Georgia is one of the leading states in teen pregnancies. Grady County has one of the highest rates in the state.
Grady County has the benefit of collaborating with the University of Georgia’s Archway Partnership program of community engagement. This model links stakeholders and their community-identified needs with higher education resources through a full-time, locally-based, faculty member. Further, the model requires a local champion to take the lead in organizing stakeholders to address the issue at hand. Laura successfully championed the issue of teen pregnancy prevention by recruiting a diverse group of stakeholders from the medical community, public health providers, K12 school system, non-profit service providers, and the faith-based network. She was instrumental in assembling data and resources through UGA to present facts and evidence-based best practices to the broader community. It was this stakeholder group and community dialog sessions under Laura’s leadership that identified goals and objectives, selected strategies, and ultimately chose a curriculum pathway to imbed in the K12 system. Other neighboring school systems have taken note of this model of engagement and have reached out to Laura to assist with reviewing their own data and subsequently adopting sex education and adolescent health curriculum. Additionally, the Georgia Superintendent of Schools invited Laura to speak to his staff about the Grady County process, implementation, and the results to date of the curriculum choice. She has strategically influenced local, regional and state level policy and practice in Georgia.