The Adolescent Medicine Program offers a broad range of clinical services to meet the health needs of those aged 12-25 years. This is a dynamic and exciting period of life, characterized by profound social, cognitive and physical change. The goal of adolescent medicine is to identify and build upon each teen’s strengths to support their general health and wellness. Adolescent and young adult medicine physicians are trained in these developmental needs, as well as in preventing and treating medical conditions that are common in this age group.
A teen’s experience in adolescent medicine may be different from other visits to the doctor: Adolescent medicine physicians may work closely with other providers who specialize in mental health, nutrition, and social work. Secondly, each teen will be seen independently for part of the visit; the physician’s focus will be on the adolescent or young adult as an independent patient. Finally, some of the child’s care will be confidential.
Adolescent and young adult medicine physicians are trained to assess all areas of children’s health, including their physical and mental health. Some areas, including mental or reproductive health, are considered confidential care, which is regulated by state laws for minors. When care is confidential, parents may not be told about all aspects of care by the clinician. Some parents may have concerns that important information may be hidden from them. However, it is important to note that if a teen talks about concerns related to physical harm, such as harming themselves, planning to harm someone else, or that someone is harming them, this information is not kept secret, and the physician works with the teen to identify next steps in how to get them help in those situations.
Adolescent and young adult medicine physicians receive training on talking with patients about confidentiality and their rights as a patient, particularly for younger teens. These physicians also work with adolescent patients to consider ways to foster conversations with their parents about important topics, such as mental and reproductive health, so that parents can best support their teen and their health.
Adolescent and young adult medicine physicians may require a referral for a clinic visit. Some conditions that may lead to a referral include menstrual disorders, contraception needs, sexual health counseling, mental health issues (such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD), substance use, and pubertal skin issues such as acne.