May 2009

From the President

Adolescent Health and Teen Pregnancy

By Phyllis Sloyer, President, AMCHP 

Welcome to this issue of Pulse and its focus on adolescent health and teen pregnancy. As a society, we are continuously stimulated with pictures of healthy babies and gregarious toddlers that evoke mental pictures of motherhood and apple pie. Unfortunately, we pay much less attention to the health needs of adolescents and the impact that their health will have on future generations of children. One of the most significant markers of our success as a nation is the rate of teen pregnancy. For over a decade, beginning in 1991, we witnessed declines in teen births. Unfortunately, the improvements ceased and now the birth rates for teens are increasing. According to the CDC, the number of births for 15 to 19 year olds in 2006 rose by three percent from the previous year; the largest increase in a single year since 1989-1990. [read more]  

From the CEO

The Importance of Adolescent Health

By Mike R. Fraser, PhD

If we think about where we may have the most impact as public health professionals — child and adolescent health should come to the top of our list. The things we do to assure that our children and teenagers are healthy will put them on a trajectory toward good health. Conversely, not paying attention to the specific health needs of children and adolescents will at best result in coincidental good health outcomes and at worst result in poor health for generations to come. Adolescent health is a particularly significant area for public health intervention. As our children mentally and physically become adults the steps we take to assure our teens have the information and community resources they need to make healthy decisions are vital. Why then, do we spend so little time thinking about the health needs of adolescents at this critical period in their development? [read more


National Stakeholders Meeting - AMCHP Work

By Lissa Pressfield, MHS

Program Manager, Adolescent Health, AMCHP

In January 2009, the National Stakeholders Collaborative (NSC), a partnership between the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP), National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), Society of State Directors of Health, Physical Education & Recreation (Society), hosted the first-ever National Stakeholders Meeting Reconvene (NSM-R). State teams comprised of public health agency staff, education agency staff, and other partners — who previously participated in National Stakeholders Meetings — came together to take their collaborative efforts to the “next level.” [read more

Evidence-Based Approaches to Teen Pregnancy, HIV and STI Prevention Work 

By Tasha Toby
Senior Analyst, Adolescent Health, National Association of County and City Health Officials 

Many working in the field of public health understand that the success of many public health programs and initiatives can be attributed to strong collaboration between key players from differing, but relevant, sectors. In many of the past discussions that have occurred between National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and AMCHP staff members regarding the implementation of evidence-based teen pregnancy and teen HIV/STI prevention program, the need to foster collaboration, specifically between local and state health departments, always seemed to be the dominant topic of the discussions. [read more

Nebraska's Comprehensive Adolescent Health Systems Work 

By Linda Henningsen
Adolescent Health Coordinator, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services  

For those of us in and connected to public health, providing for and reaching children and adolescents (and those who care for them) requires unique approaches. Through the development, implementation and impact of the national Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (ECCS) initiative, Nebraska’s ECCS program, “Together for Kids and Families” (TFKF), provided the inspiration and supplied the innovative and unique model needed for effectively addressing the public health opportunities and challenges associated with adolescents. [read more

Member to Member

Member states were asked the following question:

What do you think state MCH programs can do to address the recent rise in teen pregnancy? [read more]

Real Life Stories

The Time is Right! Youth are the Future 

By Mallory Cyr
Youth Coordinator, Healthy & Ready to Work National Resource Center

How did I get here? How did I get to a point where people all over the country are hearing my voice? Every time my flight lands in Washington, DC I ask myself these questions. Each time I get an opportunity to give a presentation, attend a national conference or be part of an advisory council, I am in awe of being in the presence of people who have the power to make change happen and who ARE listening. [read more

Supporting Young Families

By Janet Max
Director of Programs and Policy, Healthy Teen Network

Preventing teen pregnancy is something that we, as a nation, strive for. But regardless of our prevention efforts, a certain number of young people in the United States each year do become involved in a teen pregnancy, whether through failure to abstain from sexual activity or contraceptive non-use, misuse, or failure. While teen pregnancy prevention, both primary and subsequent, must remain a major focus we also must commit to providing equal opportunities to those young people who do become pregnant and who choose to become parents, as well as their children. [read more]



