For Immediate Release

February 27, 2008

New York, NY – Columbia University School of Social Work (CUSSW) associate professor Vincent Guilamo-Ramos and doctoral candidate Alida Bouris have authored a 24-page guide for practitioners to help Latino parents talk to their teenage children about sex.  The guide was written for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and its Latino Initiative, which was launched in March 2007 to increase national attention and action on teen pregnancy among Latinos.

“According to the National Campaign, 51% of Latinas are pregnant at least once by the age of 20. The Latino teen pregnancy rate is almost twice the national average and has declined about half as fast as the national rate. In addition, Latino youth also are disproportionately affected by sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS,” says Dr. Guilamo-Ramos. “Although the research literature on parental influences on Latino adolescent sexual behavior has grown in recent years, there isn’t a lot of specific guidance for how Latino parents should communicate with their children about sex. The primary messages that we wanted to convey to practitioners and parents is that Latino parents can make a difference and that there are specific communication and parenting strategies that can be used to help reduce the risk of teen pregnancy. The guide provides practitioners with a communication framework that addresses the content, timing, context, and frequency of communication and does so within the context of Latino culture. The guide is an important part of the National Campaign’s Latino Initiative and will improve practitioner’s ability to support parents in their efforts to keep their children healthy.”

“The guide is an important step in bridging the gap between research and practice by translating findings from the literature into practical strategies that practitioners can use to help Latino parents talk with their teenage children about sex,” says Alida Bouris. “The National Campaign is at the forefront of helping the Latino community address teen and unplanned pregnancies and at moving research into practice and community settings. The strategies in the guide can be used by a diverse array of practitioners working with Latino families throughout the U.S. Practitioners should find the guide useful in their efforts to work with parents to reduce the risk of teen pregnancy among Latino adolescents.”

The National Campaign will host a national conference call with Dr. Guilamo-Ramos and Alida Bouris on Tuesday, March 4, 2008 from 11:00AM to 12:30PM (EST). They will discuss their work and answer questions. To register for the event, please click here.

For more information or to interview Dr. Guilamo-Ramos, please contact Jeannie Hii at 212-851-2327 or jy2223@columbia.edu.  To download a copy of the guide, please visit: http://www.teenpregnancy.org/espanol/english.asp.

UPDATE: To hear the audio file of the conference call, click here.

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