Can I use different videos if the ones included in the evidence-based program don't reflect my target population?

ETR has prepared a list of alternative videos to replace those used in many of our evidence-based programs (EPBs).

Request access to ETR’s Alternate Video Guidance

We recommend use of these alternate videos as a green-light adaption to ensure content is medically accurate, up to date and inclusive of the diversity in sexual orientations, gender identities and cultural backgrounds. 

Whether videos can be replaced 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 replacing videos with other videos or activities is usually labeled a yellow-light (use caution) change.

If you are considering using replacement videos other than those on ETR’s list, you’ll want to look carefully at the goals, objectives, and core concepts being addressed by the video you’re thinking of replacing and ensure that the new video addresses the same key determinants that the original activity was designed to meet. 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, helping 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.