A Culturally Responsive Approach to Improving Replication of a Youth Sexual Health Program

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Youth-serving agencies continually turn to evidence-based interventions that have been empirically assessed for effectiveness in influencing young people’s lives, particularly those living in communities with considerable health inequities. Replicating promising evidence-based interventions requires thoughtful adaptation and modification to better fit participants’ sociocultural context and to enhance their learning experiences. Due to the restrictive nature of a replication model, adaptations to the intervention curriculum must be minimized during full implementation. Implementers must find innovative ways to ensure content is relevant and engaging to participants without altering core elements of the curriculum. This article describes practical best practice strategies used in implementing a sexual health education program among socioculturally diverse youth in a northeastern city in the United States. The implementing agency applied Richard, Brown and Forde’s framework for culturally responsive pedagogy as a heuristic approach to describe the application of implementation practices across three dimensions: institutional, personal, and instructional. The results not only highlight successful culturally responsive practices that enhanced the implementation process but also acknowledge areas in which such practices proved daunting to implement.

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