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Featured Model Teen Programs

Daly City Youth Health Center
Daly City, California

For over 19 years, the Daly City Youth Health Center (DCYHC) has provided comprehensive health and youth development services in Northern San Mateo County outside of San Francisco. The DCYHC is a satellite teen clinic of the San Mateo Medical Center, a federally qualified health center, and operates as a school-linked health center for five high schools, and also as a provider for local community college students and older adolescents not enrolled in schools. San Mateo Medical Center funds the majority of medical staff and supplies, and the Jefferson Union High School District supports 10% of the center’s budget. Other funding support comes from a mix of foundation, government grants, and donations from corporations and individuals. A unique collaboration since its inception, the DCYHC was established by both the Jefferson Union High School District and the San Mateo Medical Center to combat adolescent health disparities, including disproportionately high rates of suicide. This partnership allows for an exchange of staff, as well as access to mental health counseling, vocational programs, and health education in high schools throughout the area.

The DCYHC is staffed by a comprehensive multidisciplinary team including nurse practitioners, family therapists, family therapist interns, health educators, a care coordinator, vocational counselors, and an adolescent medicine physician that is able to provide a wide variety of services. However, over 80% of medical visits are initially for reproductive health reasons. Each year, the center sees more than 2,400 youth for physical and reproductive health services and more than 425 youth for mental health counseling. Most of the adolescents seen at the center are Asian or Hispanic. Although appointments are necessary, the center has an “open access” system where appointments are made for the same or next day, helping to increase service utilization and decrease rescheduling and no-shows.

As a method of outreach to students in the high schools, the center furnishes a 10-day comprehensive health education program to nearly 1,700 youth in local high schools and middle schools. The program uses peer health educators, known as the “Sex Ed Squad,” to teach two of the days. The peer health educators are selected by a rigorous interview process, are trained in weekly meetings throughout the year, and participate in a daylong “Sex Ed Bootcamp” training in the fall and the “Sex Ed Olympics” in the spring. They also help with local health fairs and serve as resources at their own schools, wearing their squad t-shirts to market their unique knowledge to peers. This past year over 100 youth were trained.

Motivated by its mission to provide integrated services that increase resiliency, encourage responsibility, and promote self determination, DCYHC also offers youth development programs. A mentoring program matches at-risk high school students with an adult in the community to participate in monthly leadership and confidence-building activities, such as circus school and ropes courses. Another program helps youth prepare for the workforce through job readiness workshops, career exploration field trips, and a summer work program. Two counseling and educational support groups also meet weekly -- a group for parents of adolescents and a teen mom’s support group for pregnant and parenting teens. DCYHC is constantly piloting new ideas and programs such as the free condom availability program in local high schools and an obesity and nutrition education program. Feedback of DCYHC programs and services is regularly solicited to ensure that adolescent-centered care is provided.

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