PROJECTPromoting Adolescent Sexual Health and Safety (PASS)


In 2012, Urban partnered with the DC Housing Authority and residents and community based organizations from the Benning Terrace Development to co-create and test the Promoting Adolescent Sexual Health and Safety (PASS) program. PASS is a community-based program that educates and trains youth and adults in sexual health and safety. The goal is to develop a program model that will provide a safe, culturally appropriate environment for adolescents and their caretakers to learn about sexual health, access health services, and challenge norms and behaviors around sex and relationships.   

PASS differs from other, more traditional program evaluations in that researchers used a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach to create equity between the research teams (at Urban and with our partners at the University of California at San Diego) and the community and strengthen the validity of the research. This approach focuses on putting community members in the driver’s seat, allowing them to help define the direction of the program and evaluation. 

The PASS program is innovative as well. The curriculum content uses a positive youth development lens, covering all issues related to relationships and healthy sexuality with a racial pride component throughout. The program is built to be implemented in a community setting rather than a school. And the program facilitators are trained adults from the community where the participants live.

Beginning in 2017, the project expanded to four other communities in DC through a partnership with Sasha Bruce Youthworks. Urban is conducting a semi-experimental evaluation to determine whether the PASS program leads to certain outcomes as compared to young people who receive alternative community based programming at different sites.

This work is funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services through the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families. The original CBPR work done in partnership with the Benning Terrace community was conducted with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. The work is now sustained through a grant from the DC Department of Health. Additionally, we have funding from PCORI to engage our partners in patient-centered outcomes research, building their capacity to engage in future research efforts.

PASS Overview Poster


Fact Sheets


Urban Wire Posts



Key Researchers

Ebonie Megibow, Urban Institute
Eleanor Lauderback, Urban Institute
Elsa Falkenburger, Urban Institute
Eona Harrison, Urban Institute
Janine Zweig, Urban Institute
Jessica Shakesprere, Urban Institute
Kelia Washington, Urban Institute
Lauren Farrell, Urban Institute
Mel Langness, Urban Institute
Nora Hakizimana, Urban Institute
Sara Bastomski, Urban Institute
Susan Popkin​, Urban Institute

Former Key Researchers

Alexandra Ricks
Brittany Murray
Cameron Okeke
Chantal Hailey
David Blount
Devon Genua
Jay Silverman
Leah Gordon
Lilly Yu
Micaela Lipman
Reed Jordan
sade adeeyo
Somala Diby
Tia Newman

Curriculum Developers and Facilitators

Brenda Williams
Curtis Monroe
Dannielle Hamilton
Ericka Hines
Lisa Fish
Lydia Watts
Melinda Coles
Ronyae Bellamy
sade adeeyo
Stan Hamilton
Tamica Young

Community Partners

Benning Terrace Residents
District of Columbia Housing Authority
Sasha Bruce Youthwork
DC Rape Crisis Center
Men Can Stop Rape
Dorinda Williams, Consultant
Irwin Royster, Consultant


Washington, DC, Department of Health
W.K. Kellogg Foundation  
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, part of the National Institutes of Health
Administration on Children Youth and Families (ACYF)
Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)

Research Areas Neighborhoods, cities, and metros Children and youth
Policy Centers Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center