Adolescent Medicine

Adolescent Medicine
A multidisciplinary organization of professionals
committed to improving the physical and
psychosocial health and well-being of all adolescents.

Goals

  • Communication and collaboration among professionals of all disciplines involved in issues related to adolescent health.
  • Excellence in research related to the health of adolescents and to disseminate the results of such research.
  • Public and professional awareness of the health-related needs of adolescents and of strategies to address those needs.
  • Access to quality health-related services for all adolescents.
  • Availability of special training related to adolescent health for all appropriate professionals.

Principal Activities

Science and Scholarship: The Society for Adolescent Medicine promotes the development, synthesis, and dissemination of scientific and scholarly knowledge unique to the health needs of adolescents by:

  • Offering those interested in adolescent health a forum for discussion of teaching, research, and other concerns of mutual interest.
  • Publishing and presenting information related to adolescent health to all interested organizations and individuals, primarily via the Journal of Adolescent Health and the Annual Meeting.

Professional Development: The Society for Adolescent Medicine helps to plan and coordinate national and international professional education programs on adolescent health. It promotes excellence in the training of all professionals who provide health care to adolescents. It seeks to identify and promote opportunities for careers in adolescent health.

Advocacy: The Society for Adolescent Medicine supports local, state and national public and private efforts to improve the health of adolescents. It develops position papers and position statements on issues which impact upon the health and well-being of adolescents. It is committed to the development of comprehensive, acute, chronic and preventive health services for youth.

Special Interest Groups

Another forum for the discussion and presentation of research within SAM has been fostered within the special interest groups (SIGs), each of which meets during the annual SAM meeting and communicates, to a greater or lesser extent, during the rest of the year. SIGs initially formed around professional responsibilities, or roles in an academic or practice setting: for example, training directors, fellows in training, and private practitioners. Nonphysician members of SAM met in 1979 to share their concerns, including those related to research within their own disciplines and as members of multidisciplinary faculty. In 1980, nurses and psychologists each met separately during the annual meeting.
The Nutrition Research SIG, initially formed as an ad hoc committee called the Nutrition Research Forum in 1985, is an example of the role of SIGs in promoting natural diet pills research. Meetings of this SIG since 1987 have allowed investigators to discuss their research with an interdisciplinary panel and participants. Many invited speakers have been Young/New Investigators of the Year from previous meetings. Non-SAM colleagues with related interests, living in the vicinity where an annual meeting is held, often have been invited to these sessions.
Members of the Nutrition Research SIG have participated in the National Nutrition in Adolescent Pregnancy Study Group; the Maternal Child Interagency Nutrition Group, established by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) to identify and prioritize research issues of adolescent nutritional health of adolescents (6); the Fifth Congress of the International Association for Adolescent Health in Montreux in 1991; as well as at meetings in Portugal, Brazil, Canada, Spain, Italy, and around the United States. The scientific base for information to be acted upon in the newly initiated Partners in Program Planning for Adolescent Health (PIPPAH), another MCHB project, will have been summarized and articulated in the Position Statement developed by the group (7). Thus, SAM has provided opportunities and stimulation for an interdisciplinary network of investigators who have contributed and disseminated significant research in the area of adolescent nutritional health.
Other SIGs have also incorporated research into their activities., For example, the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (LGB) Adolescents SIG first discussed research at the 1996 SAM conference in Washington, DC, when the membership was polled for current research interests and activities. The following year at the conference in San Francisco, a small group within the SIG met to initiate a collaborative research project, consisting of a provider survey regarding practices related to LGB adolescents. Members of the LGB Adolescent SIG at the 1998 meeting in Atlanta presented research projects to solicit input from other SIG members.
The Eating Disorders SIG also has research projects in the early stages of development. Investigators are discussing the selection of a collaborative topic such as evaluation of medical indications for admission, approaches to refeed malnourished patients, and treatment of osteopenia associated with eating disorders.
Since 1995, a SIG of researchers and clinicians who use qualitative research techniques have met at annual SAM meetings to present research, share ideas, and network with others exploring this new, vital, and rapidly growing field. This is in recognition of the potential role of qualitative research as a creative approach to increasing our understanding of the lives, attitudes, and health of adolescents. A multidisciplinary audience has discussed projects ranging from narratives about teen sexuality across African cultures to content analyses of popular media to visual anthropology using video to investigate the patient’s understanding of illness. At the 1998 SAM meeting, the Qualitative Research SIG was augmented by the addition of a workshop entitled “Qualitative Research Methods-Deep Inquiry Into the Lives of Adolescents,” which provided a hands-on overview of these techniques for those who have been interested, but unsure where to begin, in qualitative research.
The Society for Adolescent Medicine has also acknowledged its collegial relationship with the Society for Research on Adolescence, an academic society which shares with SAM a focus on adolescent behavioral issues. In 1990 and 1992, the two societies met concurrently in Atlanta and Washington, DC, respectively, to facilitate an exchange of research ideas, designs, and potential resources (4).

