MEHOP develops new approach for adolescent health care

MEHOP photo
A photo of the new adolescent health care waiting room at MEHOP.

   MEHOP has a new approach to healthcare for our youth.  
   They joined the Texas Youth Friendly Initiative (TYFI) which is a grant-funded project that helps health centers better serve adolescents, ages 10-18. Community Health Workers, Letty Tenorio and Toddie Garcia have been engaged with TYFI for the past 18 months.  
   As representatives of MEHOP, they were recognized with an award for their leadership role in the program from among seven other Health Centers.  
   MEHOP Pediatrics is now eligible to pursue certification as Adolescent-Centered Environment Champions.   
   Complex Texas laws create confusion about the provision of confidential services.  
   These challenges create roadblocks for young men and women seeking to access trusted, youth-centered, confidential care. 
   Using the tools they had been trained on through the initiative, Tenorio and Garcia began educating youth, parents, staff and physicians on what each person’s role was in the youth-friendly process.  
   Understanding what could be expected from the beginning to the end of the visit was a huge help to youth and their parents.  
    A Youth Advisory Team was formed that consisted of MEHOP staff and a Youth Advisory Council (YAC) also was formed, which consisted of youth from our community.  
   Each group met on a monthly basis to provide information and feedback.  
   “Being part of the Youth Advisory Council has helped me, as well as other staff members, understand that adolescents do have questions regarding their healthcare, Tenorio said.   
   “Many of the questions go unanswered or they are misinformed. Through the TYFI, I have learned what information can be provided to adolescents regarding their healthcare.” Tenorio conducted surveys and received successful feedback from youth and their parents.  
   “We discovered that in our waiting area for MEHOP’s Women and Children’s Center, we targeted small children and women with adolescents being overlooked as far as a youth friendly space” Garcia said.   
   To address the waiting area, a new separate space has been created for youth in the pediatric clinic.  
   During the YAC meetings, youth members were able to select furniture, art work and color schemes that would appeal to those in their age ranges for the new waiting area.  
   To learn more about the program or to schedule an appointment with MEHOP Pediatrics, call 979-245-2008 ext. 500.

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