Additional Health Support Targets Teens

By: Lindsey Ward
By: Lindsey Ward

February 20, 2007

Teen health is a topic of concern for many parents. With the funds, the teen health center is set to begin a new program called Adolescent Advocacy and Outreach. It will educate parents, teens and policy makers on all the issues facing teenagers, using research.

“We're looking to really tell the story of what's going on with teens in our community,” Dyan Aretakis said.

And in our community, the teen health center's new program, will focus on risk behaviors, such as teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and suicide.
The concern for their health surfaced, as UVa's Teen Health center watched pregnancy rates decrease, but the case number of teens with sexually transmitted diseases increase.

“It became very important that a facility that was rooted in science, because of our affiliation with UVa, create this program so that we could start to offer programs that were evidence based, that were really good, well researched programs,” Aretakis said.

With the research found on teen health, AAOP coordinator Mary Sullivan will bring people from the community together to discuss their concerns, such as parents, adolescent providers and law makers.
With everyone's help, they can overcome the communication barrier to reach teenagers.

“On one hand we give teenagers certain responsibilities and on the other hand we often treat them as children. They really are in a transition to adulthood that makes them quite different from children,” AAOP Coordinator Mary Sullivan said.

And with this new program, they hope to help make the transition from one stage to the next, seamless.
Along with their other outreach programs, this new one has already begun and the plans to hold an adolescent reproductive health conference are in the works.
All in all, the UVa teen health center treats 3,600 patients a year from ages 12 to 20.

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