What A CATCH! About the ‘Connecting Adolescents to Comprehensive Healthcare’ Program


Olivia Fair

Ms. Hewitt, the school nurse, educates students about contraceptives provided through the CATCH program.

Contraceptive options have been made more available to Bronx Science students through the organization called ‘Connecting Adolescents to Comprehensive Healthcare,’ known by the acronym, CATCH. The program is citywide, and it distributes contraceptives to girls in high school who are over fourteen years old. Among its many services, CATCH provides birth control pills, the birth control shot, free condoms, pregnancy tests, and Plan B doses.

Due to the increased prevalence of contraceptive availability nationwide, teen pregnancy rates have dropped in the past decade. In 2011, there were fifty-eight pregnancies per 1,000 teenage girls, and by 2014, it was down to thirty-six pregnancies per 1,000 teenage girls, as reported by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. With the help of CATCH, these rates will diminish even more.

Many students at Bronx Science make use of CATCH and like the program. Adam Yoo ’17 said, “The CATCH program is uniquely good, because it offers options for women to take charge of their sexual health with female oriented birth control, such as female condoms and pregnancy tests. This is especially useful because the cost of some female birth control can be prohibitively high for students.”

It is a helpful step in the right direction for lessening the taboo regarding sex, especially for women. Students seem to appreciate what the program has done. One student who uses the program herself and asked to remain anonymous said, “Our school is very open regarding resources in these situations, but it can still feel like taboo for people who use contraceptives, which can prevent them from taking advantage of this opportunity. I think it’s a really great resource.”

In 2013, almost half the population of teenagers nationwide reported that they are sexually active. Regarding this subject, Anjali Chunasamy ’17 said, “I’m tired of sex not being talked about. I don’t think that it should be such an awkward and uncomfortable subject, because ignorance and lack of discussion is what leads to any problems that might arise because of it. The important thing is that you are safe, and that’s why I think CATCH is one of the best recent additions to Bronx Science.”

Due to the increased prevalence of contraceptive availability nationwide, teen pregnancy rates have dropped in the past decade.

Even though students praise CATCH for its services, it still has room to improve. “It took me out of my classes at some inconvenient times, which I didn’t like very much at all. I would have preferred being taken out of free periods because it was not usually possible to anticipate getting called down,” says one student who also wished to remain anonymous.  Another user of CATCH who also wished to remain anonymous commented, “Raising awareness or making information about when and what is offered again would be really useful, since not everyone may know about it or how to take advantage of it.”

Hopefully, CATCH will remain at Bronx Science for many years to come. It provides free guidance and services for teens who wish to be sexually active. Although there is some slight room for improvement within the program, overall, it has proven to be most beneficial to many Bronx Science students.