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Legacy Program Summary

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IMPORTANT LEGACY NOTICE: Legacy Programs have not been reviewed by the current National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP). The programs in this database were reviewed only under the previous National Registry of Effective Prevention Programs system. This section is intended to be used for historical reference only. If you would like more information about a program listed here, please contact the program developer directly. The program developer of each Legacy Program listed here agreed to post program information on this site.

Urban Women Against Substance Abuse (UWASA)

Brief Program Description

Urban Women Against Substance Abuse (UWASA) is a community-based program that targets Puerto Rican, Latina, and African- and Caribbean-American girls, and their female caregivers. UWASA is theoretically grounded in social learning theory demonstrating the connection between identified risk indicators-juvenile drug abuse violations, high school dropouts, teen birth rate, sexual abuse referrals-and the primary protective factors identified as cultural and community leadership by female adults. A central feature of UWASA is a self-development curriculum that uses critical inquiry while facilitating girls to build cultural and gender identity, ATOD knowledge, HIV awareness, and to explore educational and career options. The program targets risk and protective factors using three principal components:

  1. The "Empowered Voices: A Participatory Action Research Curriculum for Girls"
  2. The solidification of knowledge and critical inquiry skills through a youth-led participatory action research project
  3. A mother's component designed to increase and enhance communication between girls and their female caregivers

Evaluations of UWASA revealed the success of this program in achieving a positive and significant effect on HIV/AIDS knowledge. Furthermore, treatment girls appeared to maintain substance use attitudes as healthy as those observed at baseline after the intervention. In addition, positive mother-daughter communications was positively related to reduced risk attitudes and behaviors.

Contact Information

For indepth information on this program, please use the contact listed below.

Program Developer

Jean J. Schensul, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist and Founding Director
Institute for Community Research
2 Hartford Sq. West - Suite 100
Hartford, CT 06106
Phone: (860) 278-2044 ext. 227
Fax: (860) 278-2141
Web site:

In July 2000, this program was designated as a Promising Program under SAMHSA's previous National Registry of Effective Prevention Programs system.