Wise Guys: the Next Level is based out of Guilford county and currently has about 200 participants. The instructors are full-time professional staff who have a background in health education and received training in the program.
Instructors go into high schools, colleges, re-entry programs, prison-based programs and substance abuse programs between eight to 12 times to deliver the curriculum.
“There are chapters in the curriculum devoted to communication, dealing with anger, focusing on the effects of alcohol and other substances, decision-making, sexual decision-making,” Brown said. “It helps guys understand the way they interpret masculinity and manhood.”
Brown believes programs like Wise Guys are necessary because sexual violence is a public health problem that is severely underreported.
The team at UNC evaluating the program will include researchers from UNC, the North Carolina Health Department, the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the Children’s Home Society of North Carolina.
The team will be led by Beth Moracco from the School of Public Health.
“We hope to find out what aspects of (Wise Guys) are effective and what needs to be changed,” Moracco said. “Hopefully our findings get disseminated to other communities so other communities can benefit from the program as well.”
As part of the study, the team will seek to standardize the program and develop data collection tools to gather information about the participants before, during and after the program. The participants will be asked questions about gender norms, masculinity and their own behavior as bystanders and participants in sexual violence.