Date: October 11th, 2016
By: Pat Paluzzi
For over a decade, Healthy Teen Network has helped to promote evidence-based approaches to support healthy sexual and reproductive outcomes among adolescents and young adults. The decade-long decline in teen births across all racial and ethnic groups is testament to the effectiveness of these approaches, and we take pride in our role.
But the persistent disparities in outcomes among racial and ethnic minority teens, teens in lower socioeconomic strata, and runaway/homeless and LGBTQ+ teens tell us that more is needed. We cannot solely rely on what has worked in the past; we need to be innovative. We need to be quick and nimble, and data driven. We need to use youth-friendly tools, integrate mobile technology, and adopt the Youth 360⁰ frame.
A majority of young people use smartphones; they increasingly rely on the internet for their health information and on social media and games for connecting. These are the tools we have embraced over the past year through the mobile app Crush and Youth 360⁰ and human trafficking games, and we will continue to do so.
Young people are not the only ones relying more on virtual platforms, professionals also see elearning as an effective and efficient form of professional development. Our new elearning platform, the Compass, will be continuously assessed to ensure we continue to meet the needs of our members.
Innovation is fun, frustrating, exciting, disappointing, and critical if we are to achieve our Vision. We hope our work—shared in our 2015 Annual Report—stimulates new ideas and thinking for you and, as always, invite your comments and questions.
About the Author
Patricia Paluzzi, CNM, DrPH, President and CEO of Healthy Teen Network, has been active in the fields of reproductive, and maternal and child health for over 40 years, as a clinician, researcher, administrator, and advocate. Her clinical and content expertise spans the full scope of midwifery care, substance abuse, intimate partner violence, high-risk maternal child health (including pregnant teens), incorporating men into clinical services, and trauma-informed approaches.