Tailored Care for Teens
Alyssa and Max
Like so many kids their age, Max and Alyssa have routine health needs that go beyond the scope of a typical pediatric visit. From dermatology and sports medicine to gynecology and psychology, the clinic addresses a range of health needs at one location, in every visit. New patient visits are scheduled for a full hour, but sometimes last 2 to 3 hours depending on the patient’s needs. Adolescent Medicine specialist Sophia Yen, MD, MPH, explains, “This will be the most thorough examination most teens have ever had.”
Every visit includes a physical examination, as well as a thorough—and confidential—psychosocial assessment known as HEADSS: home, education, activities, sex and suicide. Parents are invited to stay with their child for the physical, but are then asked to leave to allow open dialogue between doctor and patient. While this may be new to families with younger children accustomed to parent-supervised pediatric care, it’s a key aspect of helping teens begin to take responsibility for their own health.
Max speaks to Dr. Sophia Yen
Max, for example, hasn’t told Dr. Yen anything that his mother doesn’t know. But the neutral, non-judgmental approach he gets from Yen and her fellow physicians puts him at ease. “None of the doctors I spoke with at the clinic reacted with surprise or shock at anything I said,” Max explained. He realized the staff was there to support his health and safety, not to judge his behavior. “It’s great to have a doctor make you feel so comfortable. They touched on subjects that kids my age live with every day. They asked about my association with alcohol, drugs, sex, whether I drink and drive, how often I drink. They followed up on everything.” Dr. Yen also provided the first effective treatment for Max’s acne that he’s ever had.
Dr. Neville Golden examines Alyssa
One of Alyssa’s vaccinations was the HPV vaccine, a protection against cervical cancer. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends the vaccine be given when a patient is 11 or 12 years old. “The HPV vaccine has shown greater effectiveness when given at younger ages, well before a young woman becomes sexually active,” Yen says. “We know that 10 percent of 13-year-olds have had sex, and the numbers go up about 10 percent with each year of age.” Dr. Yen’s highest objective is to prevent teen pregnancy and the transmission of STDs.
“If teens develop a trusting relationship with an adolescent medicine specialist,” says Dr. Yen, “we can help/teach them to make responsible choices, and help keep them healthy and safe.”
Dr. Yen prescribed physical therapy for Alyssa’s knee and antibiotics for Max’s acne. With his skin now clear and his focus on college applications, Max had one word to sum up the clinic: cool. “I think if people realized that there’s a specific type of doctor just for teens, they’d jump on it. It just makes so much sense.”
Learn MoreTeen and Young Adult Clinic
Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Center for Adolescent Health
1174 Castro St. Suite 250
Mountain View, CA 94040
Learn more about Packard Children’s Center for Adolescent Health.