Minnesota Nursing magazine

Decreasing risk behaviors

Clinical Associate Professor Melissa Saftner, PhD, APRN, CNM, FACNM, and Associate Professor Barb McMorris, PhD, traveled to western Uganda in May to collect pilot data for the study Exploring Adolescent Risk in Uganda Fishing Villages. They collaborated with Tom Ngabirano, senior lecturer at Makerere University School of Nursing, to explore risk behaviors in adolescents living in rural fishing communities.

Previous studies conducted in Uganda have found that 70 percent of adolesents report lifetime substance use, and 8 in 10 youth report their first sexual experience before age 16. Although rural areas tend to report higher levels of alcohol and substance use, much less is known about youth in fishing villages. It is estimated that rural fishing communities have higher rates of HIV infection than other communities in Uganda.

Working with two translators and a counselor, the international team collected survey and event history calendar data from youth in four villages to test study procedures – such as recruitment and consent protocols, experience the different community contexts, the prevalence of risk behaviors including alcohol and substance use, sexual initation and use of birth control and condoms. The long-term goal is to develop or adapt a culturally-appropriate intervention to decrease risk behaviors and ultimately impact adolescent HIV rates. Saftner and McMorris received funding from Sigma Theta Tau International, Zeta Chapter, and multiple University sources.

Uganda equator
From left, Tom Ngabirano (Co-I, Makerere University), Missy Saftner (PI, University of Minnesota), Oliva Masika (Participant Counselor), Hellen Kiconco (Research Assistant/Interpreter), Barb McMorris (Co-I, University of Minnesota) and Rose Kabadoma (Research Assistant/Interpreter) at the equator.


Center for Child and Family Health Promotion Research

Jayne Fulkerson

Center Director: 
Jayne Fulkerson, PhD

To improve the health of infants, children, adolescents, parents, and families in the context of their communities. Center members develop and disseminate evidence-based interventions and best practices in primary and secondary prevention.

For more information:
Email: CCFHPR@umn.edu