Texas Youth-Friendly Initiative Clinic Spotlight

The Texas Campaign is leading the Texas Youth-Friendly Initiative (TYFI), a grant-funded project delivered in collaboration with community and national partners.  The Adolescent Champion Model is an 18-month multifaceted intervention that addresses a health center’s environment, policies, and practices to ensure that all aspects of a visit to the health center are youth-centered. TYFI Project Director, J.R. Chester, interviewed Martha Norris, PA from The Teen Health Center, one of the five clinics in TYFI Cohort 4. Martha shared insight into their hardworking clinic.  

 

Tell us about your organization/program and the amazing youth you serve. 

The Teen Health Center was established in 1985, by a group of Galveston physicians who opened a clinic to address the health needs of island teens. From that beginning, the program has grown and expanded to five school-based clinics. Since clinics are in local schools, students miss as little time as possible while meeting their medical and mental health needs.

Young people from birth to 21 years old who live in Galveston or attend Galveston schools are eligible for Teen Health Center services. 

Ball High Teen Health Clinic is located inside the local public high school.  All our health care is free. The teens I serve are amazing and interested in improving their health, and most importantly, they are open to preventive healthcare.  

What do you love most about providing medical care for young people? 

What I love most about serving young people is what they teach me! I also enjoy teaching them, and discussing ways they can take control of their healthcare. I enjoy building relationships with teens, watching them become adults and seeing their success in our community. 

 Why did you choose to join the Texas Youth-Friendly Initiative (TYFI)? 

Since the pandemic, like most health care providers, I felt burned out.  About that time, I heard about TYFI, and felt it was time to remind myself why I became a PA and why I love what I do. TYFI has given me a fresh perspective on caring for adolescents and another way to improve care in my clinic. 

What has been my favorite part of the TYFI so far?  

Honestly, as tedious as the implementation plan was for me, it also served and gave me a new purpose on how to make positive changes to serve youth better.  It has helped me realize how much we are not doing for our youth and to open my mind to changes/challenges that are occurring when serving this population. 

How do you foresee the young people whom you serve benefiting from your participation in the TYFI?

I think the young people I serve will benefit from Ball Teen Health Clinic’s participation in the Texas Youth-Friendly Initiative because the resources and training available to me through TYFI will improve my knowledge base and also help my colleagues learn more about adolescents. Ultimately, this will have a positive outcome for the young people I serve. 

 

Below are some spotlights of the people who help Teen Health Clinic succeed! 

Martha Norris, PA

Mrs. Norris manages the Teen Health Center, Inc. clinic at Ball High School in Galveston. I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Texas Medical Branch. I am Board Certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. I have worked for the Teen Health Center, Inc. since 2009 and was the 2020 Employee of the Year.

 

 

Erin Kearney-Conrad, PA

Mrs. Kearney-Conrad manages the Teen Health Center, Inc.’s clinics at Austin Middle School and Collegiate Academy at Weis in Galveston. She earned a BA in Communication from St. Edward’s University and a Master’s in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Texas Medical Branch. She is Board Certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. Ms. Kearney-Conrad has worked for the Teen Health Center, Inc. since 2008.

 

Sonia Johnican

Ms. Johnican is a Health Aide at the Ball High School clinic. She received a certification as a medical assistant from Remington College and a certification in medical billing and coding from the Ultimate Medical Academy. Ms. Johnican has worked for the Teen Health Center, Inc. since 2015.

 

Covid Vaccine outreach.

 

All Teen Health Medical Providers during Back To School Vaccine outreach. Pictured from left: China Smith, Martha Norris, and Erin Conrad.

 

Pictured is our Teen Health Staff participating in International Adolescent Health Week 2021.