Patient engagement has been touted by the Institute of Medicine as integral to effective and coordinated healthcare delivery. Scant literature exists regarding successful models of youth engagement within healthcare. In order to better address the health needs of youth in a large metropolitan city, a unique collaboration between two long-standing community health centers aims to advance youth-centered health care delivery through the establishment of a community youth leadership council (YLC). With seven decades of community engagement and health service delivery between the two clinics, the creation of the YLC is a synergy of strategic goals from both health centers. Using the expertise of the YLC, we will build upon the existing partnership between the clinics to help link this vulnerable demographic into a university-affiliated primary care medical home based on a public hospital campus. We ultimately aim to improve youth enrollment in healthcare, address health disparities in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and healthcare utilization, and design a healthcare environment particularly welcoming to those who have been most isolated from accessing it. The YLC will assist us in establishing formal linkages with youth-facing organizations, as well as serving as consultants in creating a framework to increase pathways to primary care. We constructed a participatory process that will engage youth leaders in developing mechanisms to facilitate access for less-connected youth. Adding a community youth-operated and youth-focused cohort to the patient advisory council process will address the lack of a youth-centered perspective in clinic improvements and referral processes. Recruitment for potential YLC members was done through local high schools, clinics, and online social media. A total of 40 youth applications were received via an online- and paper-based application process. For the first three YLC meetings, at least 15 youth were in attendance at each monthly meeting. Currently planned YLC projects include standardized patient training for the youth, clinic beautification projects, and school-based ‘pop-up’ clinics. By bringing healthcare to the forefront of our youth’s lives, the collaboration between two community health centers and the public school system will uniquely allow the youth of this large metropolitan city to transform healthcare delivery and access.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.