Texas teens are unique. Their healthcare should be too. At least that’s what the tagline says on the Healthy Texas Youth website, created through the Texas Youth-Friendly Initiative. At this point you’re asking yourself, “What is the Texas Youth-Friendly Initiative and what exactly does “unique” healthcare look like for Texas teens?” 

Good questions! The Texas Youth-Friendly Initiative (TYFI) is a grant-funded project led by the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and delivered in collaboration with Texas-based and national partners. TYFI helps build the capacity of health centers to improve care delivery to young people ages 10-24 through their participation in an 18-month Adolescent Champion Model (ACM) developed by the Adolescent Health Initiative (AHI). To date, Texas Campaign, along with its partners, have supported a total of 16 Texas clinics to ultimately become certified Adolescent-Centered Environments through the TYFI. 

AHI’s Adolescent-Centered Care Model has 12 areas of focus: respectful treatment, parent engagement, cultural responsiveness, best practices and standards of care, behavioral health clinical practices, adolescent involvement and empowerment, confidentiality, community engagement and outreach, adolescent appropriate environment, reproductive and sexual health clinical practices, nutritional health clinical practices, and access to care. How’s that for unique? 

These attributes may seem obvious and underwhelming in silo, but according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Accreditation Committee for Graduate Medical Education currently requires only one month of adolescent medicine training from a board-certified adolescent medicine specialist for all pediatric residency programs. (Source: American Academy of Pediatrics)

All 3 cohorts showed improvements in the 12 areas of Adolescent-Centered Care upon completion of the TYFI, based on adolescent patient survey results, making the launch of the 4th cohort all the more exciting! The 5 clinical teams that make up the new cohort provide adolescent healthcare services in Austin, Galveston, Houston, Stafford, and Tyler, Texas, joining the ranks of adolescent champions that hail from Bell, Gregg, Harris, Matagorda, Montgomery, Travis, and Williamson Counties. 

The cohort 4 clinics are in their 5th month of the 18-month ACM, meaning that they have assessed their clinical environments for adolescent-friendliness, surveyed their staff and adolescent patients to gauge attitudes and perceptions of youth-friendliness in the clinics’ practices, and attended the first of two TYFI summits where participants develop a deeper understanding of how to drive practice changes for exceptional health service delivery to youth, identify barriers to implementation, develop strategies for success, and participate in collaborative discussions with their counterparts.

Each month, we will introduce you to a TYFI Cohort 4 Champion Team, highlighting each of their challenges and successes as they navigate the process of becoming an Adolescent-Centered Environment.  To learn more about TYFI, visit the TYFI web page, and/or contact J.R. Chester, Project Director, at jr@txcampaign.org.