The Playbook

teenplaybook.pngThe Playbook: Your Guide to Safer, Sexier Choices is a social marketing campaign to connect sexually active 18-19-year-olds to clinical services.

Pregnancies to 18- and 19-year-olds make up 71% of the North Carolina's teen pregnancies. The Playbook aims to address the largely unaddressed needs of older youth, as well as compliment SHIFT NC's initiatives working in communities across North Carolina.

The Playbook was developed and piloted as part of Gaston Youth Connected, a multi-pronged, community-wide initiative to address teen pregnancy in Gaston County. Much of the initiative's work focused on improving clinical services, implementing programs for school-aged youth, and rallying community support for prevention. After just three years of the five-year project, the county’s teen pregnancy rate had fallen nearly 40%, and the historic gap between white and African-American teen pregnancies closed. 

The Outreach Campaign

The ultimate goal of The Playbook is to increase the number of 18- and 19-year-olds using a highly effective birth control method, like an IUD or implant, to avoid an unplanned pregnancy. 

The Playbook consists of a comprehensive website, several social media outreach efforts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and some IRL (in real life) outreach.  On the website, young people can find:

  • A detailed overview of birth control methods, created in partnership with
  • A health center finder and detailed overview on what birth control methods and services are offered, the doctors and staff, directions, etc.
  • Advice on social situations and healthy relationships
  • Tips on how to talk to parents, partners, mentors, and doctors about birth control and sex
  • An overview of their legal rights as a young adult living in North Carolina
  • The ability to submit a question and have it answered by a health educator

IRL Outreach

In addition to digital outreach, we want to be sure young people can connect with information on great birth control in the places they live, work, and enjoy life. We also want to help our partnering health care providers present birth control info in an age-appropriate way. The following materials are used in various health care settings of SHIFT NC's initiative, at public events, and in spaces like the mall. 

Poster - Colorblind and Poster - Extra Finger (2016) - Displayed in lobbies and exam rooms at Playbook-Approved Doctor's offices. These posters address a common concern among sexually active teens - that the potential risks of birth control methods outweigh their effectiveness. 

Brochure - For medical professionals and health educators to help young people choose a method. This brochure has been tailored to fit each of SHIFT NC's initiatives and the surrounding community it serves, with each including a map of local, Playbook-Approved Doctor's offices.

  • All Together Now (Durham County, NC)
  • Healthy Tomorrow Alliance (Greensboro, NC)
  • NC Youth Connected (Cumberland County, NC)


We don't want to encourage young people to seek health care services and then have them have a negative experience. Therefore, our partner health care providers are designated as "Playbook-Approved Doctors' offices." We promise young people that if they go to a Playbook-Approved provider, they will get: 

  • Confidentiality: A staff that understands teens' legal right in North Carolina to receive confidential sexual health care (meaning birth control, exams, STD/HIV testing and treatment, pregnancy testing and prenatal care). 
  • Time and Care: People who are willing to answer questions about sexual health and birth control. 
  • Quality and Knowledge: Doctors who know the latest information and best birth control recommendations for teens, and can help them find a birth control method they like. 
  • A Positive Outlook: People who will provide information and birth control without being judgmental about sexuality or sexual activity.


Special thanks to all the great partners who helped us develop The Playbook: 

  • To for providing medically accurate, age appropriate method descriptions, videos, moral support, and more. 
  • To Jess, Liz, and Sara of RebootSF for their initial design work. 
  • To Dawn, Brian, and Mary Alice from BC/DC Ideas for their design work, scheming, creativity, and joy. 
  • To our clinic partners for helping us lower the teen pregnancy rate by nearly 40% and eliminate Gaston County's racial disparity in teen pregnancy rates in just two years. 

Questions about The Playbook? Contact Director of Strategic Communications Elizabeth Finley.