Background: Young men aged 15-24 have significant unmet sexual/reproductive health (SRH) needs. This study’s goal was to evaluate impact of training community-based youth-serving professionals (YSPs) to engage young men in SRH care.
Methods: A 60-minute training designed to increase SRH knowledge, self-efficacy and skills to talk about SRH, use new website clinical guide and refer to care was conducted in community-based settings. Evaluation used quasi-experimental pretest-posttest design. Before training (baseline), 154 YSP staff from 25 community settings in one urban mid-Atlantic city completed a paper-survey assessing SRH knowledge scales (general, referral), self-efficacy scales (talking, website use, referral), and behaviors (talking, website use, referral). At 3-month follow-up, 97 participants completed an email survey via Redcap (Retention rate=63%). Retained vs. non-retained participants were more likely be a teacher and older age, and less likely to be African American. Generalized linear mixed effects estimated change in each outcome from baseline to follow-up among each participant clustered by work settings.
Results: Majority of YSPs completing both surveys were Black (59%), female (68%), and aged 30-59 years old (71%). Occupations included 40% case workers, 13% counselors, and 10% each teachers and peer leaders. Significant (P<0.05) improvements were observed in majority of measures from baseline to follow-up among each YSP. Specifically, each YSP improved in their SRH knowledge in general (31% increase) and about referral (48% increase); SRH self-efficacy in talking (11% increase), website use (13% increase) and referral (7% increase); and SRH behaviors about talking (35% increase), and sharing website (319% increase), but not referral, with young men in past month from baseline to follow-up.
Conclusions: This study found a training about young men’s SRH care improved YSP’s SRH knowledge, self-efficacy, and behaviors talking about SRH and using a new website about SRH with young men. Findings have major implications for YSPs working in community-based settings serving similar populations.