Affirm Launches 2nd 5-Year Youth-Centered Certification Program for Arizona Health Centers

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Affirm Launches 2nd 5-Year Youth-Centered Certification Program for Arizona Health Centers

            A second five-year program is underway for health centers across the state to implement best practices designed to provide high quality, youth-centered care with the goal of improving the healthcare experience for youth and young adults. 

Based on overwhelmingly positive results during the first five years of funding, Arizona Department of Health Services again awarded Affirm with funds to replicate the Adolescent Champion Model (ACM), an evidence-based intervention developed by the Adolescent Health Initiative at Michigan Medicine. 

             Affirm, formerly Arizona Family Health Partnership, is a 48-year-old non-profit organization working to make sexual and reproductive healthcare accessible to all through the coordination of multiple grants, including the $6.1 million Title X grant for the state of Arizona. Affirm prioritizes serving people that have been systematically excluded from receiving care, like Arizona’s youth.

During the ACM program’s first five years in Arizona, nearly 30 clinics participated, 16 have earned certification as an adolescent-centered environment, and eight more began their training in May 2022. Affirm’s third cohort included 10 health centers across the state, the most to participate in a single cohort across the nation. Nationally, cohorts are underway in Georgia, Indiana and Texas, although Arizona has “the most cohorts ever done in one state,” including Michigan and Wisconsin, said Adolescent Health Initiative Assistant Director Kaleigh Cornelison, MSW.

The ACM has been or is being implemented in seven of Arizona’s 15 counties including Maricopa, Coconino, Cochise, Pima, Santa Cruz, Navajo and Mohave. Champion health centers participating in the ACM with Affirm reported improvements in:

⦁ Provider knowledge of confidential care for minors.

⦁ Physical spaces being more welcoming for adolescents.

⦁ Gathering feedback from adolescent patients for clinic improvements.

 “We’re proud of the commitment and impact our partners have had on adolescent health equity,” said Tracy Pedrotti, MPA, Affirm’s Adolescent Health Program Manager. “The renewed funding will allow us to continue expanding high quality, youth-centered healthcare across the state and removing barriers so health centers and providers are better equipped to serve adolescents.”

At the recently ACM-certified health center, North Country HealthCare Winslow, pediatrician Dr. Cherish Lorica said the program’s implementation has had a “significant impact on young people’s comfort sharing concerns with me. We have established private time without their parent in the room, so they can open up about their health needs. Parents have been very receptive to the concept.”

Health centers that have completed the ACM in Arizona are: Adelante Healthcare – Mesa; Adelante Healthcare – Peoria; Banner University Medical Center Phoenix; Canyon Pediatrics Gilbert and Mesa Health Centers; Chiricahua Community Health Centers, Inc.- Mobile Unit; Chiricahua Community Health Centers, Inc.- Pediatric Center of Excellence; El Rio Health Center- El Pueblo; Jewish Family and Children’s Services Glendale; Mariposa Community Health Center- Nogales; MHC Healthcare Oro Valley Pediatrics; Mountain Park Health Center- Gateway and Maryvale Health Centers; Native Health Central – Phoenix; NOAH Heuser Family Medicine – Scottsdale; North Country Healthcare- Winslow; North Country Healthcare- 4th Street Flagstaff; Phoenix Children’s Hospital; Valleywise Comprehensive Health Center; Wesley Community and Health Center- Golden Gate – Phoenix.

Affirm also developed resources to support clinicians serving youth and empower adolescents to access health services. In partnership with the Adolescent Health Initiative, Affirm developed an Adolescent-Centered Virtual Care E-Module for clinicians looking to strengthen the quality of telehealth practices for youth. The Well Visit: A Teen Guide, was developed in collaboration with two youth councils, medical providers, and youth-serving professionals. This informative guide provides teens with information on what to expect at a well visit, strategies to communicate their preferences for how the visit goes, and tips for getting questions answered and needs met.

The Adolescent Health Initiative’s Cornelison said that, among the benefits of the ACM program, is “sharing with others in their state the collective knowledge of the group. The assessment processes during the Champion Model also enables participants to determine and to focus on what elements are most beneficial to them, their sites and their client populations.”

Primary care providers interested in participating in upcoming cohorts should contact ACM@affirmaz.org or by calling (602) 258-5777.  

For more information about the Adolescent Champion Model, visit  www.healthyazyouth.org.

For more information about Affirm, visit www.affirmaz.org

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