Houston program pockets $2.3 million grant to train youth healthcare professionals


A Houston-based training program focused on building leaders in adolescent and young adult health has just received new funding to support its cause.

The Baylor College of Medicine-Texas Medical Center Leadership Education in Adolescent Health, or BCM-TMC LEAH, training program received a five-year grant totaling $2.3 million. The program is one of seven such training programs funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration and the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health.

“Adolescents make up about 20 percent of the U.S. population, but account for disproportionate rates of death from accidents, homicides, suicide, and other mental illness-related conditions,” says Dr. Albert C. Hergenroeder, professor and head of the adolescent division. medicine and sports medicine and project director for BCM-TMC LEAH, in a press release. “The goal is to educate and prepare healthcare professionals to take on leadership roles in developing and improving the system of care for adolescents and young adults locally, in Texas, in the HRSA 6 region ( Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas and Louisiana), and nationally.”

BCM-TMC LEAH provides didactic, experiential and research-based interdisciplinary education and training, according to the press release, in the major health disciplines of medicine, nursing, nutrition, psychology, social work and public health. This is the fourth time since 1997 that the program has received funding.

Along with Hergenroeder, Dr. Connie Wiemann, director of research in the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Sports Medicine, based at Texas Children’s Hospital, is co-director of the program. The two health professionals also collaborate with:

  • Dr. Diane Santa-Maria, Dean and Associate Professor in the Department of Research at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at the Houston Cizik School of Nursing
  • Dr. Christine Markham, Chair of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences and Deputy Director of the Texas Prevention Research Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center at the Houston School of Public Health
  • Dr. Sarah Norendorf, Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development
  • Shelley Gonzales, clinical assistant professor and assistant director of field education at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work.

“There has been an increased urgency in recent years of the need to address adolescent health issues, such as teen suicide, eating disorders and violence,” Hergenroeder said. “These problems require solutions for populations as well as for individuals.

“For example,” Hergenroeder continues, “an individual patient with an eating disorder will require treatment by an interdisciplinary team of physicians, psychologists, nurses, dietitians, and social workers, but for a population, the expertise of researchers and public health experts should look at what broader interventions might be used in the prevention of eating disorders LEAH is designed to provide comprehensive education on all aspects of threats to eating health of adolescents and young adults in the United States »

The program trains pre-doctoral and post-doctoral students, medical fellows and residents by connecting them with professors in a multitude of related specialist fields. Interns then travel to communities prepared to holistically address and focus on issues facing adolescents and young adults, going beyond just physical and mental health.

“The comprehensive training experience also includes a focus on the skills needed to conduct and disseminate research to promote practices and policies that impact adolescents and young adults in diverse settings,” Wiemann said. “All trainees will learn tools to engage stakeholders and identify opportunities to improve systems of care. In this way, all disciplines play an important role in improving the health and well-being of this population. And health care administration training is integrated into the LEAH curriculum so that LEAH trainees are able to successfully execute excellent research, clinical, teaching, and advocacy programs to improve adolescent health. and young adults.”


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