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 such as “Teen Talks.”
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