mCircle of Life (mCOL)



  • Native Boys and Girls Clubs of the Northern Plains
  • Office of Minority Health
  • (mCOL hosting organization)
  • Indian Health Service, HIV Program
  • Kat Communications (multimedia developer)

Original Curriculum Developers (Circle of Life K-6, Circle of Life 6-7)

ORBIS Associates, with assistance and input from:

  • Bureau of Indian Education
  • Centers for Disease Control
  • FirstPic, Inc.
  • Indian Health Service
  • National Congress of American Indians


Specific aims


  1. Digitize a multimedia Circle of Life (mCOL) curriculum for computer-based learning and adapt components to accommodate shortened after-school programming and young adolescent age group.
  2. Evaluate mCOL in a group-randomized trial with youth attending Native Boys and Girls Clubs of the Northern Plains 
  3. Disseminate results and the computer-based Circle of Life, if shown to be effective.




Circle of Life was translated into a web-based program called multimedia Circle of Life (mCOL).  Teacher’s guidance and training materials were developed for access via internet resources (e.g., YouTube training videos).  Four of 8 mCOL units implemented 100% of online chapters and 100% of class activities. Across all mCOL units, 71% of possible activities were completed. At the individual level, only 30% of youth in the mCOL arm at baseline completed 70% of the program, mainly due to high attrition. We tested the effect of receiving mCOL on psychosocial and behavioral precursors to sex in this young adolescent population.  Compared with the control group, youth who received mCOL scored significantly higher on HIV/sexually transmitted infection (STI) knowledge questions at both 3-month and 9-month follow-ups; self-efficacy to avoid peer pressure and self-efficacy to avoid sex were significantly higher at posttest; self-perceived volition was significantly higher at 9-month follow-up; and no differences were found for behavioral precursors to sex. mCOL had modest effects on precursors to sexual behavior, which may lead to less risky sexual behavior in later years. Qualitative data from mCOL unit program staff and youth suggest the program was highly regarded.


mCOL and supporting materials are available for free on the HealthyNativeYouth portal.


Centers for American Indian & Alaska Native Health

Colorado School of Public Health

CU Anschutz

Nighthorse Campbell Native Health Building

13055 East 17th Avenue

Mail Stop F800

Aurora, CO 80045

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