Letter in Support for Teen Pregnancy Prevention Funding

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TO:                Senator Chris Van Hollen
FROM:          Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore City Health Commissioner
RE:                Support for Adolescent Health Education

Dear Senator Van Hollen:

On July 6, 2017, the Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) received notice from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) that the grant period for the U Choose evidence-based program would be shortened by two years, which will reduce the overall funding for this program by $3.5M over two years. This change will result in reduced access to evidence-based teen pregnancy curricula for thousands of students in Baltimore, creating a vacuum of critical health education for thousands of vulnerable teens.

This cut in funding removes support to train teachers, provide materials, and building school capacity. In addition to teaching reproductive health basics including human anatomy and reproduction, it covers critical health education objectives such as assessing risk, long-term goal setting, and cultivating healthy relationships. Due to this cut, nearly 20,000 fewer students will have access to this curricula over the next two years. 

Furthermore, we are concerned about potential cuts to Title X funding, which supports comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services for women at clinics across Baltimore City. Title X aims to promote positive birth outcomes and thriving families through services that support healthy birth spacing and the creation of reproductive life plans.

As you continue advocating on behalf of our city and state, please keep in mind the devastating impact of these cuts. Any assistance your office could offer in restoring this funding would have an immediate and significant effect on the availability of this critical curriculum for our students. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 410-396-4387.

Sincerely,

Leana S. Wen, M.D., M.Sc.

Commissioner of Health

Baltimore City