Adolescent and Transition Medicine

Supporting Teens in Times of Change

Smiling teenage girl.Major change is a normal part of being a teen. Adolescence is a time of physical maturity, developing sexuality, powerful emotions and rapid changes in ways of thinking. Our team of experts is proud to provide primary care, as well as consultative services, to young adults. 

The primary care and health challenges of adolescents differ distinctly from those of children and adults. To meet those challenges, the field of adolescent medicine has emerged as a subspecialty of pediatric and adult medicine.

The Division of Adolescent and Transition Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s has been in existence for more than 40 years and is a recognized leader in the field.

We are growing to better meet the needs of teens, their families and their primary care providers, as well as to promote innovative training and research in adolescent health. We also are strengthening community relationships through outreach programs. 

What is Adolescent Medicine?

Adolescence is a transition period between childhood and adulthood. It is a normal developmental period filled with major changes in physical maturity and sexuality, cognitive processes (ways of thinking and thought content), emotional feelings and relationships with others.

Addressing the healthcare needs of this age group requires not only addressing identified health concerns, but also considering the complicated interactions of developmental changes on healthcare needs, the effectiveness of treatment, health education and health promotion.

Teaching Preventative Health

As adolescents begin to take responsibility for their own health, education and promotion of preventive healthcare is important. We teach teens about topics such as healthy eating habits, general wellness and health, pregnancy prevention, sexually transmitted diseases and the effects of smoking and substance abuse. Providing health education to adolescents requires special consideration and effort to ensure understanding and encourage compliance.

Meeting Key Criteria

The Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine has identified seven criteria to providing healthcare to teens:

  • Availability of age-appropriate services
  • Visibility of adolescent, preventive, healthcare guidelines
  • Quality care
  • Confidentiality of medical information requiring adolescent consent (with encouragement of family involvement)
  • Affordability of access to care
  • Flexibility of healthcare providers to recognize and respond to individual and diverse needs of adolescents
  • Coordination of medical, mental health, social and other services

Transition Medicine

The Transition Medicine team at Cincinnati Children’s wants to partner with teenagers and young adults with chronic health conditions or developmental disabilities to create a plan for healthcare transition as they get older. Patients as young as 16 years old can be seen by members of the Transition Medicine team.

All teenagers and young adults should receive quality healthcare that is appropriate for their age. Healthcare transition is the process of an individual graduating from the pediatric system to the adult system.  It is recommended that healthcare transition should be initiated in early adolescence around the age of 14. It is around the age of 14 that teenagers should assume more responsibility for their healthcare.

The Transition Medicine team will ask questions about your medical history, current health, prescribed medications, immunizations and your abilities as well as your experience managing your healthcare.  Our team will ask you about your life goals and will assist you in planning for changes in health insurance.  Depending on your individual needs, we may provide a physical exam and have lab work completed.  We will collaborate with you to establish primary and specialty care in the adult healthcare system.
  • Build self-advocacy skills
  • Strengthen ability to develop independence
  • Assume personal responsibility to manage healthcare
  • Achieve optimal physical fitness and physical health
  • Gain knowledge about the importance of preventive healthcare
  • Establish uninterrupted medically and developmentally appropriate healthcare
  • Reach attainable levels of self-worth and emotional health

For teenagers and young adults who have intellectual or physical disabilities, our team will address:

  • Insurance issues
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Guardianship
  • Guidelines for transition should you require emergency room services or an inpatient hospital stay
  • The transition to adult primary and specialty care providers
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Community resources
  • Vocational services 
Patients who have been followed by a cardiologist will continue to see their pediatric cardiologist while our Transition Medicine team will establish the plan for the transition from pediatric to adult healthcare for primary care or other specialty healthcare needs. We will work with cardiac patients as young as 13 years old.
The Transition Medicine physicians are available to consult on inpatients who present with adult healthcare concerns.

Our research includes:

  • The creation of  transition readiness tools and interventions
  • Identification of disease-specific associations with transition preparation
  • Study of the attitudes of providers involved in healthcare transition
  • Study of the differences in the process of healthcare transition that might be present for patients with different chronic conditions

Teen Health Center

Our specially trained experts see patients ages 12 through 25 to address a wide range of medical, social, emotional, sexual, educational and nutritional concerns. Teen Health Center

Make an Appointment

For information or to schedule an appointment, contact us at 513-636-4681. Contact Us

Research Highlights

We conduct many studies to better understand teen development, prevent unhealthy behaviors, and improve healthcare quality for teens with chronic disease. Learn More