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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 05, 2015                                                   


Contact: Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, 617-515-0531 or [email protected]

Planned Parenthood Federation of America, 212-261-4433 or [email protected].

ETR Matt McDowell, Director of Marketing, ETR, [email protected]


“Get Real: Comprehensive Sex Education That Works” Joins List of Evidence-Based Programs From U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


BOSTON- Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM) announced today that its comprehensive sexuality education curriculum, Get Real: Comprehensive Sex Education That Works, has been added to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) list of evidence-based programs. The list is managed by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), in collaboration with the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) and the Administration for Children and Families Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB).  Inclusion on this list requires meeting stringent criteria for effectiveness.


Get Real is a middle school curriculum that delivers accurate, age-appropriate information and emphasizes healthy relationship skills and family involvement through both classroom and take-home activities.  Get Real is the first curriculum developed by Planned Parenthood to earn a spot on the HHS list of programs.


A three-year impact study of Get Real, conducted by the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW), was published in the Journal of School Health in the fall of 2014.  The impact study showed that Get Real is one of only a few middle school programs that reduce risky sexual behavior for both boys and girls.  Among students who received Get Real, 16% fewer boys and 15% fewer girls had sex compared to their peers who did not receive Get Real.  These findings are particularly impressive because Get Real was tested among young people at high risk for early sexual intercourse.


For boys in particular, family involvement showed an added effect on delaying sex.  Boys who completed the Get Real take-home activities in 6th grade were more likely to delay sex in the 8th grade than boys who did not complete these activities, highlighting the importance of parents and sons talking earlier and more frequently about sex.


“Planned Parenthood is dedicated to helping young people stay healthy, and PPLM designed Get Real to do just that,” said Jen Slonaker, Vice President of Education and Training at PPLM.  “We were extremely proud when the WCW research confirmed our Get Real curriculum works, and HHS’ official validation of that research further positions Get Real to have a major positive impact for young people and families across the country.”


To date, over 190 schools and youth serving programs in Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Texas have used the Get Real curriculum.  PPLM has partnered with ETR, a leading national publisher of science-based health promotion curricula and materials, to make Get Real available for schools and after-school settings across the country.  This national expansion will exponentially increase the number of young people and families who will benefit from the curriculum.


Lisa Goldblatt Grace, a parent of three children and social worker who has worked with vulnerable adolescents for over twenty years, applauded the curriculum for the emphasis it places on engaging parents, saying, “Under the guidance of Get Real, these important conversations with our kids are easier and less awkward. It helps parents make real headway in empowering the young people in their lives to navigate the road ahead.”


Get Real is an effective program that gives young people the information and skills they need to make responsible decisions,” said Leslie Kantor, Vice President of Education at Planned Parenthood of Education.  “There is a real the need for good programs for middle school students, and it will work well throughout the United States, especially given its emphasis on helping families communicate about sexuality and health.”


“Conducting Get Real’s evaluation with the highest standard of intervention research design afforded us a meaningful opportunity to witness the impact the curriculum has on the lives of both boys and girls, “says Jennifer Grossman, Ph.D., Research Scientist at Wellesley Centers for Women and lead author of the recently published paper describing the Get Real evaluation findings.




Since 2009, there have been four rounds of reviews conducted as part of the TPP Evidence Review. The findings from the initial review were released in the spring of 2010 as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) Teen Pregnancy Prevention grant announcement.  This is the third update to the review findings, bringing the total number of evidence-based program models to 37.


In addition to being a resource to organizations that work to prevent teen pregnancy, the TPP Evidence review is used by OAH’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention program and ACF's Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) to identify individual program models that can be selected for replication by potential grantees.  More information about the HHS Teen Pregnancy Prevention Review is available here: http://tppevidencereview.aspe.hhs.gov/FAQ.aspx


Get Real: Comprehensive Sex Education That Works is a comprehensive sexuality education curriculum designed for middle school-aged youth. The curriculum was written and developed by Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM) and is published by ETR, a leading national publisher of science-based health promotion curricula and materials.  To learn more about Get Real as an evidence-based program, please visit ETR’s Evidence Based Program Center at http://www.etr.org/ebi/programs/get-real/.


The curriculum spans three years, with nine lessons per year for grades 6, 7, and 8. The program provides medically-accurate, age-appropriate information on sex and sexuality. Topics include biology, abstinence and delaying sex, protection methods including the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, and skill-building around healthy communication.  Get Real utilizes the theory of planned behavior along with a social-emotional learning approach, incorporating opportunities to learn and practice communication and relationship skills to help students make responsible decisions and maintain healthy relationships.


In 2008, PPLM partnered PPLM partnered with the Wellesley Centers for Women on a rigorous three-year impact evaluation of the curriculum. The evaluation used a randomized experimental design to assess the effectiveness of Get Real and included 24 middle schools in the greater Boston area. The 24 schools were randomly assigned to either utilize Get Real or continue their regular practice of sexuality education.


Students in both groups – those who received Get Real and those who did not – were given a confidential survey at the beginning of 6th grade to obtain a baseline measurement of their knowledge, attitudes and beliefs. Follow up surveys at the beginning of 7th and end of 8th grade were conducted to establish whether Get Real had an impact on students delaying sex. 




Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM) is the largest freestanding reproductive health care provider and advocate in the Commonwealth, providing sexual and reproductive health care to more than 30,000 patients per year. PPLM provides a wide range of preventive health care services including lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, and STD testing and treatment, and abortion services and ensure that women have accurate information about all of their options. For 87 years, PPLM has protected and promoted sexual and reproductive health and rights through clinical services, education and advocacy.  For more information, visit www.pplm.org.



Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts


February 05, 2015


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