ATLANTA – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded Fulton County Board of Health (FCBOH) a $1,971,822 annual grant to extend its Skills, Knowledge, and Youth Empowerment (SKYE) Program. The funding goes to SKYE over the next five years for a total award of $9,859,110 overall.
SKYE was one of only 53 organizations nationwide awarded by HHS to advance equity in adolescent health through Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TTP) programs. These programs target communities facing alarming pregnancy and birth rates, as well as high numbers of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and HIV cases among African American youth.
“As the largest public health district in Georgia, FCBOH is well-positioned to convene partners and address the needs of the youth we serve,” said SKYE Program Director Kristin Dixon. “For the past five years, the SKYE Program strategically developed this impactful initiative that has seen proven results. We are excited to continue this important work of addressing the urgent health disparities African American youth face in our community.”
This award recognizes the success and significance of SKYE’s current efforts establishing evidence based TTP programming to youth, their families, and communities in southern Fulton County. In addition, SKYE’s continued collaboration with a network of partners will promote increased awareness of and access to adolescent-friendly health services.
“These grant awards reflect the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to both sexual and reproductive health and to prioritizing health equity by centering the experience and expertise of the communities these funds are intended to serve,” said Jessica Swafford Marcella, HHS Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs. “The funded organizations will serve an estimated 210,000 youth each year and focus on reaching communities and populations disproportionally affected by unintended teen pregnancy and STIs.”
The pregnancy, birth, STI, and HIV rates for African American residents of southern Fulton County ages 15-19 exceed state and national rates as well as those of Fulton County Caucasian residents of the same age. Coupled with poor sexual health outcomes, the southern portion of Fulton County has poor corollaries in several social determinants of health: including high rates of poverty and unemployment, low education rates, neighborhood disorder, high violence/crime rates, and less opportunities for positive youth development.
Recognizing the urgent need for intervention, FCBOH plans to administer the SKYE Program at 61 sites in three different settings: clinics, out-of-school extracurricular programs, and schools. In the first year, SKYE seeks to serve 2,248 youth, 562 parents/caregivers, and 100 youth-serving professionals. SKYE further plans to expand its reach in the following years, serving 4,495 youth, 1,124 parents/caregivers, and 250 youth-serving professionals annually.
In addition to TTP, SKYE educates and empowers youth about their overall health and ways to prevent risky behaviors through personal development opportunities and resources to establish goals for the future. Its programming also provides supplemental services, including, but not limited to, financial support, resume writing, interview prep, college planning, leadership opportunities, and more. To learn about the SKYE Program, visit fultoncountyboh.com/skye.
The Fulton County Board of Health provides a variety of services that help protect residents from health threats, increase access to health services to improve health outcomes, and provide information that assists Fulton County citizens in living healthier lives. For more information on the Fulton County Board of Health, visit http://www.fultoncountyboh.com.