The Oakwood Taylor Teen Health Center (TTHC), created in response to a need for primary care providers to serve adolescents, has been providing comprehensive, accessible, and affordable services including primary care, sexual health, mental health, and health education and prevention programs, to youth ages 10-21 for more than 20 years. Located in the suburbs of Detroit in a high-need, predominantly Caucasian area affected by the current recession, health care is just one of the critical services being supplied by TTHC. With its rich community relationships and reputation for caring strongly about youth, the multidisciplinary staff at TTHC - including two nurse practitioners, a physician, a registered nurse, a social worker, a clinical office assistant, program coordinators, business office assistants, and health educators - execute Taylor Teen's mission to positively impact the health of adolescents and young adults, especially those that are often neglected. To accommodate adolescents' schedules, TTHC is open weekdays with extended hours on Wednesday evenings and educational programming on Saturdays, and in the past year has seen between 1100 and 1200 patients.
Started with the aid of the People's Community Hospital Administration, TTHC is currently supported through a joint program between the Michigan Departments of Community Health and Education, and also by private foundations, the Taylor School District, and individual donations. Medical and reproductive health services are offered on a sliding price scale, but the majority of patients live below 100% of poverty and receive free care. Mental health counseling is always offered at no charge. The center's unique location within a human services building and near a large economically disadvantaged housing area allows for easy access to the center and to referrals for other services in the building, including those of the county health department, a domestic violence prevention program, and a wrap around program for mental health and substance abuse.
Although an independent health center, Taylor Teen collaborates with a number of community institutions to provide innovative programs and services to adolescents. TTHC not only delivers a unique array of onsite services at local schools but also works in an alternative high school with high risk students. At this alternative site staff attempt to identify and address students' barriers to learning while offering a curriculum designed to improve school performance and promote healthy behaviors. At-risk youth can also participate in a six week summer program that utilizes the arts to prevent substance abuse and violence. By incorporating prevention and resistance messages into lessons on dance, drama, visual art, and music, this program has been shown to greatly improve youth's perceived risk of harm of substance abuse. Another prevention program, offered in partnership with the Taylor Police Department to youth who are early or first-time offenders, provides teens with counseling, substance abuse and violence prevention, job skills training, and the chance to participate in positive activities such as community service projects. Parents are also involved through parenting classes. Data on this program has shown a very low re-offending rate. In program year 2009-2010, only .3% of the participants had police contact since the start-up of the program. Youth are actively involved as both trained peer educators and members of an advisory council that guides every aspect of TTHC to ensure that these programs are teen-friendly and outreach efforts are effective.
For more information, please visit http://www.oakwood.org/Taylor-Teen-Health-Center.