A collaborative effort between the California Department of Health Services and the California Department of Education to Strengthen Partnerships to Improve HIV, STD, and Unintended Teen Pregnancy Prevention Among School-Age Adolescents.

The California Adolescent Sexual Health Workgroup (ASHWG), is a standing workgroup comprised of program managers from the California Department of Health Services (DHS) and the California Department of Education (CDE) who are committed to working more effectively to address the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents in California. The Vision of ASHWG is to “create a coordinated, collaborative, and integrated system among government and non-government organizations to promote and protect the sexual and reproductive health of youth in California.”
Five High Priority Areas for Collaboration and Integration:

The following priority areas were approved on May 31, 2005 by a special meeting of Branch and Office Chiefs from DHS and CDE.

Improve and expand sharing and use of HIV, STD, teen birth/pregnancy data:
collect state/local data reports on key indicators, including key risk-related behaviors;
identify strengths, gaps and deficiencies in data and make recommendations for improving consistency and comparability of data;
explore methods of sharing and disseminating integrated data for use by the public, community organizations, schools, and local health departments for improved program planning and evaluation.
Ensure that educators/counselors/case managers working in the area of adolescent sexuality can deliver effective behavioral interventions to protect the sexual and reproductive health of youth in California:
develop a set of core competencies for providing sexual health education, and counseling consistent with the mandate of the California Education Code sections 51930-51939;
develop a comprehensive and appropriate (gender, age, culture, sexual orientation,etc.) training program in “Adolescent Sexual Health 101” to ensure all educators, counselors, case managers working with adolescent sexuality are trained in the core competencies.
Identify, develop, and promote the use of culturally appropriate, youth-focused sexual health curricula, reflective of our priority populations (i.e., LGBTQ youth, special education youth, out-of-school youth, youth of color, etc.) for use by trained educators in school and community settings.
Improve Adolescent Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Services – including Adolescent Legal Rights – in regards to sexual and reproductive health Services
Identify funding, policy recommendations, and other resources to support all of the above.


In the summer of 2003, a number of states were invited to participate in two Regional Stakeholder meetings sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP), the Society of State Directors for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (SSDHPER), the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO); and the Division of Adolescent and School Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (DASH-CDC). The meetings focused on ways that states could better integrate approaches for HIV, STD, and teen pregnancy prevention. The “California Team” that attended these meetings was Chris Berry (CDE), Eileen Yamada (MCAH), Paul Gibson (STD), and Nicole Vasquez (staff for Senator Deborah Ortiz).
Progress and Accomplishments:

The working group was formally endorsed by program administrators as the Adolescent Sexual Health Work Group (ASHWG). ASHWG has developed a Vision Statement; specified five high-priority areas (see preceding); sponsored two interdisciplinary trainings on adolescent sexuality; helped secure funding for a state-wide public opinion survey on comprehensive sexuality education; and formed two subcommittees that are working on Data Integration and the development of a Core Competencies Guide for providers of adolescent sexual/reproductive health services. The purpose of regular ASHWG meetings is to: “…provide a way for government and non-government agency staff to share information; provide feedback/input on issues of adolescent sexual/reproductive health; identify collaborative opportunities; and create new and needed affiliations for mutual benefit and programmatic synergy.”
Next Steps:

ASHWG will gradually expand membership and subcommittees as progress continues. ASHWG meetings will be held twice a year with periodic Report Back Meetings to the Leadership Group as needed. Staff from key non-government organizations with a track record of innovation and success in adolescent sexuality programs will continue to be invited to serve on the various subcommittees as we expand our effort and partnerships.

For more information on the ASHWG, please contact

Sharla Smith
School Health Connections Office
CA Department of Education
Paul Gibson
STD Branch Health Promotion Unit
CA Department of Health Services

Gail Sanabria
Office of AIDS
CA Department of Health Services
Karen Ramstrom, DO, MSPH
CA Department of Health Services

Cheri Pies
MCH Programs/Contra Costa HSD
597 Center Avenue, Suite 365
Martinez, CA 94553
Maryjane Puffer
California Family Health Council
3600 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 600
Los Angeles, CA 90010-0605

Adolescent Sexual Health Work Group (ASHWG) Accomplishments 2004-2007

A summary of ASHWG accomplishments is bulleted below. Please refer to the Leadership Group Report and ASHWG Fact Sheet for more specific details on ASHWG organization, priorities, operations, and accomplishments.

June 2005 ASHWG joined with the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) to plan and conduct two trainings (Focusing on Youth in HIV and Sexuality Education: Cultural Competence and Youth Development) for 65 STD, HIV, and teen pregnancy prevention providers.
August 2005 – May 2006 The Data Integration subcommittee created statewide STD, AIDS, and teen birth data sets for 2000-2004 featuring the same age, racial/ethnicity, gender categories, and time frames. Similar data sets still need to be created for individual counties. Final data sets are to be posted on the MCAH/OFP Branch webpage.
April 2006 – February 2007 The Core Competencies subcommittee is finalizing Core Competencies for Providers of Sexual and Reproductive Health for submission to the Leadership Group in the Spring of 2007. The Core Competencies will serve as an interdisciplinary guide to be used by programs addressing adolescent sexual and reproductive health in several program areas: Staff Self-Assessment; Performance Appraisal; Recruiting and Hiring Staff; Staff Development and Training; Curriculum Development; and Quality Assurance in program implementation.
May 2006 ASHWG presented a poster session, Inter/Intra-Departmental Collaboration for Prevention of STDs, HIV, and Unintended Pregnancy Among School-Age Youth in California, at the 2006 National STD Conference in Jacksonville, FL.
Ongoing ASHWG continues to look for opportunities to facilitate collaboration among and between DHS and CDE programs as well as key non-governmental organizations involved in adolescent sexual and reproductive health. ASHWG added four non-governmental organizations as members in 2007 (CHT, ETR, GSA Network, Adolescent Health Collaborative).
November 2005 – Present ASHWG has served in an advisory and networking role with the Public Health Institute (PHI) in several productive areas:
November 2005 ASHWG successfully supported the Center for Research on Adolescent Health and Development (CRAHD, of the Public Health Institute) proposal to secure funding from the California Wellness Foundation for the continuation of the No Time For Complacency initiative
May 2006 ASHWG partnered with CRAHD/PHI to implement the Across the Map survey of parent opinions about comprehensive sexuality education in California Public Schools
May 2006 Acting as a liaison for the DHS HPV Vaccine Work Group, ASHWG worked with CRAHD/PHI to successfully add three questions on HPV vaccine acceptability to the Across the Map survey (results cited below in the Journal of Adolescent Health)
ASHWG has been acknowledged in two journal articles:

A Statewide Policy Advocacy Intervention in California: The No Time for Complacency Initiative. N.A. Constantine et al. California Journal of Health Promotion 2006, Volume 4, Issue 3, 10-22.
http://www.csuchico.edu/cjhp/4/3/010-022-constantine.pdf (PDF)Opens a new browser window

Acceptance of Human Papillomavirus Vaccination Among California Parents: A Representative Statewide Analysis. N. A. Constantine and P. Jerman. Journal of Adolescent Health. February 2007.

A manuscript, California Parents’ Preferences and Beliefs on School-Based Sexuality Education Policy, was submitted to Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, January 2007.

A manuscript in development by PHI and the STD Control Branch, Sexually Transmitted Infections Among California Youth: Estimated Incidence and Direct Medical Cost, 2005, will be submitted to the Journal of Adolescent Health

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