Prevention and Advocacy for Teen Health (PATH) is a community collaborative of providers, researchers, educators, administrators, advocates, parents and youth whose mission is to advance and promote the health of adolescents through research, health promotion, education, training, advocacy and innovative services. We follow a holistic definition of health, which includes socio-economic, developmental, and cultural dimensions to physical and mental health. Our goals are threefold. First, we are committed to raising awareness regarding adolescent health issues; secondly, we are dedicated to building a coalition that will facilitate interdisciplinary research, programming, training opportunities, referrals and funding for adolescent health; and finally we are moved to action in the public policy arena through research, education and training on issues affecting adolescent health for decision-makers. Progress:
After reviewing both local and national adolescent health, the collaborative chose three topic areas to address: mental health/substance abuse (MH/SA), teen pregnancy/STI (TP), and violent injury prevention (VP). Participants self-selected into one or more of the three work groups. The work groups are convening and developing an action plan to address the topic areas. In the fall of 2005, PATH sponsored a Teen Pregnancy Conference in conjunction with the Population Resource Center. The mental health workgroup is developing and implementing a model for school based mental health services. The violence and injury prevention workgroup is developing a community profile of needs and resources. Once each work group has finished its charge, PATH will reconvene the entire membership to put together a final report and to establish unified implementation strategies. In the winter of 2005, PATH began a partnership with the University of Texas Prevention Research Center (UTPRC). This partnership will benefit PATH by providing resources such as adolescent health researchers, data and evidence based programs. The UTPRC benefits by having access to a large community collaborative and a mechanism for dissemination of research findings. PATH and the UTPRC are exploring the development of a community wide initiative to advance adolescent health. In April 2007, the violence and injury workgroup are sponsoring a violence prevention conference, Building Paths to Prevention: Tools to Ending Youth Violence. PATH is also interested in developing a web-based adolescent health resource directory. Currently there are over 130 PATH members, representing over 64 agencies and institutions.