Professor Vincent Guilamo-Ramos Named Chair of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy's Latino Initiative Advisory Group

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy has announced the appointment of Professor Vincent Guilamo-Ramos as chair of its Latino Initiative Advisory Group (LIAG). Based in Washington, DC, The National Campaign works to improve the lives and future prospects of children and families and help ensure that children are born into stable, two-parent families who are committed to and ready for the demands of raising children.

Guilamo-Ramos, co-director of the NYU Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health (CLAFH) and director of the Silver School's doctoral program, is an expert in the role of families in promoting adolescent health, with a special focus on preventing HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, and unintended pregnancies among Latino youth. 

CLAFH investigates the role of the Latino family in shaping the development and well-being of Latino adolescents. Strategically based in New York City with an office in the Dominican Republic, CLAFH addresses the needs of New York's diverse Latino communities in both national and global contexts. The Center serves as a link between the scientific community, Latino health and social service providers, and the broader Latino community.

Despite a decline overall in birth rates among 15- to 19-year-olds over the last 20 years, new numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirm disparities still exist by ethnicity and state. The highest number of teen pregnancies is among Latinas and blacks and in the South and Southwest. The National Campaign estimates that half of Latinas will become pregnant at least once by the age of 20. To tackle these trends, The National Campaign launched its Latino Initiative to help the Latino community reduce its high rates of pregnancy and births. LIAG -- comprised of influential leaders in business, media, advocacy organizations, and higher education -- has guided The National Campaign in these efforts.

"As a member of LIAG, Vincent Guilamo-Ramos has continuously demonstrated his unwavering commitment to helping young people avoid too-early pregnancy and parenthood," said Ann Marie Benitez, senior manager of The National Campaign's Latino Initiative. "The National Campaign has already benefited in numerous ways from this commitment and his decades of expertise in our field. We are truly honored that he has accepted this new role as chair and look forward to continue working together."

A LIAG member for five years, Guilamo-Ramos has also served as the group's vice chair. He has been the principal investigator of several federally funded research grants for his work on adolescent risk behavior. These include a five-year, NICHD-funded project aimed at investigating factors associated with the formation of adolescent romantic relationships and subsequent sexual risk behavior in Latino youth, and an NIMH/NICHD-funded project targeted at developing a clinic-based family intervention designed to delay and/or reduce sexual risk-taking behavior among Latino and African American early adolescents in outpatient healthcare settings.

"Teen pregnancy is a preventable outcome that warrants greater societal attention and a commitment to the dissemination of evidence-informed practices," said Guilamo-Ramos. "I am honored to have been appointed chair of LIAG because of the long-term, science-based commitment of The National Campaign to ending the elevated rates of teen and unintended pregnancy in the United States, particularly among Latinos and African-Americans, where the highest birth rates persist."

The National Campaign made the announcement about Guilamo-Ramos' appointment as chair on May 2, the 11th annual National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. The day -- and the entire month of May -- is a time to encourage teens to realize that it is best to wait and have a baby when they are educationally, financially, and emotionally ready. 

Teen say that parents most influence their decisions about sex, according to new polling data of 1,000 teens (age 12-19) released by The National Campaign in conjunction with the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Fully 87 percent of teens said it would be easier for them to postpone sex and avoid pregnancy if they had open conversations with their parents.