PATCH, originally known as the Wisconsin Adolescent Health Care Communication Program (WAHCCP), began in 2010 when the National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) awarded various communities across the country a single $10,000 grant to capitalize on the success of a New York City-based peer-to-peer education program – the Teen Outreach Reproductive CHallenge, or TORCH®. Teen Educators were hired and trained to implement two adolescent-provider communication workshops – Keeping It Real with Your Patients and Keeping It Real with Your Doctor. These workshops aimed to reduce the communication barrier between adolescents and adults regarding sexual and reproductive health issues.
After a very successful inaugural year of programming, a comprehensive program evaluation plan was developed in 2011 to determine the efficacy, feasibility, and statewide demand for WAHCCP. Based on the rigorous evaluation, there were significant improvements in provider and teen knowledge, self-efficacy, and behavioral intentions to seek and provide quality health care. Further, health care providers self-reported behavior change, even with clinical barriers, three-months after the workshop. More notably, program effectiveness was demonstrated one year earlier than anticipated. These findings were published in Wisconsin Medical Journal in 2015.
Building on this initial framework, the Wisconsin Adolescent Health Care Communication Program became Providers and Teens Communicating for Health (PATCH) in 2014 when the structure, capacity, scope and overall mission shifted to meet the growing demands of a heterogeneous adolescent population and the changing landscape of society. PATCH was designed to create open, respected, and trusted relationships between healthcare providers and adolescents as they discuss a wide variety of health topics.
PATCH has gained widespread support from numerous individuals, organizations and sectors who’ve rallied around the vision of PATCH; a vision of empowerment and advocacy that is vital to the health of adolescents across the State of Wisconsin and beyond. Local, state and national stakeholders include youth, healthcare professionals and systems, public health, policy makers, parents/guardians, schools and community leaders. The ability to convene such diverse, multi-disciplinary advisory bodies and partnerships has had a collective impact on the implementation, quality and growth of the program.