We’ve developed, over more than four decades, a unique team practice carefully designed to engage adolescents and provide them with the vital, specialized, comprehensive care they need. Here’s how we do it.
An Embracing Environment
Our model is built on the premise that adolescents need to know we’re unconditionally there for them. That means being inclusive, nonjudgmental, empathetic—and free. It doesn’t matter if our patients have insurance—70 percent of them don’t. We also make it easy for them to get an appointment quickly with a phone call or just come in when they can. And because every young person is unique, we don’t make anyone feel like a number. Each of our young patients feels welcomed and understood.
Intervention Through Dialogue
Adolescents want and need to talk about important health issues. But they often don’t because providers typically don’t ask young patients the right questions or make them feel safe talking about what’s going on in their lives. Building relationships is how we make it okay for our young people open up, even about things as sensitive as abuse at home or as complex as the growing problem of sexual victimization. Active questioning—and active listening—is how we both intercede in dangers they may face in their lives and help them build on their strengths.
Everything Under One Roof
High-quality adolescent care requires providing services that are complete and integrated. We don’t send teenagers to one building for primary care, another for testing, another for counseling. Having it all in one place gets them to come in, and keep coming back. That’s a key way we remove barriers to health care for adolescents and give them all they need on an ongoing, sustained basis.
Adapt and Innovate
We’ve built into our practice an alertness to the distinct and ever-changing health needs of adolescents. Our teens are not only our patients but also our partners in staying ahead of the curve and improving on what we do. We listen to them closely as we constantly assess, reflect, learn and innovate —whether it’s with a groundbreaking HPV vaccine initiative or our newest service providing optical care and free eyeglasses.
A Team For Teens
Our medical director, Dr. Anne Nucci-Sack, explains what we do on a daily basis for all our young patients.
“The Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center has always been focused on being a place where young people can be with other young people and meet health practitioners who understand them, who are responsive to them and know how to engage them effectively. And so they learn what their needs are, and how to take responsibility and advocate for themselves. It sets a really important lifelong pattern.”
A Standard For Complete Adolescent Care
We deliver an expansive program of coordinated, inter-disciplinary services. It makes our center the largest of its kind in the United States, with an approach widely considered a model for the nation.
Fundamental care for all our patients includes free primary care, sexual and reproductive health, mental health, social services, health education and prescriptions. In our commitment to expanding our core services to meet all the needs of our patients, we recently added dental and optical care.
We complement our core components with specialized services for LGBTQ adolescents, teen parents, young people dealing with trauma and those struggling with obesity. And as an adjunct to the services we offer at the Center, our community outreach includes several school-based clinics.
We’re dedicated to making sure our teens have accurate, thorough information about health issues and to helping them learn to make good decisions about every aspect of their lives. Our initiatives include a peer education project called SPEEK (Sinai Peers Encouraging Empowerment through Knowledge).
No Teenager Left Behind
Dr. John Steever explains what makes our HIV service one of the most effective for young people in New York.
- Our teens graduate high school at a rate one-third higher than the national average.
- We’re a model of low-cost, high-quality health care that can be replicated across the country.