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Featured Model Teen Programs

Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center
East Harlem, New York

Mount Sinai AHC (East Harlem, New York) is a freestanding hospital-based adolescent medicine clinic whose mission is to provide adolescents with inclusive, integrated health services, and, in the process, help them develop into capable young people who can advocate effectively for their own health. In support of this goal, prevention, education, and opportunities for self-development are integrated into every aspect of the program. Staff at the center include 6 adolescent medicine specialists, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, an ob/gyn, 20 clinical social workers, 3 health educators, 2 child psychologists, dieticians, nurse practitioners, physician's assistants, and ambulatory care technicians. A cornerstone of AHC's approach is to have these staff members operate as a consciously collaborative team, with the aim of providing each patient with a coordinated, highly individualized care program. The health center serves more than 10,000 teens a year.

As a part of a comprehensive physical exam, a patient receives reproductive health screening and counseling, a mental health assessment, appropriate tests and immunizations, risk-reduction counseling, and health education. For adolescents requiring mental health services, AHC provides on-site testing and diagnostic services; individual, group and family psychotherapy; and substance abuse counseling. The center also provides a wide range of ongoing peer support groups, including groups for youth with HIV/AIDS, adolescents with eating disorders, children of alcoholics and drug abusers, and teen parents.

The program makes a conscious effort to welcome adolescents and engage them in ways that make them feel comfortable and safe. The clinic has Saturday and evening hours and accomodates walk-in appointments. Health education and skill-building are a core part of both primary care and the wide range of specialty health programs available to teens. Whether patients make use of programs on weight management and fitness, pregnancy prevention, eating disorders, HIV/AIDS, or teen parenting, they learn how to make healthy decisions, to value themselves, and to become informed, effective health care consumers. Their development is also supported through mentoring, tutoring, legal advocacy, and GED support programs.

The process of engaging teens also includes involving them as partners in furthering Mount Sinai's mission. A peer education program called SPEEK (Sinai Peers Encouraging Empowerment Through Knowledge) prepares teens to engage community youths and facilitate workshops on preventing pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted infections.

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