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Reproductive Empowerment and Decision Making for Young Adults (REaDY) Initiative

A coalition of Massachusetts health service providers, advocates, and researchers are collaborating on a unique, statewide project to reduce unplanned pregnancy among young adults in the wake of health care reform in the Commonwealth. This multi-pronged initiative is focused on better understanding the individual, community, provider, and structural factors that influence the contraceptive behaviors of young adults aged 18 to 26 and on developing strategies to ensure that this age group has the resources they need to lead healthy sexual and reproductive lives. This includes making decisions about whether and when to become parents. The first year of the initiative involves formative research, the results of which will inform actions undertaken in the second year to improve the health care system and better prepare health service providers to care for young adults. REaDY promises to offer a model for addressing pregnancy prevention and planning for young adults at the state level. Research findings and lessons learned will also inform national health care reform efforts.

REaDY is led by an Executive Committee of multiple organizations and agencies within the Commonwealth. Ibis Reproductive Health is leading the formative research component, and the statewide, multi-agency taskforce is chaired by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Family Planning Program and coordinated by the Pro-Choice Massachusetts Foundation. Other Executive Committee members include the Massachusetts Family Planning Association, youth development specialist TiElla Grimes, and the Boston Public Health Commission.

The formative research of REaDY is being undertaken by Ibis Reproductive Health and is comprised of three primary components:

We have completed the review of young adult-targeted health plans and a summary of the findings and recommendations generated through the assessment is now available. The full text of the report is available here, and a two-page summary of the report is available here. We have also recently completed the focus group discussion component of the research. The full text of the report is available here, and a two page summary of the report is available here. To request a hard copy of either report please click here.

Findings from the research informed the development of My Little Black Book for Sexual Health, a youth-friendly, interactive online guide about health insurance and pregnancy prevention. This resource helps young adults navigate their health insurance options and answers questions about finding health plans that work for them and meet their contraceptive needs. The Spanish-language version will be available in January 2011.

For more information about REaDY, please contact Britt Wahlin.

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