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|| National Institutes of Health

2014 was the final year for MEE’s SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) grant with the National Institute of Health (NIH) to create a “Family-based HIV Prevention: An Interactive DVD.” The final product, “Working It Out Together: Successful Parent-Teen Communication,” is an online, digital self-education experience for parents and caregivers.


Working It Out Together is an evidence-based, “workshop-in-a-box,” translated into a digital tool to be used by adults (parents, caregivers, providers) and teens. This family-based product gives African-American parents the tools needed to be sure that their youth can make better decisions across a priority of issues. Caregivers learn how to better communicate, share and reinforce their morals and values. The foundation of the learning experience is teaching both parents and teens, through separate platforms, how to be more assertive, and therefore, more effective communicators.


During 2013-2014, the primary objective of the project was to complete the product-evaluation stage, which included (1) the final production of the two DVDs and workbooks for parent- and teen-specific lessons; and (2) an evaluation that compared Working It Out Together to a general family-health DVD and workbook through a randomized trial with 170 parent-adolescent dyads in Philadelphia and Providence, RI. Our project partners at Brown University’s Rhode Island Hospital compiled the research data and found a significant effect with teens in the intervention who reported more parental knowledge and oversight of their whereabouts when not at home.


MEE also enhanced the final product (DVD and workbook) using the feedback from the dyads in the research, which included enhancing the workbook and reorganizing the teen video to clarify instructions for each section. As well, the product was revised so that it can be viewed online using the product website, as well as purchased as a DVD/workbook product. 2015 marketing steps for Working It Out Together included product website development, print and video advertising for social media use. MEE plans to develop a mobile app version of the product in 2016, once additional funding is identified.


Working It Out Together sets the stage for effective dialogue between adults and their teens to discuss anything. Topics addressed in Working It Out Together include assertive communications, safe sex and healthy relationships, HIV, self-assessment/personal strategies, peer pressure, substance abuse and conflict resolution. Parenting tools include stages of youth development, as well as monitoring tools to address young people’s potentially risky behaviors. Parents will be able to lead their teens to make healthier decisions and generate better outcomes.

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