UT Health San Antonio program helps reduce teen pregnancy in Bexar County

Initiative promotes adolescent health, wellness

SAN ANTONIO – UT Health San Antonio has spent the last decade developing a program that helped reduce teen pregnancy in Bexar County by 73%.

“Our rates have gone down. And so we want to continue to sustain some of the programming that’s going on here,” Jennifer Todd said.

Jennifer Todd, project manager of UT Teen Health, helped develop an initiative of UT Health San Antonio that promotes adolescent health and wellness.

“Do you think that’s going to be a healthy relationship or an unhealthy one? And sometimes you have both saying like, ‘oh, that’s absolutely healthy. Well, I’m not quite sure. Here’s some red flags,’” Todd said.

UT Health San Antonio now has the funding to continue and expand the program.

The Department Of Health And Human Services gave UT Health San Antonio nearly $10 million to partner with organizations across South Texas and share their sex education program.

Todd said rural counties have a teen birth rate that is four times the national average.

“Some of these rural counties have about 56 births per 1,000 and females ages 15 to 19 years old. And so, that’s where we want some of these resources to go to,” Todd said.

UT Health San Antonio has partnered again with the Bear County Juvenile Probation Center to share their model with Cameron and Hidalgo counties in the Rio Grande Valley.

Jill Mata of the Bexar County Juvenile Probation Center said the grant funding will train more probation officers to be a resource for sexual health.

“It’s not something that you just do once and then you don’t worry about it again,” Mata said.

The sex education program not only brings juveniles in the justice system with healthcare resources, but other wellness resources.

“The justice arena shouldn’t be the answer, right. And so the more we can tie kids into community-based support, the more successful children and families will be,” Mata said.

About the Authors:

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.