In order to advance its research on sexual violence prevention for men and boys, the CDC has announced Rhode Island Hospital is one of two new awardees to receive $1.7 million in funding to rigorously evaluate the effectiveness of prevention programs over the next four years.
For the study, which is led by Dr. Lindsay Orchowski, a Rhode Island Hospital clinical psychologist and a professor at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Rhode Island Hospital will partner with Day One to implement and evaluate a classroom-based prevention program with male high school students.
"Surprisingly, the vast majority of sexual assault prevention programs have not undergone rigorous evaluation," said Orchowski. "This research will help us to know whether violence prevention programs in schools are actually working to reduce rates of assault."
The prevention programs, "High School Workshop" and Day One's existing program "Your Voice Your View," use different approaches to change social norms and train bystanders to intervene and prevent violence. The "High School Workshop" is a sexual assault prevention program for boys and men that was developed by Dr. Alan Berkowitz, an internationally renowned expert in the social norms theory, and tested by researchers in a laboratory setting.
"Violence prevention is best accomplished at younger ages, before the patterns of violence are established," said Berkowitz. "This is a fantastic opportunity for schools in Rhode Island to channel its youth in positive directions to reduce sexual violence."
The partnership with Day One will allow the research-based study to be integrated with Day One's community-based program, "Your Voice Your View," which is a multi-session program conducted in high schools around the state. The goal is to develop a blended program that contains the strongest elements of each.
Similarities between the two programs include:
- Both workshops deconstruct issues relating to gender that foster personal attitudes and behaviors toward sexually aggressive behavior
- Both use social norms data to debunk misperception of peer norms and discourage socialization with sexually aggressive peers
- Both teach bystander intervention tactics aimed at changing community norms
- Both are group-based programs
- Both are applicable to high school students regardless of sexual orientation
"It makes sense to evaluate the effectiveness from both the research and the practical perspectives," said Sandra Malone, Day One Coordinator of Prevention Education. "Although Your Voice Your View has not had rigorous statewide evaluation, our initial findings have been promising and we're excited to build on that progress."
The program is in the initial stages and will start in the 2015-16 school year. The goal is to be in at least 30 schools over the course of the research phase. The Your Voice Your View program is fully funded by the CDC; there is no cost to schools for participation.
About Day One
Established as the RI Rape Crisis Center in 1973, Day One is the only agency in Rhode Island organized specifically to deal with issues of sexual assault as a community concern. Day One's mission is to reduce the prevalence of sexual abuse and violence and to support and advocate for those affected by it. For more information, visit http://www.
About Rhode Island Hospital
Founded in 1863, Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, R.I., is a private, not-for-profit hospital and is the principal teaching hospital of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. A major trauma center for southeastern New England, the hospital is dedicated to being on the cutting edge of medicine and research. Last year, Rhode Island Hospital received more than $50 million in external research funding. It is also home to Hasbro Children's Hospital, the state's only facility dedicated to pediatric care. For more information on Rhode Island Hospital, visit http://www.