Adolescent Health

CAI is committed to ensuring that adolescents have access to comprehensive, youth-affirming health and supportive services. We have developed numerous programs for providers in federally qualified health centers, school-based health centers, family planning clinics, child-welfare agencies, social service organizations, and more on understanding adolescent brain development and key factors in communicating and understanding service provision for adolescents.

We believe it is critical to include the voices and ideas of the communities we aim to serve in our work, and many of our current adolescent-focused initiatives are actively empowering young people in design and decision-making roles. This includes HOPE Buffalo, which is a youth and community-led collaborative of diverse stakeholders, a highly engaged youth leadership team, and local adults working together to reduce teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates and increase optimal teen health, and Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities, which includes “Reality Check,” a team of adolescents who are designing initiatives to help keep their peers from smoking.

We are committed to supporting health and social service staff who work with the most marginalized and under-served adolescent populations. This includes developing curriculum designed for adolescents in detention or foster care settings who are at risk for adolescent pregnancy, substance use, violence, and HIV/STIs to help youth develop the tools to reach their health and wellness goals and plan for the future by developing communication skills, setting goals, and making healthy decisions.

Much of our work with adolescents has focused on the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) field. As a national leader in this area, CAI has led federally funded initiatives and developed frameworks, implementation tools, and resources to facilitate implementation of evidence-based, youth-friendly SRH services in diverse settings. These initiatives include a nationwide effort to help school systems connect adolescents to HIV/STI services, funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Adolescent School Health, efforts in nine states to increase adolescents’ access to highly effective contraception, also through the CDC; teen pregnancy prevention initiatives funded by the Office of Population Affairs to increase condom utilization and partner communication about contraceptives among adolescent males in foster care settings; and programs in Mississippi, Georgia, and North Carolina to partner with safety net providers and youth-serving organizations in communities with high teen birth rates to increase adolescent contraceptive access. We have also worked on a number of male-focused adolescent SRH initiatives. Our adolescent SRH work has resulted in publications in peer-reviewed journals that are advancing the field forward.