Improving Adolescent Health Through State-level Collaborative Initiatives


Topic: Mental Health

Five chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) are focusing special attention on improving the health of the adolescent population in their states. Illinois, Texas, Alabama, Arizona, and Pennsylvania placed a priority on specific adolescent health issues after a team of professionals attended a Leadership Conference at the AAP in December 2003.

Each team brought 4-5 members including pediatricians and other public health or education professionals, to a conference that focused on increasing pediatrician's capacity to collaborate with other health care professional, public health officials, and policy makers to achieve positive lifestyle behaviors among youth.

This conference was part of the AAP Adolescent Health Project, with received funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Adolescent and School Health (CDC-DASH) and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) Office of Adolescent Health, in an effort to promote the National Initiative to Improve Adolescent Health (NIIAH) by the Year 2010. The goal of NIIAH 2010 is to comprehensively address 21 critical objectives selected from Healthy People 2010 that present the most serious health issues among young people.

Increasing pediatricians' and providers' skills relating to adolescent psycho-social behavioral health was the focus that the team from Illinois chose as their goal. Following the conference, the Illinois chapter (ICAAP) solicited volunteers from its membership to help advance a statewide adolescent health effort. In January 2004, a needs assessment was developed and sent to nearly 650 practicing ICAAP members. Responses supported the goal reached by the team to focus on mental health issues. With the exception of obesity and physical activity issues, the respondents' critical issues included depression, suicide, anxiety, stress and psychopharmacology. Meetings were held to draft a work plan and develop project work groups. ICAAP and the Illinois Council on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry have discussed partnering on mental health referral/consultation services and collaborating with psychiatry fellowship programs to develop and distribute training to primary care sites. Grant applications have been sent to the AAP Healthy People 2010 grant program, foundations, government entities and a pharmaceutical company to support adolescent mental health training and consultation initiatives. ICAAP is developing a training program and materials specifically on depression through a subcontract with the Children's Hospital of Illinois in Peoria, IL, and has developed a proposal to pilot an underage alcohol toolkit for primary care providers. For more information about ICAAP's adolescent mental health activities contact Scott Allen, Chapter Executive Director,

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Last Updated 2/07

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