PATCH Teen Educator Program
The PATCH Teen Educator Program helps support replication partners (e.g., community-based organizations, health care systems, public health agencies, and schools) plan, launch, and sustain a local PATCH Site and is derived from the ongoing success, interest, and recognition of an intervention launched in Madison, Wisconsin. The goal is to promote open, honest, and medically accurate conversations between local adolescents and their health care providers by bringing youth voice to the forefront of adolescent health care conversations. Using an innovative, positive youth development approach, we also aims to provide Teen Educators (see below) the knowledge, skills, and opportunities that enable them to thrive and flourish into adulthood.
The PATCH Teen Educator Program is community-based in nature, so each PATCH Site develops and functions differently. However, each PATCH Site has a Site Coordinator, a Teen Educator team, a Community Advisory Team, and local enrichment experts. The Site Coordinator guides the Teen Educator team through a 9-month program in which they meet bi-monthly for enrichment meetings to learn and grow in their critical understanding of complex adolescent health topics. In addition to attending enrichment meetings, the job of the Teen Educator team is to facilitate the PATCH for Providers and PATCH for Teens: Peer-to-Peer Workshops within their local community. The 90-minute PATCH for Providers Workshop helps health care professionals understand the concerns, fears, and preferences of youth in health care settings and provides suggestions on ways to more effectively communicate and build relationships with teens; the 60-minute PATCH for Teens: Peer-to-Peer Workshop empowers young people to begin managing their own health care, and equips them with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate and advocate for youth-friendly services.
Our ongoing evaluations of the PATCH Teen Educator Program suggest the important need of addressing the underlying misunderstandings and misconceptions hindering effective adolescent patient-provider communication and relationships in health care settings. By attending a one-time, 60-to 90-minute workshop led by trained youth, both provider and teen audiences report significant changes in knowledge, confidence, and intended behavior changes. Youth leading those workshops indicated more noteworthy impacts of the program in terms of workforce development, and its impacts of supporting positive growth and skills for adulthood.
"This holistic approach of bringing many different people together to improve adolescent health has been awesome. It takes time to make change but when a community comes together and keeps youth at the center, it truly is magical." - PATCH Site Coordinator
"PATCH has given me SO much confidence in public speaking and self advocacy, a new and unique community of peers, opportunities in public health, insight, knowledge, compassion... and so many other things I’ll never be able to put into words!" - Teen Educator
"The PATCH for Providers workshop was very informative and thought provoking. It really shed light on the teen perspective and ignited a passion to make sure they truly understand their rights and feel safe, protected, and educated." - Health Care Professional
"This is a good program and it makes me feel more comfortable and confident for my next appointment 'cause I know it's okay to be shy but it's also important to speak up!" - PATCH for Teens: Peer-to-Peer Participant