- Getting Started
- Ethics & Compliance
- Research Directory
- Preparing for a Research Consultation
- Research Consultations
- Finding a Faculty Mentor
- Research Peer Advisors
- Research Grants
- Summer Opportunities
- Humanities Internships
- Community Service Opportunities
- Featured Projects
- Recent Recipients
- Undergraduate Research Journals
The growing population of adolescent girls in the U.S. with HIV and AIDS calls for a focus on sexual health. Economically disadvantaged urban teenagers are especially at risk for not only acquiring HIV, but girls are also at risk for experiencing a significant amount of physical and sexual partner abuse. Given the lack of current research on prevention interventions that tailor to adolescent girls and address the complexities of partner relationship dynamics, Dr. Anne Teitelman at the University of Pennsylvania has developed a new educational program. The program targets girls early, directed at ages 14-19, so that they may build empathy, self respect, and mutual respect in their relationships. She believes that adolescents, the foundations for our future generation of families, live in a crucial moment for reversing cycles of abuse and sexually transmitted disease.
Stand Up Together, an evidence-based intervention designed by Dr. Teitelman and her team at the School of Nursing, has been funded by NIH to undergo an evaluation through a randomized clinical trial. The curriculum, guided by health behavior and gender theory, is built from focus groups and individual interviews with adolescent girls, and extrapolates the attitudes, norms, beliefs, and contextual factors from this data and shapes it into a comprehensive educational tool. The curriculum consists of 10 hours of interactive small group activities led by an experienced facilitator which is delivered over 3 sessions, held once weekly. While currently in the piloting phase, Stand Up Together is being tested alongside Making Proud Choices and Healthy Lifestyles under a study called Talking About Health and Relationships. Making Proud Choices, developed by Drs. Loretta Sweet Jemmott and John B. Jemmott III (also faculty at UPenn) has already been proven effective in reducing the risk of HIV/STDs and will serve as a one of the comparison groups for Stand Up Together. Similar to Making Proud Choices, Stand Up Together was designed to be highly interactive with activities, videos, and discussion. A few differences between the two programs are that Stand Up Together addresses multiple partners and aims to reduce their numbers, and spends more time dealing with the inner workings of partner relationships. Healthy Lifestyles, the other comparison group, teaches a curriculum consisting of nutritional information unrelated to HIV, STIs, and sexual health. All three programs are thoroughly assessed, as follow-up surveys and interviews are completed after each session. Once 90 adolescent girls total have completed one of the three interventions, the data will be analyzed, and the Stand Up Together intervention will be evaluated.
Dr. Teitelman's research team is comprised of a range of students and faculty. The diversity of staff includes students coming from backgrounds from fine arts to nursing, and includes professional facilitators. I originally started off as a videographer for this project, but have since become a greater part of Talking About Relationships. As an Urban Studies major, I was able to gain credit for my work with Dr. Teitelman, and this summer I received a grant through the Provost's Undergraduate Research Mentoring Program (PURM) . PURM put value on my individual interests, allowing me to incorporate my strengths in my work with my mentor, Dr. Anne Teitelman while exposing me to a world of intervention research with youth that I previously knew little about. While I still utilize my A/V skills during the interventions, I have been given a bigger role in evaluating the acceptability of the intervention from the teens' perspective.. I am grateful for the opportunity to interview the girls and gain understanding of their lives, which fits well with my interest in documentary video. Being immersed in the academic world and learning the details of how research is conducted has awarded me a unique perspective and encouraged me to expand my education beyond a single area of study. As the nature of this project is greatly intimate and important to all involved, the experiences I have had and continue to have with people of different levels of privilege, education, attitudes, and beliefs evoke a remarkable kind of invigoration, curiosity, empathy, and dedication.