Adolescence is a crucial time period for the development of healthy social, emotional and physical habits, yet most teens are less likely to visit the doctor to receive guidance and preventative health services. Further, teens may receive health care services from a variety of providers. The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model, developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emphasizes the importance of schools, health agencies, parents, and communities collectively supporting the health and academic achievement of adolescents. The model is underpinned by the idea that collaboration ensures that all young people feel safe, engaged, supported and challenged.
The resources on this page include approaches and strategies to address adolescent sexual health holistically in partnership with schools and other community organizations.
The AAP defines the medical home as "an approach to providing comprehensive primary care that facilitates partnerships between patients, clinicians, medical staff, and families. A medical home extends beyond the four walls of a clinical practice. It includes specialty care, educational services, family support and more." The AAP-based National Center for Medical Home Implementation provides a full-range of technical assistance for clinicians to integrate a medical home approach in their practice.
As children live within the context of families, the family unit is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Families should be welcomed and engaged in the growth and development of their child as they move through different developmental stages, especially during the changes that occur during adolescence. While, there are unique expectations that exist as adolescents begin to make personal health decisions, parents are still important to the support of that child.
With teens spending much of their time at school, schools can play a critical role in facilitating the delivery of Sexual Health Services. Many schools have infrastructure in place, including school-based health centers (SBHCs) or school nurses, to support health care services, but lack the resources to refer to the medical home for services unavailable in the school-setting. Strategies to facilitate school-medical home referrals include the following resources developed jointly by CAI Associates and the National Coalition of STD Directors:
Developing a Referral System for Sexual Health Services – (this requires a form to be completed for download)
Establishing Organizational Partnerships to Increase Student Access to Sexual Health Services