University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

Enhancing Communication Among Adolescents and Health Care Providers: Evolution and Evaluation of Youth-Driven Initiative Addressing Barriers

Chelsea J. Aeschbach, MPH, CHES; Amy B. Olejniczak, MS, MPH; Erica R. Koepsel, MA; Mary M. Kusch, BA

WMJ. 2022;121(4):329-332

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Background: Significant interpersonal barriers impede the delivery of quality adolescent health care. While a complex issue, public health and health care entities continue to seek ways to work with the populations they serve to better address such challenges.

Methods: The PATCH Teen Educator Program, an initiative of the Providers and Teens Communicating for Health (PATCH) Program, promotes open, honest, and medically accurate conversations between health care professionals and adolescents via youth-led workshops for both clinicians and adolescents.

Results: Across 6 program sites, workshop participants noted positive changes towards enhancing patient-clinician communication. Youth facilitators also reported notable changes related to workforce and youth development after their 9-month commitment to the program.

Discussion: These results showcase promising effects of the youth-driven initiative on enhancing local adolescent patient-clinician communication, as well as effects on engaged youth.

Author Affiliations: Providers and Teens Communicating for Health (PATCH) Program, Madison, Wisconsin (Aeschbach, Olejniczak, Koepsel); University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health, Milwaukee, Wis (Kusch).
Corresponding Author: Chelsea J. Aeschbach, MPH, CHES, PATCH Program, Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health, PO Box 1726, Madison, WI 53701; phone: 877.337. 2824; email; ORCID ID 0000-0002-2447-5276
Funding/Support: None declared.
Financial Disclosures: None declared.
Data Availability: The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon request.
Presentations: A complete list of related oral and poster presentations can be found at
Acknowledgements: Our work would not be possible without the support from many individuals and organizations who have rallied around the vision of PATCH, a vision of empowerment and advocacy that is vital to the health and well-being of adolescents.
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