Philadelphia Department of Public Health
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) serves the sixth largest city in the United States, with a population of 1,517,550 persons; 110,701 of which are between 15–19 years of age. Adolescents are a group that remains disproportionately affected by STDs in Philadelphia. Annually, the highest case rates of gonorrhea and chlamydia occur in adolescents, ages 15–19. In 2002, the chlamydia case rate among females ages 15–19 was more than 8,000 per 100,000 population.
Year One (2008–2009)
During the first year, PDPH worked with the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) to develop a collaborative action plan that would build upon the Philadelphia High School STD Screening Program (PHSSSP). Since the inception of the PHSSSP, staff tracked a decline in the number of students desiring STD screening, a constant gonorrhea and chlamydia positivity rate, and a 12.6 percent reinfection rate at three months. In response, PDPH worked with the school district, young people, and community partners to identify HIV/STD screening sites for adolescents outside of school, identify family planning clinics for adolescents that provide year-round education and family planning services, and to identify behavioral interventions for high-risk adolescents. In order to meet the intended goals, PDPH identified two public high schools with a high annual number of gonorrhea and chlamydia cases and planned to host student advisory meetings at these two schools to learn more about their needs and then use this information to create an action plan for the 2009–2010 school year. Philadelphia’s student advisory meetings were not held due to low student turnout, so instead Philadelphia staff developed a short questionnaire and interviewed students individually to obtain feedback on the STD testing program.
Year Two (2009–2010)
During the second year, Philadelphia’s collaborative action plan focused on the following three goals: 1) increase access to sexual health services for youth in Philadelphia, 2) increase community awareness of sexual health resources for youth in Philadelphia, and 3) improve and incorporate findings from an evaluation of the Philadelphia High School STD Screening Program.
To review Philadelphia’s complete collaborative action plan for Year Two, click here.
Year Three (2010-2011)
During the third year, Philadelphia continued implementing and evaluating their collaborative action plan in order to achieve the following three goals: 1) increase access to sexual health services for youth in Philadelphia, 2) increase community awareness of sexual health resources for youth, and 3) use findings from the program evaluation of the Philadelphia High School STD Screening Program to implement improvements.
To review Philadelphia’s complete collaborative action plan for Year Three, click here.
Lessons Learned for Other Local Health Departments