PATCH, originally known as the Wisconsin Adolescent Health Care Communication Program (WAHCCP), began in 2010 when the National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) awarded the Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health 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 effectiveness, 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 provide and seek 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 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 today's youth. PATCH aims to improve the communication and overall relationship between health care professionals and adolescents.

The first PATCH Teen Educator team (then WAHCCP) launched in 2010.
The first PATCH Teen Educator team (then WAHCCP) launched in 2010.
HOPE Buffalo brought PATCH national in 2017!
HOPE Buffalo brought PATCH national in 2017!

Furthermore, in 2014, PATCH began its replication efforts by piloting an expansion site in rural Wisconsin. The lessons learned from this pilot led to the development of a full replication site in 2016. PATCH went national in 2017 with its first non-Wisconsin PATCH Site.

2016 also marked the beginning of the Wisconsin PATCH Youth Advocacy Fellowship. Youth from across Wisconsin were hired and trained, like PATCH Teen Educators, to be Youth Advocates. Instead of facilitating educational workshops, Youth Advocates were responsible for developing and carrying out a health-related community advocacy project, as well as engage in adolescent health conversations at community and state levels.

Today, the PATCH Program offers a variety of materials and resources for health care professionals, youth, health teachers, and parents and guardians. We support and coach organizations who want to bring PATCH to their own community through the implementation of the Core PATCH Package. Our original Wisconsin-based PATCH sites continue to serve as our own models while we explore ongoing adaptation, pilot new material and programs, and continually improve upon our current efforts.

Note: The PATCH Program is still a project of the Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health, a 501(c)(3).

Our work would not be possible without the 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, health care 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.

We thank our previous and current funders and community partners for fiscally and strategically supporting our efforts!

  • Arts @ Large
  • By Youth for Youth
  • Dane County Medical Society
  • Greater Milwaukee Foundation
  • Healthy Classrooms Foundation
  • National Institute for Reproductive Health
  • New Harvest Foundation
  • Security Health Systems
  • Wisconsin Department of Health Services
  • Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
  • Wisconsin Partnership Program
The PATCH Advocacy Fellowship is our newest endeavor!
The PATCH Advocacy Fellowship is our newest endeavor!

Our work would not be possible without your endless support. If you believe in our vision and innovative solutions, please consider making a donation today!