For Immediate Release

January 3, 2007

New York, NY – Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, an associate professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work,has received a three year, $650,000 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. The grant will be used to develop a social work intervention to improve parent-adolescent communication and to prevent adolescent sexual risk behavior among Latino and African American youth.

The goal of the research program is to develop a practical, effective,and cost-efficient parent intervention that can be used in health care settings that will reach large numbers of parents and prevent premature adolescent sexual activity. “Social workers provide a critical set of services in healthcare settings across the country,” saysVincent Guilamo-Ramos, “The research gives us an important opportunity to demonstrate the efficacy of social workers and their interventions. The intervention we are proposing will allow us to formally document how social work can promote the health and well-being of Latino and African American adolescents and their families.”

The proposed intervention, which targets mothers and their teenage daughters, is unique in several ways. First, the intervention will take place in a primary healthcare clinic when physicians see adolescents for their annual physical exams. Second, the intervention will be coordinated and delivered by social workers who are placed in the healthcare setting. A mother who accompanies her adolescent to his or her annual physical examination will meet with a social work interventionist while her child sees the physician. At the conclusion of the face-to-face intervention session, the mother will be given a family handbook and activity book to take home to facilitate discussions and family “homework assignments” about sex with her adolescent. The social work interventionist will maintain contact with the family at predetermined intervals in order to support use of the family manual and completion of the parent-adolescent activities.

The research will lead to and provide evidence for a subsequent proposal to conduct a large-scale clinical trial. The project is set to begin in January 2007 and will conclude in 2010.

For more information or to interview Dr. Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, please contact Jeannie Yip at 212-851-2327 or jy2223@columbia.edu.

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