Featured Project
True You Maryland

Bringing together partners in six rural Maryland counties to advance the sexual health and well-being of youth here at home.

Where We Started

Young people in rural counties experience a range of health disparities. That’s because rural communities often face challenges that make it harder to access quality sexual and reproductive health care and education, such as the distance required to travel to see a healthcare provider, the lack of public transportation, higher poverty rates, and lower rates of insurance coverage.

True You Maryland prioritized its partners by determining the areas of greatest need in the state.

True You Maryland aims to achieve a…

  • 15% reduction in Maryland rural county birth rates; a
  • 10% reduction in Maryland rural county youth STI rates; and a
  • 20% reduction in racial disparities in Maryland rural county teen birth and STI rates.

What It Is

True You Maryland brings together partners in six rural Maryland counties—Allegany, Washington, Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester. Together, we’re working to advance the sexual health and well-being of youth here at home.

We know it takes more than just one program or one campaign to make change. That’s why all True You counties rely on diverse teams, bringing together young people, parents, health departments, local school systems, universities, community programs, and systems not typically engaged in adolescent health initiatives.

    Why It Matters

    All young people have the right to the information and skills they need to protect their health. They deserve age-appropriate, medically accurate information. Young people deserve answers to their questions about sex and relationships, free of shame and stigma no matter who they are, where they live, or what their income is.

    Decades of research has found that in addition to helping to improve sexual health outcomes (such as reducing STIs and unplanned pregnancies), sex education can help prevent child sex abuse, create safer school spaces for LGBTQ young people, increase healthy relationships, reduce relationship violence, improve social-emotional learning, and increase media literacy.

    High-quality sex education can contribute to dismantling barriers to social and racial justice by promoting equity and inclusion in classrooms and school environments.

    Research also has shown that sex education can have a transformational impact on school climate by utilizing intersectional approaches that affirm race, gender, and other aspects of identity. High-quality sex education can contribute to dismantling barriers to social and racial justice by promoting equity and inclusion in classrooms and school environments.

    The partners of True You Maryland, together with our youth advisory board and peer educators, have joined efforts to advance the sexual health and well-being of youth in six rural counties across the state.

     True You Maryland Resources

    What We Found

    Did you know parents and adolescents support sex ed in schools regardless of their political affiliation?

    In one 2017 study, 93% of parents reported supporting sexuality education in schools.

    In one 2017 study, 93% of parents reported supporting sexuality education in schools. And the vast majority wanted classes to cover puberty, healthy relationships, abstinence, sexually transmitted infections, and birth control. These are the topics True You Maryland champions.

     What’s Next

    True You Maryland intends to reach 4,378 high school youth, 876 youth in the community, and 438 parents/caregivers/trusted adults in Year 1 (2020-2021).

    Our Experts 

     This project is/was supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Population Affairs (OPA), Teen Pregnancy Prevention Tier 1 grant, 1 TP1AH000234-01-00, as administered by the Maryland Department of Health.  The information or content presented are those of the author and shall not be construed as the official position or policy, nor any endorsement, by HHS, the Federal Government, or the Maryland Department of Health. 

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