Familias Unidas Intervention Added to Respected CDC Compendium, Receives $1M Grant

Familias Unidas, the successful intervention developed by Miller School public health researchers to prevent risky behavior among Hispanic youth, has been added to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Compendium of Evidence-Based HIV Behavioral Interventions. The interventions listed in the highly regarded compendium represent the strongest in scientific literature that have been rigorously evaluated and demonstrate evidence of efficacy, according to the Prevention Research Synthesis Project, which identifies such programs to help HIV prevention planners and providers across the country select interventions most appropriate for their communities.

Developed by Guillermo “Willy” Prado, Ph.D., Miller Professor of Public Health Sciences and Director of the Division of Prevention Science and Community Health, and Hilda Pantin, Ph.D., professor and Executive Vice Chair of Public Health Sciences, Familias Unidas is one of only two interventions for Hispanic youth included in the compendium.

“Being part of this compendium is quite an honor,” Prado said. “This will bring much national visibility to our program, which should facilitate its wide dissemination.”

Built on the premise that adolescent problems can be resolved at home by capitalizing on the strong ties for which Hispanic families are known, Familias Unidas has reduced risky behaviors and sexually transmitted diseases among Hispanic youth by enhancing parental involvement, family cohesion, and parent-adolescent communication through small-group counseling sessions geared primarily toward their parents.

Extending its global reach, Prado and Pantin also signed a $1 million contract to adapt and disseminate Familias Unidas in Ecuador. Prado, Pantin and their team will collaborate with the Catholic University of Guayaquil to train a workforce of 15 professionals to deliver Familias Unidas to Ecuadorian youth and their families.

Other researchers on the project include Ana Palacio, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of clinical medicine and Director of Latin American Programs in the Department of Public Health Sciences; Viviana Horigian, M.D., research assistant professor of public health sciences; Maria Tapia, LCSW, senior research associate; and Maria-Rosa Velazquez, senior manager of research support.

Although this is the first country outside the U.S. to adopt the intervention, Prado hopes this initiative will pave the way for other nations.

“Our team is excited to collaborate with our Ecuadorian partners to disseminate Familias Unidas in Guayaquil,” Prado said.

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