September 1, 2016

The UNC Injury Prevention Research Center has been awarded a four-year, $1.79 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to examine the impact of a rape-prevention education program. The study will be conducted by faculty members from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and the UNC School of Social Work, with support from researchers at the Children’s Home Society of North Carolina.

photo, Dr. Beth Moracco

Dr. Beth Moracco

The evaluation of the rape education program, which is conducted through the Children’s Home Society and called “Wise Guys: The Next Level,” will be co-led by Beth Moracco, PhD, research associate professor of health behavior at the Gillings School.

The Family Life Program of Greensboro, N.C., initiated the involvement of rape-prevention education for male teens in 1990, with the establishment of the Wise Guys® program. “Wise Guys: The Next Level” works to educate young men ages 18 to 29.

The CDC-funded evaluation will determine best practices for implementing similar rape-prevention education programs throughout North Carolina and around the country.

“Sexual violence is a highly prevalent and deeply significant social and public health problem,” Moracco said. “Despite the magnitude and severity of sexual violence, little is known about how best to prevent sexual violence perpetration. This critical gap in the sexual violence prevention evidence limits our ability to implement comprehensive programs to prevent and reduce sexual violence perpetration.”

“Working through state health departments, such as the Injury and Violence Prevention Branch in the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC has provided financial support for many rape prevention education programs,” said Rebecca Macy, PhD, distinguished professor in the UNC School of Social Work and co-principal investigator for the evaluation. “However, the effectiveness of most of these programs remains largely unknown, as there have been very few randomized trials similar to this study. This study will add to practice-based evidence on strategies for sexual violence prevention.”

N.C. fourth-district congressman David Price was instrumental in securing the grant.

“I am thrilled that UNC has received this funding, which will help ensure that North Carolina remains at the forefront of preventing sexual and intimate partner violence,” Price said. “The UNC Injury Prevention Research Center and Children’s Home Society are doing vitally important work to support a culture of respectful relationships.”

Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or

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