CASE STUDY: Project U
Program Planning, Implementation, & Evaluation / 2011-present
Teens are among the most likely to become infected with sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and are at high risk for asthma, alcohol and tobacco use, and unplanned pregnancy. They are also increasingly at risk for chronic diseases linked to obesity such as hypertension and diabetes. Despite a growing need for comprehensive, sustained health education targeting youth, health education is under threat of elimination from the school district curricula in California and across the country.
Sentient Research partnered with the Los Angeles Unified School District to develop and evaluate a program to tackle these issues. Utilizing multiple program components, including mobile phone technology, the web, social marketing, youth leadership development, and outreach, Project U delivers peer-created content and services to youth on demand. Key features of the program include the ability to opt-in to receive weekly text messages on a number of different health topics, the ability to search for health terms from any cell phone, the ability to order free condoms by sending in a text message, and a website with extensive information on health issues facing young people with links to local resources such as the free I Know home STI test kit. By meeting teens where they already are, that is, on their mobile phones and the web, Project U empowers young people to make healthier decisions for themselves and their relationships.
Moreover, the Project U model is highly scalable, and was created to enable other jurisdictions to take advantage of all of its features and content for a small fraction of the cost of building the program from the ground up. Available features will include health content, blog, expert chats, and a suite of evaluation tools. If you’re interested in joining Project U, contact us!