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Founded in 2008, the EMPOWERR Program is located at the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center (NCVC), a division of MUSC's Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. EMPOWERR is currently funded with a five year Minority AIDS Initiative grant by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The EMPOWERR Program's mission is to reduce the onset of substance use and prevent the transmission of HIV, Hepatitis, and other sexually transmitted infections as well as unintended pregnancy in minority youth ages 12-25 in Charleston and Berkeley Counties. The EMPOWERR Program seeks to reach these goals through providing Evidence-Based Interventions (EBIs), programs that have been tested and proven to work. These programs are also approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the Office of Adolescent Health at the US Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, EMPOWERR participates in numerous health fairs and awareness events in the community and on college campuses, maintains a strong social media prescence for the purpose of broadly dissemninating evidence based prevention information, and provides case management and referral services for participants.

The EMPOWERR Program recognizes that abstinence is the healthiest choice for young people. We do not encourage sexual activity among youth, but hope young people practice safer sex behaviors should they choose to have sex. The EMPOWERR Program recognizes that evidence based comprehensive sexual education programs like the ones used in our practice have been shown to delay initial onset of sexual activity, reduce the number of sexual partners, and reduce the incidences of sexual activity.

The goals of the EMPOWERR program include:

  • To reduce HIV/AIDS and substance abuse related problems for minorities in our community.
  • Preventing HIV/AIDS as well as drug and alcohol use in minority teens in Charleston County.
  • Helping local families find and receive quality health, mental health, and case management services