May 14, 2013

Provocative New Campaign Sparks Citywide Conversations on Teen Parenthood

Images depict teen pregnancy responsibility as a two-way street

  Teen Adolescent Pregnancy Campaign


CHICAGO - The Chicago Department of Public Health’s Office of Adolescent and School Health has launched its 2013 teen pregnancy prevention campaign that features a series of ads that challenge gender roles related to teen pregnancy and parenthood.

The campaign features attention-grabbing images of teenage boys depicted as pregnant to spark conversations among adolescents and adults on the issue of teen pregnancy and to make the case that teen parenthood is more than just a girl’s responsibility.  The ads are currently displayed on public transit buses, trains, platforms and bus shelters in Chicago.

“Improving the health and well-being of our youth is a key component in our comprehensive effort to make Chicago the healthiest city in the nation,” said CDPH Commissioner Dr. Bechara Choucair.  “These ads work to increase education and awareness which will in turn help reduce the number of teenage pregnancies in Chicago.”

The campaign already has sparked conversations on Facebook and Twitter including residents tweeting photos of the ads to CDPH at  Chicagoans also can join the conversation on Facebook at and use hashtag #Unexpected on Twitter.

According to a recent CDPH report, “Births in Chicago,” Chicago’s teen birth rate decreased 33 percent.  Despite the significant decline, the teen birth rate in Chicago remains one of the highest in the nation. According to the same report, the teen birth rate in Chicago is still one and a half times higher than the national average – indicating there is still more outreach and education work to do.

“Adolescence may be the healthiest time in most people’s lives, which is why it is often ignored, but by building awareness and making adolescent health a priority, we accomplish two things: We can help reduce sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies now and we can help teens and their families build a healthier future,” said Suzanne Elder, program director of the CDPH Office of Adolescent and School Health.

The Office of Adolescent and School Health also has launched the following series of bold initiatives to help reduce unplanned teen pregnancies and improve overall adolescent health in Chicago.

  • is a new online resource that provides adolescents and parents with information about sex, relationships, contraception, condoms and more.
  • Sex-Ed is a blog written by and for adolescents and disseminated on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumbler
  • Student and School-Level Outreach – 25,000 pocket-sized brochures covering contraception choices and tips on how to prepare for prom are being distributed this month in public high schools citywide.  Students are developing their own health-themed messages and posting them online and in their own schools.
  • Condom Availability Program – Reducing the rates of sexually transmitted infections (STI) and unplanned pregnancies among teens will take more than information. In collaborating with Columbia College Chicago, condom dispensers are being designed and will be installed in public high schools across the city.
  • Chicago’s Action Plan for Healthy Adolescents – Scheduled for release this summer, this action plan is the culmination of a yearlong collaboration with more than 50 of Chicago’s leading health, policy, and education leaders.  The plan outlines strategies to improve all aspects of adolescent health and includes specific, measurable targets for nutrition, physical activity, substance use and abuse, mental health, sexual health, disease prevention and access to care.

For more information on the Office of Adolescent and School Health and Healthy Chicago, visit

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