iRT develops programs to enhance the sexual and relationship health of adolescents and young adults.
In the United States, it cannot be assumed that youth have access to high-quality evidence-based sexual health education. Not all states mandate that sexual health education be provided in schools. When it is provided, it is not always evidence-based or medically-accurate, and abstinence-only programs are still being taught despite little evidence that these programs positively affect teen sexual health outcomes. Teens are not always receiving adequate sexual and relationship health education at home either; many parents find it challenging to effectively engage their children in conversations about sex, sexuality, and relationships. Due to these and other factors, adolescents are at risk for unhealthy sexual health outcomes. For example, approximately half of the 20 million new STI cases each year are among people between the ages of 15 and 24 and the U.S. has one of the highest teen birth rates among comparable countries. Adolescents and young adults are also at risk for experiencing sexual assault and dating violence; 10% of female high school students report being forced to have intercourse against their will and over 40% of dating college women report experiencing dating violence or abuse.
Young people deserve access to high-quality sexual and relationship health education.
iRT believes in iteratively and carefully developing empirically validated sexual and relationship health promotion programs that provide relevant, accessible, engaging, and comprehensive content to encourage healthy and informed decision-making. iRT also believes in providing developmentally-appropriate sexual and relationship health information through programs that builds knowledge and skills from middle-school through young adulthood. By leveraging iRT’s expertise in e-learning, our suite of sexual and relationship health education programs includes web-based programming that is self-paced and engaging.
Dr. Tracy Scull conducts basic and applied research related to child, adolescent, and family health, with a specific focus on understanding media influence on sexual health, relationships, and substance abuse.
Dr. Christina (Malik) Dodson conducts research on the influence of media on health-related attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors and the role of critical media analysis in the processing of media messages.
Dr. Janis Kupersmidt conducts basic and applied research on the use of media literacy education for sexual and relationship health promotion and substance use prevention.
Dr. Reina Evans-Paulson conducts basic and applied research related to child, adolescent, and family health, with a specific focus on understanding media influence on sexual health, relationships, and substance abuse.
Malik, C.V., Scull, T.M. (2019, Oct.). Media Literacy Education: An Innovative, Engaging, and Effective Approach to Sexual Health Education. Session to be presented at the American School Health Association (ASHA) Conference: Cincinnati, OH.
Malik, C.V., Keefe, E., & Morrison, A. (2019, May). Adolescent Sexual Health in the Digital Age: Addressing Consent and Healthy Relationships using a Media Literacy Education Approach Workshop presented at the SHIFT NC Annual Conference: Greensboro, NC.
Scull, T.M., Keefe, E., & Malik, C.V. (2017, May). The birds, the bees, and Kim Kardashian: Engaging and equipping parents to navigate sex and media with adolescents. Workshop presented at the SHIFT NC Annual Conference: Greensboro, NC.
Scull, T.M., Malik, C.V., & Keefe, E. (2016, May). Meeting the needs of older adolescents: Relationship and sexual health promotion using media literacy education. Workshop presented at the SHIFT NC Annual Conference: Durham, NC.
Scull, T.M., Malik, C.V., & Kupersmidt, J.B. (2016, May). The unique influence of media-related cognitions on predictors of adolescent sexual behaviors. Poster presented at the Society for Prevention Research, San Francisco, CA.
Scull, T.M., Malik, C.V., Kupersmidt, J.B., & Moallem, M. (2016, March). Rethinking sexuality education: A web-based solution. Paper presented at the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education, Savannah, GA.
Scull, T.M., Kupersmidt, J.B., & Malik, C.V. (2016, March). An evaluation of a comprehensive sexual health media literacy education program for middle school students. Paper presented at the Society for Research on Adolescents Biennial Meeting, Baltimore, MD.
Scull, T.M., Malik, C.V., & Vuong, K. (2015, May). What’s media got to do with it? Addressing sexual health misinformation with media literacy education for adolescents. Workshop presented at the Annual Conference of the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Coalition of North Carolina (APPCNC), Greensboro, NC.
Malik, C.V. & Gichane, M. (2014, May). A Media Literacy Approach to Teaching Adolescents Comprehensive Sexual Health Education. Presented at the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina (APPCNC) annual conference, Greensboro, NC.
Scull, T.M., Malik, C.V., & Kupersmidt, J.B. (2014, March). A media literacy education approach to teaching adolescents comprehensive sexual health education. Presented to the Society for Research on Adolescents Biennial Meeting, Austin, TX.