediatrics at the Baylor College of Medicine and is the director of the Baylor Teen Health System, a system of 10 clinics that provides adolescent healthcare annually to more than 20,000 inner city teens across the Houston metropolitan area. The proposed project will obtain testimonials on LARC use, via semistructured interviews from teenagers who use LARC. These testimonials will then be narrated by teen actors and converted into professional videos. Teen focus groups will be used to choose the most culturally effective narratives for the final intervention. These videos will be uploaded onto an electronic tablet so they can be viewed conveniently in a pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT). Future application through a web-based platform or delivery in nonmedical facilities can increase viewership and promote preventive healthcare in the community setting. The combination of experiences from this research project and the resources described in the career development plan will enable Dr. Patel to complete an R01 application to perform a larger RCT to test the intervention, leading her to an early career as an independent investigator.
This innovative project will investigate the feasibility of developing and administering peer-based narratives to increase the use of highly reliable contraceptives among teenagers. Using narratives to increase contraceptive use among teenagers has great potential since contraceptive decision making is based on peer influence. This project will create an electronic file that can easily be viewed on electronic tablets and web-based applications; thus, its potential to prevent teen pregnancies is far reaching.