case study

School Health Programs

We’ve evaluated CDC-funded adolescent and school health programs in the LAUSD for over a decade

Client: Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)

The Issue

The CDC funds school districts across the country to implement programs for sexual health education, HIV/STI testing, and safe and supportive environments.

These programs are affected by issues ranging from teacher professional development to student attitudes and utilization of sexual health services.

The Outcomes

Since 2007, we have provided numerous evaluation services for the country’s second largest school district.

Our work has included evaluating dozens of teacher trainings, conducting 28 student focus groups, and supporting a peer-delivered survey in multiple schools.

We regularly report performance measures to CDC and work with LAUSD to improve their programs and services.


Using Focus Groups to Assess and Improve Sexual Health Services in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Plant A, Montoya J, Snow E, Greenblatt BD, Kordic T. Presented at: 2018 STD Prevention Conference; August 27-30, 2018; Washington, DC.

Providing inclusive care for LGBTQ patients at school-based health centers: An evaluation of clinical staff trainings, Los Angeles, 2016.
Roush S, Uysal J, Plant A, Kordic T. Presented at: American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting; November 4-8, 2017; Atlanta, GA.


Using Qualitative Research to Improve Sexual Health Services for Students in the Los Angeles Unified School District
Plant A, Montoya J, Renteria R, Wasson E, Kordic T. Presented at: 2016 STD Prevention Conference; September 20-23, 2016; Atlanta, GA.

21st century sex ed in and out of the classroom
Kordic T, Plant A, Montoya J. Presented at: 5th Annual Information Science and Information Studies Conference on New Media, Youth, & Sexual Health; April 1-3, 2012; San Francisco, CA.

LAUSD Provides Comprehensive Health Education and Services to Students

Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is a national leader in providing excellent health education and health services to students. Within the LAUSD, their Health Education Unit provides health programs and services for over 700,000 students, 90% of whom are youth of color. The unit’s mission is to improve the quality of instruction by providing a range of services including professional development for teachers, providing resources for health education teachers, facilitating speaker’s bureaus, and providing parent education. The Health Education Unit manages all student sexual health education for the district, as well overseeing safe and supportive environments, substance use education, healthy relationships, and all other health topics. This unit also administers the biannual Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) and School Health Profiles (Profiles) survey.

For over a decade, we have helped LAUSD evaluate and improve health education and student health services.

Since 2007, Sentient Research has provided a range of program evaluation services to support the district’s mission, including designing and implementing surveys for teacher trainings, analyzing data, and preparing numerous reports for LAUSD and the CDC. As part of these duties, we have served as the independent program evaluator for the district’s CDC Division of Adolescent and School Health initiatives (PS-13-1308 and PS18-1807). These programs fund sexual health education and services for over 200,000 middle and high school students.

Our LAUSD studies have focused on wide range of issues, including HIV, STIs, LGBTQ health, and increasing use of services in school wellness centers.

Under this funding, we created an online data collection tool to facilitate collection of required data by LAUSD staff. These data include HIV and STI testing data from school wellness centers, as well as district and school-level data. We have also conducted several rounds of student focus groups on topics such as STI testing, bullying, substance use, and HIV prevention, and supported school health ambassadors in implementing student health surveys in over 10 schools. In particular, many of our studies have focused on ways to improve health services for LGBTQ students in the district. The results of these evaluation efforts have been used by the district to continually improve their education programs and health services for students.