Long-Term Partnerships to Support Youth


Public Health Problem

From 1990 to 2020, the pregnancy rate for Minnesota teens ages 15 to 19 decreased by 77%.1 The teen birth rate declined by nearly 75% over the same period.1 However, large disparities are common among American Indian, LGBTQIA+, and youth of color populations as well as youth in foster care, youth in the justice system, and youth in rural communities. These communities have higher rates of teen pregnancy, teen birth, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Tailored resources and interventions are needed to address the sexual and reproductive health care needs of adolescents in these communities.

PRC Response

Group of diverse friends standing against a white wall outside while sun shines down on them

During the 2014–2019 funding cycle, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the University of Minnesota’s Healthy Youth Development – Prevention Research Center (HYD-PRC) joined forces to improve teen sexual health. MDH implemented the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) and partnered with HYD-PRC to provide training and technical assistance, which continues today.

Administered in Minnesota since 2013, PREP addresses STI prevention, teen sexual health, and teen pregnancy. The program supports young people ages 10 to 19 who are homeless, in foster care, pregnant, or parenting; who are living in juvenile detention centers, rural areas, or geographic areas with high teen birth rates; or who are from racial or ethnic minority groups.

“High quality sexuality education helps young people become healthy adults, perform better academically, develop healthy relationships, and delay initiation of sexual activity.”

Jill Farris, UMN HYD-PRC, 2022


In 2015, HYD-PRC trained 622 public health professionals, 465 public health students, and 264 health care practitioners. These trainings resulted in positive outcomes for young people.

five high schoolers walking down a corridor at school while talking to each other.

Among PREP participants:

  • 67% described the PREP materials as interesting.
  • 74% thought the material was clearly presented.
  • 40% were less likely to have sex.
  • 56% were more likely to use birth control.
  • 62% were more likely to use a condom.

Using data from MDH and other sources, the HYD-PRC develops and disseminates an annual report on the sexual and reproductive health of Minnesota’s young people. Findings reveal that adolescent sexual health is more than just the absence of pregnancy, early childbearing, or infection. While PREP has contributed to sexual health in this age group, young people still need to be supported in their physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development in combination with other knowledge and skills needed to navigate their teen years.

HYD-PRC partnerships with youth-serving organizations in urban and rural areas continue to be a core priority for the center. Current projects are focused on building relationships and providing adolescent sexual and reproductive health resources to providers in rural Minnesota.

  1. University of Minnesota Healthy Youth Development – Prevention Research Center. 2022 Minnesota Adolescent Sexual Health Report. Available at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ht33iqabtbwfh1v/AAB2hLzZdj2tDyuZyAOBr7Zha?dl=0&preview=2022+ASHR+FINAL.pdf. Accessed December 1, 2022.