“The Adolescent Health Center embodies the three-part mission of our medical school, which is education, clinical care and research. American medicine needs more physicians who are expert in the delivery of adolescent health care, and our Adolescent Health Center provides that kind of training. And research is also an important component because the Center is providing a roadmap to the rest of the country for how to deliver the best care for adolescents.”
We’re the center of specialized training in adolescent health care for the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. It’s a nearly 50-year relationship that has been integral to our development into one of the nation’s elite programs for physicians, mental health professionals, social workers and health educators who want to specialize in adolescent health and wellness care. Our primary care physicians, psychiatrists and psychologists have faculty appointments at Mount Sinai and supervise training of medical students, residents and fellows, as well as psychology and social work interns. All pediatric residents at Mount Sinai complete a rotation at the Center.
Our three-year Adolescent Medicine Fellowship program is one of the most highly regarded and competitive in the country for new physicians pursuing adolescent care as their specialty. Fellows are integral to our center, functioning as primary care clinicians under a supervising attending physician and participating in every aspect of what we do, including program development, research and evaluation. The program turns out board-eligible adolescent medicine physicians—each an excellent clinician, skilled educator and advocate of policies that improve adolescent health care.
Our internship for doctoral candidates in clinical or school psychology is a rigorous one-year training program accredited by the American Psychological Association. Interns work within the Center’s mission of delivering high-quality and integrated services to young people ages 12 to 22 in typically underserved populations. Twenty-five of the internship’s 40 hours per week are devoted to direct clinical services–providing individual, group and family therapy, as well as conducting psychological assessments—with the remainder in didactic instruction and supervision of externs. Interns may also participate in elective experiences such as transgender services, trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy and teen parenting.
“When I was on the interview trail, people everywhere around the country referred to this Center as adolescent utopia. . . You have the resources of being at Mount Sinai but at this free-standing adolescent health center that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the country. So it’s a really great combination that makes it an awesome place to learn.”
INCUBATING NEW APPROACHES
Dr. Jack Rowe, a former President and CEO of Mount Sinai, and Dr. Valerie Rowe, a professor of education, say our training and research are part of what makes our center “a core component of Mount Sinai Medical Center.”
Our primary mission is to provide high-quality care to our patients, but we also take on a broader commitment: To contribute to the health of all adolescents by studying key issues and sharing what we learn. We have long been a leader in the research of the most current health concerns affecting adolescents. Our studies have been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and others. They have resulted in the publication of 16 peer-reviewed publications. Here is a look at some of the research projects we’re currently conducting to improve health outcomes and resilience among young people.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection among young people and some strains are known to cause cervical and other cancers. Our groundbreaking 10-year study, funded by NIH, is investigating the prevalence of the more than 40 strains of sexually transmitted HPV and assessing the real-world effectiveness of the vaccine Gardasil, which protects against four strains, including two that cause cancer. The research is the nation’s largest and longest HPV study: Since being launched in 2007, it has enrolled 1,073 female participants, ages 12 to 19; the goal is to reach just over 1,400 by 2016. We have also recently been funded by NIH to implement a pilot study setting the stage for a second pioneering investigation of HPV infection and persistence among young men.
Healthy Body Study
This pilot study is testing a method for teaching young people to take control of their weight. Instead of making typical recommendations such as “eat more fruits and vegetables and go to the gym” we empower adolescents, teaching them how to make their own decisions and set their own goals. More than 100 young people have enrolled in the study thus far, and 40 have completed the intervention. Initial results comparing participants to a control group show decreases in body mass index and body fat.
A Sampling of Completed Research Studies
- An early intervention promoting protection against substance abuse for foster children
- A study advancing knowledge and identification of youth who are at risk for physical dating aggression
- Evaluation of the contributing role of alcohol and drug use in date rape and other coercive sexual violence
- HPV Vaccine Clinical Trials
- HIV Clinical Trials
- Randomized control trial of novel oral contraceptive initiation method
- An examination of screening and disclosure of childhood maltreatment and trauma among urban adolescents
- Assessment and treatment of substance use and HIV
- A set of studies examining the environmental and behavioral risks faced by young people, how they cope, and what they feel they need to talk about