By Perdita Henry
Healthy Futures of Texas’ BAE-B-SAFE program announced that they’re heading up Interstate 35 to bring their programing to Austin Community College’s (ACC) Highland and Riverside campuses.
BAE-B-SAFE currently provides evidence-based sexual and reproductive health education to 18-and 19-year-olds at San Antonio area community campuses, San Antonio College, St. Philip’s College, Palo Alto College, and Northeast Lakeview College.
“We are extremely proud of the ground work laid in San Antonio,” M.Ed., CHES, BAE-B-SAFE Program Coordinator, Kelsey Olson says. “We’re thrilled to be bringing BAE-B-SAFE to the Austin Community College District.”
Texas public school students receive little, if any, sexual health education, which makes programs like BAE-B-SAFE a great asset to the community college environment.
When TWHC spoke to BAE-B-SAFE Program Director, Ginger Mullaney, about the program back in 2019, she pointed out a few reasons why older Texas students shouldn’t be left out of sexual health education and how BAE-B-SAFE is uniquely positioned to service this community.
“We know that 61 percent of students that experience an unplanned pregnancy in college generally do not finish their education,” Mullaney says. “In Bexar county, 69 percent of all teen births are to 18-and 19-year-olds and we know there’s an increased risk in low- socioeconomic populations. One of the main priorities we had in providing sexual health education to community college students is that we knew students were highly mobile.
Students come-and-go on community college campuses. They may take a class one semester, they may transfer to a four-year university, and so on. We knew we would have to do something that would be conducive to that environment.”
BAE-B-SAFE partnered with the Austin Community College District and the Department of State Health Services to identify the community college campus sites with the highest teen birth rate zip codes, Riverside and Highland. 
“Access to preventive healthcare and contraception is the main goal of the Texas Women’s Healthcare Coalition (TWHC),” Erika Ramirez, TWHC policy director, says. “Advocating for improvements to the women’s health programs is our main priority, so people have access to the healthcare they need, but we also understand the importance of proper sexual health education and how the two go hand in hand. That’s why we’re so excited to see BAE-B-SAFE bring their program to ACC.”
BAE-B-SAFE will enter the campuses with the information young adults need to build healthy relationships, make informed reproductive choices, and have the benefit of being connected to community providers who can further assist them. People’s Community Clinic is already on board and working with BAE-B-SAFE as they prepare for classes to begin.
“Strengthening the clinical referral component by forming a relationship with People’s helps minimizes barriers and ensures more young people access the healthcare they need and deserve,” Olson says. “Partnering with a clinic like People's, a leader in Adolescent Health, and Austin Community College District, and a leader in Community College Excellence, for this Austin project is like creating the ultimate dream team for BAE-B-SAFE. Partnering with these two takes us giant steps closer to our shared goal of supporting student success.”
 Prepared by: Maternal & Child Health Epidemiology Unit, Texas Department of State Health Services, 7/12/2018; Numerator data are from the 2012-2016 Texas Birth Files. Denominator data are from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) 5-Year Estimates, 2012-2016, Table B01001.