View from Washington

Adolescent Health and Health Reform

By Brent Ewig, MHA
Director of Public Policy & Government Affairs, AMCHP

The health reform debate in Washington is heating up, with many positive signs that this may finally be the year to get comprehensive health reform across the finish line. One not so positive sign however is a sense on Capitol Hill that kids’ issues were covered by the CHIP reauthorization, and therefore the focus on health reform is really on adult coverage. The phenomenon is being dubbed “CHIP fatigue.” Even more troubling is the potential that a focus on adults could be to the detriment of children and might further squeeze out attention to the unique health needs of adolescents. Rest assured that AMCHP and its partners are advocating loud and clear that no matter how tired we are, health reform can simply not afford to overlook the unique needs of all women, children, adolescents, and children with special health care needs. [read more]

Success Stories

Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health Data and Assessment Mini-Grant

By Sophie Wenzel, MPH
Adolescent Health Program Manager
Section of Women's, Children's and Family Health
Alaska Division of Public Health

Alaska’s Adolescent Health Program is using an AMCHP Data and Assessment (DATA) Mini-Grant to conduct a teen sexual and reproductive health needs assessment. With the ultimate goal of reducing teen pregnancies, our DATA project is designed to help us find out Alaska teens’ sexual reproductive health needs so that our programs can better serve them. The Adolescent Health Program will use the data compiled during the needs assessment in order to drive future programs and influence policies. [read more

"Tell Me What You See" - An Innovative STD, Hepatitis and HIV/AIDS Prevention Initiative That Helps Students Visualize Their Way to a Healthier Future  

By Darrell Decker, Concerned Citizens for Humanity
James Horton, Concerned Citizens for Humanity
Mike Salius, Salius Communications
Heidi Jenkins, Connecticut State Department of Public Health
Susan Major, Connecticut State Department of Public Health
Bonnie J. Edmondson, Connecticut State Department of Education

"Tell Me What You See," a statewide initiative developed in Connecticut, integrates functional knowledge and skill development through an art-based approach to prevention education. The dynamic combination of assessments and artwork are what set Tell Me What You See apart from other health education initiatives. The artwork and poetry were produced by incarcerated youth in a program designed to enable them to make a difference in the lives of their peers. The resulting artwork effectively engages youth and opens up a critical dialogue on the role personal behavior can have in the prevention of STDs, hepatitis and HIV/AIDS. [read more

The Council for Adolescent and School Health (CASH)

By Lissa Pressfield, MHS
Program Manager, Adolescent Health, AMCHP and 

Patti Van Tuinen, M.Ed., CHES
Adolescent Health Coordinator, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
Division of Community and Public Health

The mission of the Adolescent Health Program within the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is to promote the health, safety and success of adolescents by facilitating collaboration among Department programs and external partners to address various adolescent health issues and achieve healthy adolescent development. The Council for Adolescent and School Health (CASH), which began as a task force in 1997, advises and assists the Department in identifying adolescent health priorities and promoting strategies to reduce health risks to adolescents and promote healthy youth development. [read more]

Who's New

Spotlight on Claude Gilmore, President-Elect of the National Network of State Adolescent Health Coordinators (NNSAHC)

In June of 2009, Claude Gilmore will assume the leadership position as President of the National Network of State Adolescent Health Coordinators. He currently works in the Wisconsin Division of Public Health, Bureau of Community Health Promotion as the Youth Policy Director, Comprehensive School Health Director, and School Age Adolescent Health Consultant. He has a unique and deep understanding of issues facing today’s youth and in his new role as President of the Network, Claude plans to elevate the importance of adolescent health and the professionals that occupy related positions. [read more

An interview with New Region X Director Maria Nardella! [read more

Data and Trends

View a graph of 2006 Teen Birth Rates.

New Resources on Youth and Adolescents from the Data Resource Center.  [read more


View and download resources on Adolescents and Teen Pregnancy. [read more]

Board of Directors

Meet AMCHP's Board of Directors


Meet AMCHP's staff.