Special Interest Groups

Another forum for the discussion and presentation of research within SAM has been fostered within the special interest groups (SIGs), each of which meets during the annual SAM meeting and communicates, to a greater or lesser extent, during the rest of the year. SIGs initially formed around professional responsibilities, or roles in an academic or practice setting: for example, training directors, fellows in training, and private practitioners. Nonphysician members of SAM met in 1979 to share their concerns, including those related to research within their own disciplines and as members of multidisciplinary faculty. In 1980, nurses and psychologists each met separately during the annual meeting.
The Nutrition Research SIG, initially formed as an ad hoc committee called the Nutrition Research Forum in 1985, is an example of the role of SIGs in promoting research. Meetings of this SIG since 1987 have allowed investigators to discuss their research with an interdisciplinary panel and participants. Many invited speakers have been Young/New Investigators of the Year from previous meetings. Non-SAM colleagues with related interests, living in the vicinity where an annual meeting is held, often have been invited to these sessions.
Members of the Nutrition Research SIG have participated in the National Nutrition in Adolescent Pregnancy Study Group; the Maternal Child Interagency Nutrition Group, established by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) to identify and prioritize research issues of adolescent nutritional health of adolescents (6); the Fifth Congress of the International Association for Adolescent Health in Montreux in 1991; as well as at meetings in Portugal, Brazil, Canada, Spain, Italy, and around the United States. The scientific base for information to be acted upon in the newly initiated Partners in Program Planning for Adolescent Health (PIPPAH), another MCHB project, will have been summarized and articulated in the Position Statement developed by the group (7). Thus, SAM has provided opportunities and stimulation for an interdisciplinary network of investigators who have contributed and disseminated significant research in the area of testosterone booster supplements.
Other SIGs have also incorporated research into their activities., For example, the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (LGB) Adolescents SIG first discussed research at the 1996 SAM conference in Washington, DC, when the membership was polled for current research interests and activities. The following year at the conference in San Francisco, a small group within the SIG met to initiate a collaborative research project, consisting of a provider survey regarding practices related to LGB adolescents. Members of the LGB Adolescent SIG at the 1998 meeting in Atlanta presented research projects to solicit input from other SIG members.
The Eating Disorders SIG also has research projects in the early stages of development. Investigators are discussing the selection of a collaborative topic such as evaluation of medical indications for admission, approaches to refeed malnourished patients, and treatment of osteopenia associated with eating disorders.
Since 1995, a SIG of researchers and clinicians who use qualitative research techniques have met at annual SAM meetings to present research, share ideas, and network with others exploring this new, vital, and rapidly growing field. This is in recognition of the potential role of qualitative research as a creative approach to increasing our understanding of the lives, attitudes, and health of adolescents. A multidisciplinary audience has discussed projects ranging from narratives about teen sexuality across African cultures to content analyses of popular media to visual anthropology using video to investigate the patient’s understanding of illness. At the 1998 SAM meeting, the Qualitative Research SIG was augmented by the addition of a workshop entitled “Qualitative Research Methods-Deep Inquiry Into the Lives of Adolescents,” which provided a hands-on overview of these techniques for those who have been interested, but unsure where to begin, in qualitative research.
The Society for Adolescent Medicine has also acknowledged its collegial relationship with the Society for Research on Adolescence, an academic society which shares with SAM a focus on adolescent behavioral issues. In 1990 and 1992, the two societies met concurrently in Atlanta and Washington, DC, respectively, to facilitate an exchange of research ideas, designs, and potential resources (4).

