MGH Roca Youth Health Center
The MGH Roca Youth Clinic introduces high-risk young people to the health care system with an age-appropriate and culturally sensitive approach to care, encourages young people to take a proactive role in making healthy life choices, and improves young people’s understanding of their health needs.
Young people in Chelsea face relatively high rates of pregnancy, Chlamydia, and HIV. Some of the young people at highest risk are not accessing appropriate health services. To bring care to young people facing multiple challenges, rather than wait for the population to come to care, MGH Chelsea operates a fully licensed satellite clinic at Roca, a Chelsea-based organization for young people at high risk of poor health and other life outcomes. The clinic uses an innovative approach to engage harder to reach youth by integrating health promotion into the arts, education, and leadership programming at Roca.
The partnership with Roca allows MGH to reach out to a group of young people who, for many reasons, are unable or unwilling to get care within a more traditional medical setting. Such barriers include not feeling comfortable or welcomed in a health care setting frequented primarily by adults or young children, and the false sense of security that as teenagers, they do not face health-related risks. Young people who come to Roca for dance programs, GED classes, and services for pregnant and parenting teens all seek care at the MGH clinic, and youth workers at Roca actively refer program clients for health services.
The goals of the MGH Roca Youth Clinic are to;
- Introduce young people to the health care system with an age-appropriate approach to care
- Encourage young people to take a proactive role in making healthy life choices
- Provide access to culturally sensitive health information
- Improve young people’s understanding of their health needs.
The MGH Roca Youth Clinic provides comprehensive health risk assessments, STD testing and treatment, HIV testing, and counseling and contraceptive services. A bilingual, bicultural family planning counselor discusses relationship issues with patients, and makes assessments for depression and relationship violence. The counselor also provides group education about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases to adolescent mothers and high-risk youth. The clinic is a training site for nurse practitioner students, medical students, and medical residents interested in community-based medicine, with the intention of steering students toward future career opportunities in similar settings.
Roca has changed its primary focus from young women to young men, aged 18-24 involved in juvenile justice system. Challenges exist for the Youth Health Center to improve utilization for this population based on their needs and perceptions of preventive and primary care.
In FY2012, Roca reported
- 445 clinic visits
- The Youth Star program held weekly health promotion activities with participants focusing on healthy relationships, STD prevention, and postponing second pregnancy; developed and delivered a “Infant Well-being” Curriculum for Youthstar mothers for them and for them to be able to present to other teen mothers, and conducted "Stay in Shape" program for Youth Star mothers.
- Screening all new patients for substance abuse using the CRAFFT evidence-based screening tool with motivational interviewing.
Phone: 617 887-3789