Douglas Kirby, PhD Presented the 2008 William A. Howe Award

During the past 30 years, Dr. Douglas Kirby has been responsible for shaping and guiding the field of comprehensive sexuality education. His outstanding contributions have left an impact like few others before him. The American School Health Association is proud to present Dr. Douglas Kirby with the 2008 William A. Howe Award.

Dr. Kirby earned his doctorate in Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and is currently a Senior Research Scientist at ETR Associates. Dr. Kirby has conducted social science research for more than 30 years and has been studying adolescent sexual behavior and programs to reduce their sexual risk-taking behavior for more than 25 years. He has directed numerous evaluation studies of adolescent sexual behavior, abstinence programs, sex and STD/HIV education programs, school-based clinics, school condom availability programs, and youth development programs. He co-authored research on the Reducing the Risk, Safer Choices, and Draw the Line curricula, all of which significantly reduced unprotected sex, either by delaying sex, increasing condom use, or increasing contraceptive use among teens. He has painted a more comprehensive and detailed picture of the risk and protective factors associated with adolescent sexual behavior, contraceptive use, and pregnancy, and has identified important common characteristics of effective sexuality education and HIV education programs. In 2001, he authored the groundbreaking publication, Emerging Answers: Research Findings on Programs to Reduce Teen Pregnancy, and in 2007 he authored Emerging Answers 2007: Research Findings on Programs to Reduce Teen Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, both of which have been widely acclaimed. He has also written reviews of the field for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and various foundations.

Over the years, Dr. Kirby has reviewed nearly all the studies worldwide that used strong research designs to assess the impact of these programs on adolescent sexual behavior. He conducted intensive evaluation studies that compared curricula that were effective at reducing adolescent sexual risk behavior with a smaller number of curricula that were ineffective. This comparison led to the identification of 17 characteristics of effective sexuality and STD/HIV education programs.
Dr. Kirby has also contributed to the theoretical underpinnings of sexual and reproductive health promotion with the Behavior-Determinant-Intervention (BDI) logic models. These models have drawn heavily from intervention mapping and stipulate that to achieve a health goal, the development team must 1) specify the health goal(s) to be achieved, and 2) specify all the behaviors that directly affect those health goal(s), specify the determinants (also called risk and protective factors) that affect each of the behaviors, select the important determinants that can be changed, and finally describe the activities that can change each of the selected determinants. A key feature of BDI logic models is the specification of the determinants that can be changed and that in turn affect behavior.

Dr. Kirby has published more than 140 articles, chapters, or monographs on sexuality-related programs and has given more than 300 presentations or trainings to professional groups or to the media on this topic. To better increase awareness of the problems of school-aged pregnancy and STDs and to promote efforts to more effectively address these problems, Dr. Kirby has given more than 400 speeches throughout the United States and the world and has also appeared on radio or television more than 50 times. As a result of these efforts, he has been quoted thousands of times in professional journals and popular newspapers and periodicals including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Today, Newsweek, Oprah, Reader's Digest, and Seventeen.

Dr. Kirby has worked collaboratively with numerous organizations to help young people avoid pregnancy and STD. These include, among others, the American School Health Association, the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), the National School Boards Association, the Division of Adolescent and School Health at CDC, the Division of Reproductive Health at CDC, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, the Healthy Teen Network, the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, the California Department of Health, the Georgia Department of Health, the Florida Department of Health, and the American Public Health Association's Section on Population and Reproductive Health.

Though most of Dr. Kirby's work has been in the United States, he has also worked with the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, UNESCO, and the Nigerian Ministry of Education. This work has taken him to Brazil, Mexico, Canada, England, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Nigeria, Uganda, Swaziland, India, and Thailand. Consistent with his work in many countries, several of his publications have been translated into various foreign languages including Spanish, Chinese, Russian, and Czech. In more recent years Dr. Kirby has undertaken international work in Uganda and other developing countries under the auspices of the World Health Organization, USAID, the African Medical Research Foundation, UNESCO, and other organizations.

In the early 1980's, Dr. Kirby's nationwide study of sex education programs included one program in a school-based clinic in St. Paul, Minnesota, that not only provided education, but also a range of clinic services, including contraceptive services. Because the results of this program were promising, Dr. Kirby and colleagues searched for other similar clinic programs throughout the United States which led to "Support Center for School-Based Clinics" within the Center for Population Options (now called Advocates for Youth). Dr. Kirby and colleagues obtained funding and organized the first annual conference on school-based clinics, and Dr. Kirby wrote the first widely disseminated summary of school-based health clinics. The Support Center for School-Based Clinics has since evolved into the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care.

Because of his tireless work and service to school health education, Dr. Kirby has received numerous awards. A few include:

    • Award for Outstanding Contribution to Research in Teen Pregnancy Prevention, South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Columbia, South Carolina, 2005.
    • CACSAP Beatrice Gore Award, California Alliance Concerned with School-Age Parenting and Pregnancy Prevention, San Francisco, 2005.
    • AASECT Professional Standard of Excellence Award 2005, American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists, Portland, 2005.
    • NOAPPP 2004 Outstanding Researcher Award, National Organization for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention and Parenting, New Orleans, 2004.
    • ASHA Research Award for Outstanding Contributions to Research in School Health, American School Health Association, Denver, 1998.