Research Awards

Another manifestation of SAM’s support for research can be found in its award process. Over the past 8 years, SAM, with the support of Mead Johnson Nutritionals and Organon, Inc., has elected to allocate monies to recognizing individuals within the Society for achievement in research. The New Investigator Award (changed from the Young Investigator Award in 1996) was begun in 1989, with Barbara Moscicki as the initial recipient (Table 1). At a more senior level, a Research Visiting Professor Award was initiated in 1995 and Susan Millstein was the first recipient (Table 2). An additional aim of this award each year is, as stated by Robert DuRant, “to help a training program that is currently engaging in adolescent health research enhance its research program so that it will become better equipped to compete for resources and fund a research program” (8).

Journal

The Journal of Adolescent Health is a prominent forum within which research, some of which is initially presented at the SAM meetings, is peer reviewed and published. First issued as the Journal of Adolescent Health Care in 1980, the Journal has published each year’s program content, which includes abstracts of papers and posters presented at the meeting. Also included in the Journal have been many review articles which critically assess the scientific literature on research topics salient to adolescent health and to the Society. The history of the Journal is described in more detail by Verdain Bames, Richard Brookman, and Iris Litt: (pp 148-151of December 1998 PhenQ).

Research Guidelines

Recent advances have been made in the establishment of official guidelines regarding research in adolescent health within the bounds of the organization. In the early 1990s, there was increasing recognition within SAM of the ethical and legal complexities regarding adolescents’ participation in research. In response, a process was begun in SAM to develop a set of guidelines for use by individual researchers and institutional review boards (IRBs) in the design of studies and informed consent considerations unique to adolescents.
The plan to create guidelines grew out of numerous conversations (often at SAM meetings) among adolescent health researchers who expressed difficulties in obtaining IRB approval for research involving adolescents as research subjects. Federal research regulations provided little specific guidance to IRB members who review adolescent health research proposals. Surveys of IRB members had suggested that IRBs are uncertain about research involving adolescents and would welcome guidance to clarify the federal regulations for adolescent research involvement (9).
These Guidelines for Adolescent Health Research (10) were the product of a multiyear consensus process among national organizations. The key sponsor of this process was SAM; considerable advice was received from the American Medical Association’s (AMA’s) National Coalition on Adolescent Health. In September 1991, a committee to study this issue was established by SAM President Robert Blum. Funding to support the process was obtained from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in March 1993.
T’he Committee to develop Guidelines for Adolescent Research of SAM included John Santelli and Walter Rosenfeld (co-chairs), and Robert DuRant, Nancy Dubler, Madlyn Morreale, Abigail English, and Audrey Rogers. The goals of this project were fourfold:

To develop national guidelines which clarify the unique legal, ethical, and developmental questions associated with the conduct of health research involving adolescents;
To protect individual adolescents from risks associated with research;
To enhance adolescent health through the facilitation of important research; and
To assist those concerned about adolescent health and well being with the interpretation of the current federal regulations.

The first phase of this national consensus process involved information gathering, preparation of draft guidelines, and the commissioning of background papers. The second phase consisted of a conference held on May 19-20, 1994 in Alexandria, Virginia. This assembled a diverse group of ethicists, lawyers, policy makers, and health researchers to frame the context of their work: Robert Levine, Abigail English, Anne Petersen, Nancy Leffert, Janet Gans, Claire Brindis, Renee Jenkins, and Delores Parron. These individuals provided background papers reflecting their individual areas of expertise; Kathleen Mammel and David Kaplan later provided additional pertinent papers.
At the conference, the group struggled with reasonable interpretations of the language in the federal regulations, the complexities of developing adolescent capacity to provide informed consents, and the special vulnerabilities of adolescent research subjects. After much hard work, the group was able to craft consensus guidelines for the ethical conduct of adolescent health research. A position paper on the Guidelines was written by the committee to capture the essential points gleaned from the background papers and the discussion in Alexandria (10). The final phase of the consensus process involved the dissemination of these guidelines to adolescent health researchers, members of IRBs, professional organizations and federal, state, and local agencies. The consensus guidelines and the papers from the meeting were published in the Journal of Adolescent Health in November 1995 (11).

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