From the President

Adolescent Health and Teen Pregnancy

Welcome to this issue of Pulse and the topics of teen pregnancy and adolescent health; the foci of recent grant awards. Because I tend to frame a particular aspect of health within the context of a system of care, I thought it would be interesting to conduct an internet search on adolescent health and comprehensive systems of care. The first 25 hits involved mental health systems and subsequent hits didn’t really identify the incorporation of issues around teen pregnancy and adolescent health within the context of a comprehensive system of care for adolescents and young adults.  

Data concerning the rise in teen births and potential deleterious outcomes of teen births will be presented in this issue. For example, CDC has posted the following information:  

·         Preventing teen childbearing could save the U.S. about $9 billion per year

·         Teen mothers face higher rates of preterm birth

·         Infants of teen mothers have higher rates of low birth weight and infant mortality

·         Children of teen mothers are more likely to have learning problems and chronic medical conditions. They are also more likely to drop out of high school 

This issue is also about adolescent health; a broader topic encompasses the need for focused health education, interventions to reduce risky behaviors and promote positive development into adulthood. The good news is that there are several states that have developed promising practices that integrate reduction of risk-taking behaviors with other aspects of adolescent health. In addition, there are several sustainable science-based approaches to the prevention of teen pregnancy.

Of particular note, AMCHP staff has prepared an excellent white paper concerning the need to develop comprehensive systems of services for adolescents and young adults that weaves the science-based approaches into a highly integrated model.

I know that you will find a great deal of useful information in this issue of Pulse. Enjoy!