Can I use different videos if the included DVDs don't reflect my target population?

Last Updated: Apr 12, 2017 04:55PM PDT
This is a common question as EBPs that were developed for and tested with specific populations begin to be more widely disseminated and used across the country. On the one hand, green-light adaptations are encouraged and include changes to program activities to help them better fit the age, culture, and context of the population served, but actually replacing videos with other videos or activities is labeled a yellow-light (use caution) change.

If you are considering using different videos, the key is really to look carefully at the goals, objectives and core concepts being addressed by the ones you're thinking of replacing. You want to be sure that the key determinants that the activity was designed to impact remain the same. For example, if you find a video that features characters more like your students, can you use the same basic discussion questions to debrief it? (For example, does it still cover the issue of vulnerability to HIV/STD or pregnancy? does it show different characters with different attitudes toward abstinence or protection? etc.) If you don't have to change the discussion questions, except for names and such, that's an indicator that a video could be an acceptable substitute. You don't want to just show a different video about HIV, for example, without making sure that the same facts, attitudes and issues as those raised by the original are going to be addressed. And, of course, grantees should check with their funders or program officers on any proposed adaptations involving videos.

Another approach—especially if you can't find an equivalent video—might be to show the recommended one, and then explicitly discuss the differences between the people in the video and your students, and help them consider assumptions they might be making about vulnerability based on who people are versus what they do—e.g., "These kids live in the city and most of them were African American. Do you think kids here where we live have the same kinds of risks? Why or why not? Does everyone your age need to worry about pregnancy/HIV/STD? Remember, it's not about where you live, your ethnicity, or anything else about who you are—it's what you DO and the choices you make that can put you at risk for HIV, other STDs and unplanned pregnancy." You can draw out the key content, decision points and other moments shown in the video and ask participants to relate it to their own lives, discussing what's the same and what's different for them, while still conveying the core messages.

Learn more in this ETR blog post:
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