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 Integrating Adolescent Health through AMCHP Programs

MValenzuela Headshot.jpgBy Maritza Valenzuela, MPH
Senior Program Manager, Adolescent Health, AMCHP

Adolescent Health Environmental Scan
In 2014, AMCHP completed an environmental scan of adolescent health activities in Title V programs, as reported in Title V MCH Services Block Grant reports. The scan analyzed activities related to adolescent health as reported under both national and state performance measures. In January 2014, AMCHP staff presented an overview of the scan at the AMCHP Conference, and in March 2014 AMCHP presented a webinar outlining preliminary findings from the data analysis; the webinar recording is available on the AMCHP website. At the end of 2014 AMCHP published a full report on the environmental scan. The report is available for download on the AMCHP website and includes review of data collected, themes across Title V adolescent health program activities, and a discussion of implications for Title V programs under the new Block Grant guidance and MCH transformation.

Comprehensive Systems for Adolescent Health
AMCHP concluded the Comprehensive Adolescent Health Systems learning network project in July 2014 with a final in-person meeting in Minneapolis, MN. AMCHP facilitated this pilot project from 2013-2014 in partnership with the State Adolescent Health Resource Center (SAHRC). The project was designed to support the state-level implementation of a comprehensive systems approach to adolescent health and seven states and territories participated consistently throughout the year:  Colorado, Ohio, Florida, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, Iowa and Minnesota. Participants from all seven states and territories attended the final project gathering. Each reported on their accomplishments in the previous six months, their goals for the coming six months, and lessons learned from their systems work. The group also discussed the value of the project to their larger statewide work and how it would inform their development of new adolescent health objectives under the revised Block Grant guidance. 

Overall, 2014 saw inclusion of adolescent health issues across more AMCHP programs as a result of increased collaboration between program staff. Adolescent health was a focus for one Women's and Infant Health team Life Course Intensive TA states, and in June 2014 AMCHP facilitated a webinar on Building, Implementing, and Sustaining Teen Pregnancy Prevention Efforts as part of its Women's Health Info Series. State adolescent health coordinators from Kentucky, Minnesota and Florida presented on their efforts and successes in incorporating positive youth development principles into teen pregnancy prevention programs, reducing disparities in teen pregnancy and childbearing, and leveraging novel partnerships and outreach methods.

Adolescent and Young Adult Health National Resource Center (AYAH-NRC)
In 2014 AMCHP adolescent health programs underwent their own transformation, with one funding cycle concluded in August and another started in September. AMCHP was a partner in a successful bid for MCHB funding for a new Adolescent and Young Adult Health National Resource Center. The University of California San Francisco leads the partnership, and the University of Minnesota and National Improvement Partnership Network at the University of Vermont are also part of the project team. Center activities are focused in five domains – access, quality, integration, equity, and accountability – as they relate to adolescent and young adult health. Key activities include support for state selection of national performance measures related to adolescents and young adults (in particular, increasing the number and quality of adolescent well-visits) and an Adolescent and Young Adult Health Collaborative Innovation and Improvement Network (CoIIN).

Looking Ahead
AMCHP will be taking the lead on several Center activities in 2015, including ongoing technical assistance to states interested in selecting the new National Performance Measure on adolescent well-visits and the launch of a five-state Adolescent and Young Adult Health CoIIN this spring. The CoIIN request for applications (RFA) will be released in early March 2015 and AMCHP will present an informational webinar about the CoIIN on Mar. 12 (details and registration information will be posted to the AMCHP adolescent health page).

We also look forward to exploring the intersection between these new projects and preconception health strategies selected by participants in the infant mortality CoIIN. AMCHP will continue facilitating connections between state adolescent health staff and our partners at the Got Transition Center for Health Care Transition Improvement, and pursue new relationships with organizations such as Young Invincibles, a national organization that engages 18 to 34 year-olds in improving access to health care for young people.

Finally, AMCHP will broaden its resources and TA related to building member capacity to address the particular health needs of older adolescents or young adults – those ages 18-24 – many of whom are already being served by Title V programs.

To help advance all the above activities, in spring 2015 AMCHP will add an additional staff person to the child and adolescent health team, a program analyst for adolescent health.

Health Reform Connections: Adolescent Health under the ACA

Here are a few options to leverage opportunities to advance adolescent and young adult health under the new health reform law.
  • Adult children can remain on their parents' health plan until their 26th birthday.  This has helped many young adults, especially those with complex health care needs, maintain continuity with their health care providers.
  • S­­­tates must extend Medicaid coverage to age 26 for all youth who are enrolled in Medicaid and in foster care on their 18th birthday.